Jay Rodriguez- The Unfortunate Saga of An Underrated Player

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Photo Credit: BT Sport Online

If there is any current footballer in the Barclays Premier League who can be considered unlucky- then it would have to be Jay Rodriguez. The Southampton midfielder has endured a tough three-year period, which has been ridiculed by injury. 

Cast your mind back to the 2013/14 season, this was Southampton’s second season back in the top-flight. This was also former manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first full season in charge at the club. Over the course of that particular season, the Saints proved to be a surprise package. In addition to this they also began to uncover a handful of young prosperous English talent.

Most notably Jay Rodriguez led the way for the Saints. The former Burnley player finished the season as top scorer, scoring 15 league goals. Rodriguez enjoyed himself in an impressive season under Pochettino. He would also earn an England call-up in November 2013, which remains his only international cap to date.

Among the English talent that blossomed at the club, such as; Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw & Adam Lallana, it was Rodriguez that perhaps displayed the most prominence.

At the culmination of the 2013/14 campaign English fans would have been drawing up their ideal England squad for the 2014 World Cup. There is no doubt majority of fans would have pitched the idea of having Rodriguez on the plane to Brazil. In addition to this it would not have been surprising if he was in the mind of then England manager Roy Hodgson.

However on April 5th 2014, Rodriguez’s unfortunate saga began. After being stretchered off during a match against Manchester City, it was revealed that Rodriguez had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament. Therefore this injury ruled him out for 11 months, thus in missing out on the 2014 World Cup in the process.

Furthermore due to the extensive damage of the injury, Rodriguez would not play a single game for Southampton during the 2014/15 season.

Finally after 16 months on the sideline, Rodriguez returned to action for Southampton on August 6th 2015. Upon returning to league action he scored his first Premier League goal for two years, against Sunderland at the back-end of August 2015.

Last season Rodriguez finished the season with five goals in 24 appearances. unfortunately for the 27 year-old recent seasons have flickered on and off. While it was far from his best season, there appears to be re-growing stability in the still potentially promising role that Rodriquez can still play for the Saints.

In recent weeks there has been mounting speculation regarding Rodriguez’s future as a Southampton player. The former England international has been linked with a move away from St Mary’s. It has been reported by the Telegraph that West Bromwich Albion are in-talks over a £12m deal for the Saints player.

If West Brom can secure a deal for Rodriguez, then they would have a valuable player for next season. But while his services can be valuable, many would question his overall fitness in the long-term, over the course of a full season.

There is plently Rodriguez can offer to most sides and still only aged 27 years-old, there is more to come from him.

Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.

 

 

 

Leyton Orient Takeover Completed By Nigel Travis

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As of June 22nd 2017 at 4:45pm, National Conference club Leyton Orient confirmed to have been subjected to a completed consortium takeover.It was formally announced via the clubs official website that Nigel Travis, the chairman and CEO of Dunkin’ brands led the takeover. 

Nigel Travis stated his aim was to “stabilise” the club and “re-engage” the fans. Travis has been a life-long fan of the East-London club, as he attended matches at Brisbane Road growing up. Additionally Travis would also go on to say he believed in the club’s ability to return to the Football League.

On the other hand today also marked the end of Italian owner Francesco Becchetti’s reign, as owner. The Italian businessman purchased the club in the summer of 2014. However his time at Orient has indeed been the darkest of days for the club. Nine managers have come and gone since Bechetti’s arrival in 2014, emphasizing the instability that has damaged the club.

Also during Becchetti’s era the London club also suffered two relegation’s in under two years. Furthermore their relegation last season now has the club playing non-league football, for the first time in their history.

The club’s official website also stated that Nigel Travis shall serve as Chairman at the football club. In addition to this Kent Teague from Dallas shall join him as a Director at the club.

After ten managers, three years, two relegations & one soul-destroying owner, there appears to be hope for Leyton Orient Football Club. The nightmare is finally over for the wonderful and loyal O’s fans.

As a season ticket holder since 2012, I have to admit there is a tear in my eye. I truly shall not forget the moment I read the club’s official statement at 4:45pm today. Even after everything the club has been through, prosperity lies ahead for the O’s once more.

Like every other O’s fan I relish this prospect. I look forward to the club moving forward under Nigel Travis and Kent Teague, exciting times lie ahead.

We are Leyton Orient Football Club, WE have OUR football club back!

Thank you for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.

 

 

 

Is Tottenham Hotspur The Ideal Club For Ross Barkley?

 

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Photo Credit: Daily Express

Since January Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has been blinded with an unclear future. The 23 year-old has not endured the best time in recent seasons, despite such clear promise for the future. Now with the summer transfer window looming, Barkley once again faces an unclear future.

In recent weeks it would seem as if a move away from Goodison park is growing more likely. Premier League champions Chelsea have been linked with interest in signing the Everton player. More interestingly London club Tottenham Hotspur have been rumored to be keen on his services.

Just over a month ago Everton manager Ronald Koeman handed Barkley an ultimatum, as the England international was reportedly in a contract dispute with the Merseyside club. However those rumors appeared to go up into thin air, as Barkley remains a Toffees player, for now.

In the rummage of clubs rumored to be interested in signing Barkley, it goes without saying that Tottenham Hotspur are an interesting club in the pile. The North-London club are coming off the back of a brilliant season, as they finished 2nd for the first time since 1963.

While there lies an array of incentives for Barkley to sign for the likes of Arsenal or Chelsea, one could argue that Spurs possess as much incentive as any other top four club, if not more.

Over the course of the past three seasons Spurs’ success has not been bestowed upon by mega investment, in fact the complete opposite. The club’s academy has slowly grown a reputation for successful graduates who are continuing to make an impact at the club. Namely the likes of Harry Kane, Harry Winks, Joshua Onomah and even 18 year-old Marcus Edwards.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has re-branded football at Spurs and has implicated his own philosophies, which have been incorporated into the club. The Argentine has grown a reputation for his work with younger players, as he has overseen the development of several notable English stars in the past few years.

The former Southampton boss has made quite the impact in English football, as he is one of the few foreign managers who has been accredited to contributing the growth within the English game.

Now consider this; Pochettino has become notorious for his work with young English talent in addition to working with his philosophies. So with this in mind this would only provide some incentive for Ross Barkley to sign for Spurs. Furthermore Pochettino would also be allowed to work with Barkley, as he could benefit with some re-training.

During his time as an Everton player Barkley has become accustomed to playing behind the striker. At times this has been a position which he has thrived in, at other times one would be inclined to question if it is his best position. Essentially the role of playmaker may perhaps not be his only viable position.

In recent seasons Barkley has proven that he boasts a lot of credible attributes. His capability of running with the ball and beating players is perhaps most notable. In addition to this he has also proven to boast decent strength, which is something that can be constantly worked on and improved.

At some points during the past few seasons, some may question why Barkley has not been tried in different roles within the midfield.

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Photo Credit: Evening Standard

Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele is the best box to box midfielder in the Premier League. If anything he can be regarded to as one of the best defensive/central midfielders in the league overall. The Belgian’s ability to control the tempo of a match and alter the play is truly wonderful to watch. Not to mention his ability on the ball, sometimes it is a joy to behold.

However in the absence of Dembele Spurs are then without a huge piece in the puzzle. In his absence the likes of Eric Dier would be drafted in to replace him. Of course Dier is capable of playing the defensive midfielder, either a ball-winner of anchor man suits his play-style.

Unlike Dembele though Dier does not possess the same capability. In the system Spurs play Dembele attains such a crucial role as he contributes to the defensive and attacking phase, essentially linking the two. This is where I believe Ross Barkley is an ideal player for the role, in the absence of Dembele.

If Pochettino is provided the time to work with Barkley then there could be something to prosper. As I previously noted the ability that Barkley possesses, there is no doubt that it could come into effect at Spurs. Furthermore he can also be utilized in a variety of roles within the midfield.

Undoubtedly Dembele is in Pochettino’s plans for next season. Regardless Spurs are in need of some extra bodies with the prospect of Champions League football forthcoming. This is where Barkley could be a bargain for the club.

As for Pochettino the idea of signing Barkley would tick all of his proverbial boxes. At the age of just 23 years-old Barkley still possesses a tonne of unraveled potential.

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Vincent Janssen- Second Chance Or Moving On?

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Photo Credit: The Mirror

While it was quite a season to remember for Tottenham Hotspur, one player who shall not fondly remember his personal campaign is Vincent Janssen. The Spurs striker who signed for the club last summer, did not endure the campaign which many expected of him. 

Last summer Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino added to his fire-power, in the form of Dutch striker Vincent Janssen. The North-London club signed the forward from AZ Alkmaar for £17 million. For the entire 2015/16 season, Spurs lived with just the single out and out striker. Thus Janssen was added as an insurance player, for the season ahead.

Prior to signing for Spurs, Janssen enjoyed a great campaign with Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar. The 23 year-old scored 27 goals in the 2015/16 season , making him the youngest player to score more than 25 goals, in one season in the Dutch league since Ronaldo in the 1994-95 season.

At the end of his only season in Holland’s top-flight, Janssen was awarded the Johan Cruyff Trophy, otherwise recognised as “Dutch Talent of The Year”.

Signing players from foreign leagues can sometimes spring doubts. This is because some may question the standard of their previous competition, especially the league which they played in. In Vincent Janssen’s case, the same was never broadly asked. This is because 27 goals reflected a more than capable striker.

Additionally Janssen was also well received for his performances for Holland on the international stage. Most notably Janssen scored and picked up an assist in Holland’s 2-1 win over England in March of last year. In addition to this he would go on to score at will for his country over the course of 2016, only fueling his highly spoken of potential.

Striker Harry Kane suffered an injury in September, sidling him for six-weeks. This provided Janssen the chance to fill the boots for Spurs’ talisman. Ultimately he would struggle to get going, but despite some willing and determined performances, the goals were not materializing.

Janssen scored his first goal for Spurs in the EFL Cup against Gillingham in September. Then a month later, he finally scored his first Premier League against Leicester City. Furthermore scoring one against Liverpool, in the EFL Cup once more.

Finally Janssen netted his first Premier League goal against Leicester City. Once more this one coming from the penalty-spot. By the end of October 2016, Janssen had three goals to his tally so far in the season. However none of which were from open-play, with all three coming from penalties.

Finally in March, Janssen scored his first goal from open-play, against Millwall in the FA Cup. He would once again score from open-play in the league against Bournemouth, just over a month later in April.

Janssen finished his first season at Spurs with six goals in all competitions, with just two league goals.

A striker’s job is to score goals, correct. So with this in mind there is little wonder as to why people question the signing of Vincent Janssen, more specifically his return in goals last season. However ask yourself; What more could he have done?

In-front of Janssen was teammate Harry Kane, who by no means was ever going to be replaced by the Dutch striker. Once again Kane continued to flourish as each month of the season progressed. For a second-consecutive season, Kane was awarded the golden-boot, ending the season with 29 league goals.

Therefore with the excelling Kane in-front of goal, one has to see the obvious that Janssen was always going to find it hard to get a look-in. Not to mention that manager Mauricio Pochettino did not need to alter his tactics, as two up-top would not have been beneficial for his side. As a matter of fact, it may not have even crossed his mind at any point.

While Janssen was given his fair share of game-time, perhaps not being accustomed to first-team regular football ultimately played against the striker. Also one would have to consider that his playing style was of a different approach. Janssen prefers to hold up the play and bring in teammates, whereas Kane can do the same, he more than often opts to travel with the ball.

Overall it was not an inspiring season for Janssen, although he did show signs of a constant work-rate, which perhaps merited more goals. None the less six goals last season did not provide the Dutchman with any plaudits.

It has been reported that Janssen is “open” to a move this summer. One of the thoughts going through the mind of the striker, could be the prospect of more first-team football. This would be something that might re-galvanize his once rich form in-front of goal.

Spurs fans shall be wondering; Is there a second chance for Vincent Janssen? Or shall the striker be moving on from the North-London club?

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think! Make sure you follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.

 

 

 

 

Southampton Sack Claude Puel- Should We Be Surprised?

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Photo Credit: Daily Mail Online

Last night it was confirmed that Southampton sacked manager Claude Puel. After just one season in-charge at St Mary’s, the Frenchman has left the south-coast club. However- should we be surprised his departure? 

Taking the reigns from Ronald Koeman, Claude Puel was appointed Southampton manager last summer. Prior to his appointment as Saints manager, Puel had spent years as a manager in Ligue 1. Where he would manage the likes of AS Monaco, where he would also spend his entire playing career.

Additionally Claude Puel would also manage the likes of Lille, Lyon and Nice.

As manager of Monaco Claude Puel won the Ligue 1 Title in the 1999-00 season, as well as the Trophe des Champions in 2000. Following his two-year tenure at Monaco, he would continue to spend years managing in France’s top-flight.

During his time at Lille, Lyon & Nice Puel failed to win any silverware. However he did manage to attain respectable finishes for each club, as he displayed signs of stability.

Last June when former manager Ronald Koeman departed Southampton for Everton, Claude Puel was appointed as his replacement. Yet another untested manager within the realms of English football, stepping up to the plate at Southampton.

During the summer the club would see another exodus of players. Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama & Graziano Pelle all left the club. However the club brought in the likes of Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand, who proved to be key starters over the course of the forthcoming season.

Over the course of the season the club flirted with the top-half of the Premier League. They were also competing in the Europa League, only to be knocked-out in the group-stages of the competition.

Claude Puel did manage to stumble upon some success, as the Southampton reached the final of the EFL Cup by beating Liverpool in the semi-final. However they failed to graduate their success, as they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United in the final.

Ultimately Saints finished the season 8th as well as runners-up in the EFL Cup. In contrast to previous seasons, one could argue expectations may have been dimmed from a Saints’ fan’s perspective.

Following the official departure of Claude Puel from Southampton, there shall be some questions raised. Some may question if the club are heading in a new direction? Perhaps the club did not see Claude Puel in their long term plans?

Last month reports began to surface that the club were considering Claude Puel’s job. Those reports sprung following the culmination of the regular season, which raised some eyebrows amongst most fans.

Paul Doyle of the Guardian Online published this piece: ‘Claude Puel a victim of Southampton’s admirably unreasonable expectations’.

It has been reported that the club possess a wealthy list of replacements in mind. But it could be debated; Should we be surprised at the sacking of Claude Puel?

Thanks for reading! Do share your thoughts with me! You can follow me on Twitter @AaronPatel97.

 

 

 

 

Ross Allen: Guernsey Goal Machine

Scoring goals in football can be referred to as an art form. While strikers love to score goals, they may not be the most attractive or artistic, as it is said “Art is whatever you want it to be”.

However on the Island of Guernsey, one Ross Allen of Guernsey Football Club literally scores when he wants.

Who Is Ross Allen?

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Photo Credit: BBC Sport Online

While many if very few are familiar with Guernsey Football Club, allow me to introduce to you, your new footballing hero.

Guernsey FC striker Ross Allen is perhaps the definition of ‘Clinical’. The 30 year-old has become a silent footballing hero, especially within the realms of non-League football. In addition to this he is considered to be the best footballer to ever grace the Channel Island.

While you may be telling yourself ‘That’s not that hard’, I believe that there is more to be appreciated when it comes to Ross Allen’s achievements. Yes, he isn’t exactly Jamie Vardy but football should be celebrated globally, even on the Channel Island.

Now you are probably wondering; So, how many goals has he scored then? Well………

Goal-scoring Record

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Photo Credit: BBC Sport Online

As of November 2016, Ross Allen had scored 224 goals in 203 games. Allen had began playing for Guernsey FC in 2011, the year the club was established. Not only was he shortlisted for Channel Island sport’s personality of the year, but he has been considered to be the best goalscorer in Muratti history.

In the club’s first ever professional season, Ross Allen would go on to score 46 goals, in the Ryman South Division. He has become a club legend, as well as becoming a universally accredited hero for non-league football fans.

The Channel Island’s prolific goalscorer then took a hiatus from football. In November 2016, Allen announced he was taking a sabbatical in order to go travelling. I know I would have been gutted to see him go.

Non-League Football Hero

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Photo Credit: ITV

Ross Allen unquestionably holds a remarkable goalscoring record, one to which may be once in a lifetime in football. Regardless of the standard of football he plays within, no one can ever deny that he possesses a natural instinct in-front of goal.

He has become one of my footballing heroes, as I do like a good goalscorer. Ross Allen: I salute you mate!

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Cardiff Metropolitan University FC: The Small Welsh Dream On A Big Stage

Yes, this is the ‘Voice Of English Football’. However every once in a while, I shall take an exception to that. Football is brimming with wonderful stories from all over the globe. This story is no different, as it is about a small Welsh dream on a grand scale.

This is the silent but remarkable story of Cardiff Metropolitan University Football Club, as they stepped into a surreal level of competition.

A History Lecture

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Established in 2000, Cardiff Metropolitan University FC are quite literally a University football team. 16 years ago football club Inter Cardiff merged with Cardiff Metropolitan University, to form the club then known as UWIC Inter Cardiff FC.

In the summer of 2012, the club officially changed their name to Cardiff Metropolitan University FC. Then in May of 2016, the club confirmed their place in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League. This was due to Caernarfon Town and Denbigh Town being unable to attain licenses, to play in the Welsh Premier League.

Believe it or not, there is a University football team competing in the top-flight of Welsh football.

First-Class Degree Season

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Photo Credit: Cardiff Metropolitan Students Union Website

The 2016/17 season marked Cardiff Met’s first ever season in the top-flight. While the Dafabet Premier League is not exactly the holy grail in football, for Cardiff Met, it was a challenge to prosper.

Tipped to suffer relegation in their first season, their stature as a University football team would not have been beneficial.

Despite enduring a tough first half of the season, Cardiff Met went onto to finish a more than respectable 6th place. This ensured the Uni side of a play-off campaign, as they were now looking towards the prospect of European football.

Not Quite A First But Still A 2:1

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Photo Credit: Huffington Post

On May 12th, Cardiff Metropolitan University played Bagnor City, in the play-off final. The winner would progress to the Europa League qualifying stages. The reality of lectures and assignments, must have been a far fetched thought.

However Cardiff Met’s remarkable season, did not earn its magical ending. Bagnor City ran out 1-0 winners.

The students and staff at Cardiff Metropolitan FC should be proud. It is another sensational footballing story, even if it remains underhanded in the footballing world.

Perhaps next season they can write more magic. Either that or they’ll be writing dissertations…….. such is life.

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