A good or bad loan spell? Two Fleetwood fans give their views on Lewie Coyle

With Lewie Coyle’s loan spell with league one side Fleetwood town nearing its end, I spoke to two of their fans to see how he has gotten on this season. The promising right back looks to be having a good loan spell from the outside looking in, however do Fleetwood town fans, @ftfccodarmy and @TheWulfster agree? You can follow both fans on Twitter with their handles included throughout.

What have been Lewie Coyle’s main strengths this season?

@ftfccodarmy: “Lewie has had so many strengths this season. In every match he has played, he’s always played his heart out as if it’s his last ever game! He’s a true footballer, who plays for the shirt every time and he always done a lot in the local community as well with the Football Club! A proper Yorkshire Pudding!”

@TheWulfster: “Lewie is a good solid all round player. When he is at his best you hardly notice him as there’s no drama. His attitude is good and he seems to be a lad who actually cares about his performances.”

What have been his weaknesses and areas to improve on going forward in his career?

@ftfccodarmy: “Just to score goals! We’ve not had one from him this season, however he is a good penalty taker in training I believe!”

@TheWulfster: “as with all young players I believe that putting consistent performances, week in week out is imperative. Probably his first 15 performances of the season were his best and most consistent. He then went a bit of a sticky patch in my honest opinion. He then regained some consistency in the later half of the season. Footballs not always about developing skills, its sometimes about doing a job.”

Do you think he is ready to make the step up into the Championship with Leeds?

@ftfccodarmy: “I don’t think he gets in the Leeds team because I think he should here at Fleetwood. He’s has a great spell and he’s even had he’s on song written about him by a supporter. He’s not actually guaranteed to get into the side at Elland Road, as other players have played in his position this season, whilst a Fleetwood he’s already guaranteed a place in the team here on the Fylde Coast.”

@TheWulfster: ”I watch a lot of live football in both league 1 and the championship, it is really a difficult question to answer. The step up to the championship is quite a big one, but the team around you is also a lot better than league 1. With the right players around him, who knows?”

Would you like to see him at Fleetwood again next season if he’s surplus to requirements at Leeds United?

@ftfccodarmy: “Of course we like him back for good! He’s a role model to a lot of people around here and he brings something special to the team & the club! I think it’s because his brothers are from a sporting background. I know he’s very popular with his team mates especially Alex Cairns & Ashley Eastham, who I believe they like playing golf with each other outside of football. I also have reason to believe he’s a massive Take That fan, however he’s never admitted this. Also, Lewie has been a close friend of mine recently, he’s always been there for me during the good and bad times. I’ve never had many true friends when I was younger because I was bullied and teased a lot but now I’m in a much happier place.”

@TheWulfster: “Yes, I would have Lewie back at Fleetwood. Next season is going to be key for Lewie and will answer a lot of questions.”

You had Charlie Taylor on loan a few years back, how do you rate Coyle compared to Taylor?

@ftfccodarmy: “Charlie Taylor was rubbish for us. I know he got us up to League One but he didn’t do much community work whilst on loan. He didn’t really cause much attack threat either, just kept giving in a lot of goals!”

@TheWulfster: “I had a feeling ‘Charlie Taylor’ would come up in conversation. Being honest as possible, for me, Charlie Taylor is probably the best loan signing we have had. I think he was only 19 when he came to us and it was obvious that he had a bit of class about him. A few senior players (Jon Parkin, Steven Schumacher and Jeff Hughes) told me that he would play in the premiership. I’ve seen him play for Leeds and Burnley, he’s very good

Lewie is not without potential. However, he is not at the same stage of development as Charlie Taylor so it’s difficult to make a comparison. Lewie needs games and needs to gain experience, that’s how he will develop. As mentioned earlier it will be interesting to see him he develops next season.”

Finally, would you class Lewie Coyle’s loan spell as a successful one for himself, for Fleetwood Town and for Leeds United?

@ftfccodarmy: “Fleetwood Town!”

@TheWulfster “Yes I would class Lewie’s loan spell as successful. For a young player there is nothing better than playing competitive games, this is where you learn your trade. He’s done a job and a half decent one at that. “

Thanks to both fans for their time and views on Lewie Coyle’s loan spell at Fleetwood Town this season. Overall it seems like Lewie has made a positive impression. it will be interesting to see how much game time he gets next season with Luke Ayling nearing full fitness.

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Will Leeds United benefit from the Aspire Academy?

I just wanted to start of by giving a brief overview and a bit of context on the Aspire academy itself before going into the potential benefits and downsides to the new footballing partnership between Leeds United and the well-known Aspire Academy.

About the Aspire Academy:

One of Aspire’s main aims is to develop Qatar nationals and get them playing in professional football worldwide to improve their national teams. As stated on the official Aspire Academy website, “It is, of course, one of the longer-term goals of the Academy that some of our graduates will represent Qatar at the FIFA World Cup”. The Aspire academy was founded in 2004 with the aim of identifying and developing Qatari athletes for future success in football and other sports. Money is no object for the Aspire Academy as it is funded by the Qatar Royal Family and this has allowed them to build world class facilities and employ the very best of staff. For a real overview of the level of facilities that the institute offers and more information about their staff members, see this link: http://www.aspire.qa/. Such facilities could help Leeds United in the future, but I’ll touch more on that later in the blog. A lot of big names have got on board with the Aspire project including Xavi Hernandez and Raul Gonzalez Blanco both of whom are advisors of Aspire Academy. Along with these two, currently the world’s best player in the eyes of many, Lionel Messi, had the following to say:

“I have visited many countries as a player and have seen many developmental facilities – nothing compares with what they have at the Aspire Academy. The Qatari boys are very fortunate. With these amenities at their disposal, there are good chances of them making it big in the future.”

The partnership came about through Ivan Bravo, the ex-Real Madrid director of strategy who is a long-time associate of Leeds United’s chairman Andrea Radrizzani. Ivan joined the Leeds United board as a director in the summer of 2017, however, he would also stay in his main role as the director general of the Aspire Academy. This shows that right from the beginning it was only a matter of time before Leeds United and the Aspire Academy would form a partnership.

Current partnerships with professional football clubs:

Aspire Academy’s first step into professional football was to buy KAS Eupen who were, at the time, a second division side in Belgium. They served their purpose well, and still do, by providing a smooth transition into professional football for the Aspire graduates. This was to be the start of a group of football clubs that Aspire would either own or forge partnerships with in order to benefit both themselves and the clubs. They later bought Spanish second division side Cultural Leonesa and currently have links to India’s Delhi Dynamos and Ecuadorian outfit Independiente del Valle. All of these clubs, with no disrespect intended, are much smaller in size than their latest partners, Leeds United. For Aspire, this is a massive step forward to have a club the size of Leeds United in partnership with them. This could mean that in the future, Aspire’s graduates may be playing in England or hopefully, one of the best leagues in the world, The Premier League.

Criticism of the Aspire Academy:

The aspire academy claimed in an article by the New York times that they offer scholarships to young talented players around the world in order to help improve the level of quality that their current nationals play with. The whole idea is that the better the players the Qatar nationals are playing alongside on a regular basis, the better they will become. However, the Observer claimed in 2007 that they are head hunting players hoping that they declare themselves as Qatar citizens because of the opportunity Qatar has given them that their countries back in Africa could not. A spokesman of the Aspire Academy told New York times that this isn’t the case and stated that’s it is the players choice. They also denied any link to the successful Qatar world cup bid, which brings me onto my next point.

On the eve of The World Cup 2022 voting, Aspire set up training camps named “football dreams” in the countries whose votes would make a massive difference, including places like Thailand and Nigeria who had votes on the executive committee. Countries like Thailand, have failed to produce a player of note unlike a lot of countries where they could have looked for talent. Aspire claimed that such programmes were set up to help support nations that needed help and that it would barely benefit Qatar. It seems like a nice gesture, but why choose only the countries who could, and did vote in favour of Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup? It is well known that the Qatar Royal Family runs the Aspire Academy and Aspire’s main aim is to make a team that is competitive ready for when they host The World Cup. Despite these strange goings on, Aspire deny any link to The World Cup and simply state that they set the camps up to discover players and to help those countries in need.

Potential benefits for Leeds United:

There could potentially be many benefits to the partnership for both the Aspire academy and of course for Leeds United. The current Head Scout of the Aspire Academy is Josep Colomer, the man responsible for bringing Lionel Messi to Barcelona. He travels all over the world to try and find the best talent for Aspire. With Leeds United being by far the biggest club to be partnered with them, surely, we will get first say on any talent found by Aspire? Since the start of their programmes in 2007 more than 3.5 million children have been screened in 17 countries with 18–20 scholarships awarded each year. Leeds United already have a large scouting network set up by Victor Orta, but do they achieve these types of numbers when scouting? More than likely not. This partnership gives Leeds United access to this level of scouting without having to employ thousands of new scouts.

Aspire offer scholarships to talented players and improve their personal and professional development ready for the step into professional football. Some of the players that have graduated from the Aspire academy include Everton’s Henry Onyekuru and Diawandou Diagne who joined Barcelona B from Eupen in 2014. Both players have gone on to become full internationals for their countries. In a footballing world where each year’s clubs are recording losses financially, Leeds United could acquire quality players for a fraction of the price that they would cost if the club had no ties to Leeds United. After all, Aspire have plenty of money and claim that they are only after developing players to later go on and improve their national teams. Although the list of good players developed by Aspire isn’t that long, they’ve only been open since 2004 and do not buy young players for big fees like some football clubs around the world do and so, it takes time to develop world class players. Along with the world class facilities and highly qualified staff, including sports science, they hold regular tri-series involving u16’s, u17’s, and u18’s teams from all around the world. This once again provides Leeds United with several benefits. Not only do our current academy players get to play against different types of footballing styles that they wouldn’t play against in England. They also get to go away and spend time learning about different cultures. Whilst the academy coaches and staff are out with their teams in the tri-series, they also get the chance to scout potential players from the opponents. Some of the past opponents to take part in the tri-series include Liverpool FC, Paris St-Germain and Ajax, two of whom are very well-known for producing world class players. Leeds United’s under 18’s and under 16s recently travelled to Qatar to compete and although the opponents didn’t include the clubs mentioned, in the future they very well could. This allows the players to compete against the very best as well as the scouts and coaches being able to see young players first hand against the current Leeds United players. However, despite the many benefits that the partnership could offer, there are potential downsides.

Potential downsides to the partnership:

One of the main concerns I have as a fan is the amount of attention the official Leeds United social media accounts are giving to Aspire and to the Qatar World Cup 2022. I know that I am not the only one with this concern, the question is, do Leeds United really want to be associated with an event that thousands of innocent lives have tragically been lost whilst building stadiums and facilities? Leeds United is a worldwide name and we have fans all over the world, the perfect club to market such an event but we do not want to tarnish our name in the process. Without going into too much detail as it is a topic that I am not fully educated on, I for one do not want our club being involved with the marketing of an event that shouldn’t be taking place in Qatar if thousands of lives are taken to do so.

Another potential downside for me is will Leeds United have a say on which players make the transition from the Aspire academy to one of their partner clubs. If there are players on their books that have the talent and are good enough to play for Leeds United, then I am all for it. However, the last thing Leeds United need is to have an academy full of Aspire players that are not up to standard. Leeds United is a club well known for their academy and many players have gone on to play for their countries and to win major trophies. Although previous owners have done a good job of trying to destroy the academy and there is some rebuilding required, filling the academy with players from Qatar and potentially prevent local talent from having a chance isn’t what is required. As someone who watches a lot of the academy games and is a keen observer, there are several players brought in from abroad who have made the cut and at the end of the day it boils down to whether are not they are good enough, not where they have come from. Of course, we don’t know all the details of the partnership and this concern may be just be that, a concern.

For me these are my main two concerns and fans may have others of which I would be very interested to hear, tweet me at @focusonthefooty. One thing that would shed some light on it all would be more information from the club about the partnership, however vague that may be.

 

Academy Stories: Get To Know Bryce Hosannah

As someone who is very interested in the Leeds United Academy, it was great to hear from Roger Hosannah, the father of youth player Bryce Hosannah. He read my article ‘The Academy: Three players ready to make the leap into the first team’ and gave me some positive feedback on it, which was good to hear. When Bryce Hosannah joined Leeds United after being released from Crystal Palace, it was a bit of a surprise to many of the Crystal Palace and Leeds United fans. Roger Hosannah kindly got in touch with me and shared some information about his son’s background and how he ended up at Leeds United, enjoy!

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              @brycehosannah (Instagram) 

“There has been plenty of speculation about Bryce, his background and how seemingly from nowhere, he ended up at Leeds United. His journey is evidence that young players develop in different ways and not always at the same pace. Something that not all academies recognise. Additionally, his arrival in the north is a result of the extensive network that the club’s sporting director, Victor Orta, possesses.

Bryce is a product of the Afewee Urban Football Club, that has recently received much well-earned publicity. The club is referenced frequently in Michael Calvin’s highly acclaimed book No Hunger in Paradise and the BT Sport documentary of the same name. Founder, Steadman Scott has a philosophy that teaches young players from the minute they start playing to treasure the football. He encourages dynamic attacking play from all over the pitch, which is clearly evident in the way Bryce plays. He is the latest right full back off the Afewee Urban ranks, following in the footsteps of Nathaniel Clyne and Mandela Egbo. Please see the recent Sun article on Steadman Scott and Afewee Urban Football Club

While the article and Calvin’s book accurately portrays a stereotypical approach to the mountain top of football, Bryce’s football education is far from that. He was educated at private school and first came to prominence playing for Chelsea coach Fiona Armfield’s Croydon district team, that would ultimately reach the national schools finals. This lead to him being scouted by Chelsea, Fulham and Crystal Palace. He and his family opted for him to join the latter as it was both close to home and most importantly his secondary school, Trinity School, part of the renowned Whitgift group of schools, producer of many top sporting talents. Bryce had by then received both sports and academic scholarships, following outstanding 11 plus entrance exams results and his excellence in both football and athletics. Bryce was a highly rated schoolboy 400 metre runner, giving him the ability to work the line and make lung busting runs on the football field.

Bryce’s time at Crystal Palace coincided with his time at Trinity School, where he was a participant in rugby, cricket and athletics, in addition to various school and representative football teams. He also received weekly enhanced private coaching from Anthony Gale, the son of ex-West Ham star Tony Gale, throughout this period.

As documented in No Hunger in Paradise, at the age of sixteen, Bryce received 5 A* and 4 As in his GCSEs and left Trinity School to pursue a career in professional football. Due to a perceived lack of physical stature, Bryce lacked game time at the outset of his scholar period. However, he received his opportunity to start in October of that season and following outstanding performances in the FA Youth Cup, made the right back position his own by mid-season.

At the beginning of his second scholar season, Bryce had still not received a first professional contract offer, despite being at the club for 6 years. He felt his future was elsewhere and this would ultimately lead to his arrival at Leeds Utd. He enlisted the services of the same management company that look after Tottenham Hotspur’s Victor Wanyama and Borussia Dortmund’s rising US star player, Christian Pulisic among its clients.

After securing his release from Crystal Palace, the plan was to find a club that encouraged a free-flowing style of football, which would bring out the best in Bryce. Europe was felt to be the best fit, but contact was also made with Victor Orta, who was then at Middlesbrough FC. An untimely injury meant that Bryce entered the 2017 pre-season still unsigned, but with strong interest being shown in him by F.C. Twente in Holland. After performing well during a short trial period, this appeared to be his likely destination. However, dialogue was had between Bryce’s representative and Orta, who by now had arrived at Leeds. Bryce came on trial and strong performances against Tadcaster Utd and Scarborough in pre-season friendlies led to him securing an initial 2-year contract agreement. “

I hope that you enjoyed finding out a bit more information about a promising full back who hopefully has a bright future in the game. Also, a big thanks to Roger for taking time out of his busy schedule to share this information about his son.

#MOT

The Academy: Three player ready to make the leap into the first team

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post looking at three potential players who would make the step up to the first team, today I look at three more.

Oriol Rey – Centre Midfield/Centre Back

The 19-year-old Spaniard arrived at Leeds United this summer following his release from FC Barcelona Juvenil A. Despite playing most of his football in Spain as a centre back, he’s started most of his games for Leeds u23’s as a holding centre midfield. At only 19 years old and playing in a new country it wouldn’t be expected of Rey to be controlling games like he’s a 27-year-old seasoned professional working his way back from injury. He’s comfortable on the ball, he doesn’t look fazed about receiving passes under pressure and is consistently looking for a forward pass. The fact he has this technical ability despite playing in defence for most of his football involvement says a lot about the ability of the players from the top academies in Spain. It is clear Rey has the technical ability to step up into the first team, the question will be does he have the physical ability to cope with a midfield battle against experienced pros?

Jack Clarke- Winger/Striker

The York-born striker has impressed for the u23’s and u18’s this season and signed his first professional deal with Leeds United despite rumoured interest from other clubs, with Manchester City being one. The 17-year-old is highly rated within the academy and so far this season hasn’t disappointed scoring many goals and causing the opposition plenty of problems with his direct play. He was promoted to the u23’s after being the top scorer for both the u16s and the u18s, where in 9 starts for the u18’s he scored 11 goals. He has an eye for goal and loves standing up defenders in a one v one situation before taking them on. At 17 he’s still not fully developed and will most certainly get quicker and stronger as he gets older. Clarke has impressed so much that Thomas Christiansen admitted that he was going to include him in the squad against Leicester but was afraid he’d impress when he wasn’t under contract with Leeds yet. I have no doubts that Clarke will play in the first team, if not this season then he should definitely be playing next.

Bryce Hosannah- Right Back

The attacking full back joined Leeds United this summer after impressing on trial after being released from Premier League side Crystal Palace. It came as a bit of a surprise to many Crystal Palace fans when Bryce was released after impressing for them in a lot of their games. The 18-year-old has raw pace, loves to beat a man and despite being a full back has a good eye for a goal. Very much your modern day full back, with his defence being something that he will look to improve as well as his positioning. Hosannah’s pace certainly helps him out defensively, however, very rarely will he get beaten in a one vs one situation. With Luke Ayling out for the season and Lewie Coyle still out on loan to Fleetwood, don’t be surprised if Bryce pops up in the matchday squad this season.

All three players mentioned I expect to feature for the Leeds Untied first team over the coming years and will hopefully impress while doing so. Of course, this is only my opinion and I do not have time to watch every game they play; however, I do watch as much academy football as possible and these are the three players that to me, stand out.  For other academy watchers these players will be well know, and I would be interested to know if you feel the same way as I do. There’s an exciting future ahead for Leeds United with an owner and sporting director who spend awful lot of time looking to improve our academy.

Have we improved from last season, or have we downgraded?

Goalkeepers:

First up is the goalkeepers. This is a position that most people would argue we shouldn’t even have looked to change following an impressive season for Rob Green even with a shaky start. After making mistakes early on, Green’s place in the starting eleven was questioned, however, he went on to make crucial saves and to add confidence to the defence in front of him. This season it is a completely different story. Felix Wiedwald is much better in possession and at playing the ball out from the back, however, this is the only attribute of his that is better. He doesn’t offer confidence to the defence and it is safe to say that we’ve downgraded over the summer letting Green go and bringing Wiedwald in.

Defenders:

Two of the back four from last season remain in the starting eleven, however, their form is very different. Ayling was arguably the signing of the season last year, but he has failed to live up to expectations this year, with the loss of the next player, I believe being the main reason. Kyle Bartley had a brilliant season, bringing a steady, calm influence to the side and leading from the back. This allowed Ayling to push on and he was influenced by Bartley as to when to attack and when to defend. The same can be said about Jansson, who despite a good start to the season this year, his performances have massively declined in quality. I also think this is due to the loss of Bartley, who helped Jansson a lot as each one’s strengths helped to improve the other’s weaknesses. Third choice centre back from last season, Liam Cooper, is now first choice this season. A player who off the field is a nice guy who has plenty of time for the fans however, he just doesn’t perform on the field. He’s a player that will always give the opposition a chance and against the good teams is usually punished for it. Last up is left back, a position that those in charge of bringing players in have failed massively with other the summer. Last season Charlie Taylor brought a left footed left back who was good going forward and defending. He wasn’t always at his best, however, remains of a higher standard than the players we have this season. Due to the actions of previous owners it was near impossible to keep Taylor, but the reported five million we gained from selling him should have been reinvested and it wasn’t. I like Berardi, but like the previous position we have downgraded over the summer. Overall the players that are still in the starting eleven this season from last are not playing to the same level and the players that have replaced Bartley and Taylor are not at the level required.

 

 

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Midfielders:

Not a lot has changed in the two midfield defence positions this season and the same players are fighting for the two spots. This is an area that last season let us down and if addressed in January could have been the difference in the end. Klich was brought in this season to make that difference but has struggled to get game time. The main difference this season compared to last is the attacking areas, arguably the only unit of players that we’ve improved on. Alioski and Saiz have come in this season and took the places of Dallas and Sacko in the starting eleven. Saiz has been that good that he’s forced Hernandez out wide so that he can play his best position. Alioski has been showing glimpses of the quality he has and recently hit a bit of form scoring in the last three games. Sacko hasn’t had a look in this season, and to be honest when he has played he has not shown enough quality to replace anyone in the team. Dallas however is a bit unlucky not to get more game time and away from home should be playing instead of Hernandez. Overall, when you compare last season’s midfield to this season, it’s fair to say attacking wise we’ve improved but defensively we’ve remained the same.

Strikers

The final position and the position we have downgraded on the most this season. Last season we went into every game with a chance of winning due to the goals of Chris Wood. He finished the season as Leeds United’s top scorer and the top scorer in the championship. It wasn’t just his goals but his ability to lead the line and bring other players into the game. If you sell your top scorer and replace him with a player who has never been prolific in his career you are asking for trouble. Grot and Ekuban were brought in for their potential, however Lassoga was Wood’s direct replacement. Roofe has also had spells as striker and has done an okay job, but when you compare the four options to Wood they are all way off his level. If you want promotion out of the Championship you need a player who can score twenty plus goals and Leeds sold theirs and failed to replace him.

We are still not halfway through the season yet so it’s not to say that the players brought in won’t come good in the end but so far, the only unit of players we have improved on is our midfield area. This being said however, the real judgement will come at the end of the season when all of our games have being played. I do understand that keeping Bartley was always going to be difficult after the season he had had and how poor Swansea were, the same could be said of Wood. The issue is we gained a lot of money from the sales of Wood and Taylor and replaced them with players that aren’t of the same standard. Green should, and would’ve stayed at Leeds so letting him go was a massive mistake. I’m still unsure as to the ability of Victor Orta, he signed a lot of players but Saiz and Alioski are the only players to really impress so far.

A Potential Star? Views From A Local Journalist on Jay-Roy Grot

After selling Chris Wood to Burnley and losing Caleb Ekuban to an injury, Leeds United are on the hunt for strikers. NEC Nijmegen striker, Jay-Roy Grot who is 19 years old is expected to complete his move today for a rumoured 1.5m after having his medical yesterday. In thirty-one games for the Dutch side, Grot has scored 5 goals; not too impressive but it’s important to remember that he is still very young. The Dutch u19’s international is held in high regard in his home land but, like many Leeds United fans, I don’t know very much about him. However, I managed to get in touch with a local journalist in Holland who has seen Grot progress through the ranks of NEC and knows a fair bit about the striker.

After having a conversation with Raymond Janssen (@RaymondJanssen) on Twitter, here is a summary in Raymond’s words as to what we can expect from Jay-Roy Grot:

What are his strengths?

He is very strong and has a great shot. Peter Hyballa, his former trainer, once said: I hope one day he becomes as smart as he is strong.  He should be more clever, intelligent player but very useless for English football, strong, enthusiastic and pretty quick. He is also a very kind young man, no big star, just normal.

What are his weaknesses?

He has to work on his technical skills however is still very young so big potential. if he becomes smarter than he can make the difference with his physical attributes.

Did you know:

NEC Nijmegen and Vitesse Arnhem are the traditional football enemies. Grot was born in Arnhem but played in Nijmegen, this meant the fans had a love hate relationship with him.

At the rumoured 1.5m, is he value for money?

I think it’s a lot of money. A Dutch club would never pay that amount of money for him but that is probably the difference between the UK and The Netherlands.

Is he considered a talent in Holland?

In the Dutch championship yes, at the highest level not really. In Holland clubs like FC Utrecht or AZ Alkmaar could have been interested, but then he’d probably wouldn’t play a lot. He’ll play more in the Leeds team than here in Holland. Comparing him to Jordan Botaka (different positions), I believe he is better, stronger, but not as good technically.

Who player would you compare Grot to?

Ahanach, from Almere City, now playing for Brighton.

These are some very interesting comments from Raymond Janssen about Jay-Roy Grot. After hearing a bit more about him I would not expect Grot to have an instant impact and he looks like a long term buy from Leeds United. Let me know what you think, is he a good signing? Comment below.

 

5 Players To Watch Out For In The Championship In 2017/18 season!

Martin Braithwaite: Club- Middlesbrough

After scoring twelve goals and gaining three assists in thirty-six games in all competition last season playing for FC Toulouse, Braithwaite made the summer move to Middlesbrough. The Danish international’s main position is striker however he can play across the front four, something you would expect him to do in Monk’s 4-2-3-1 system, with it likely that Assombalonga will be the main striker.  As previously mentioned, he joins Middlesbrough with International pedigree, playing sixteen times for his country and scoring one goal. He is described as a fast striker who is good at playing in tight areas which is why his game suits playing out wide when required. With Middlesbrough expected to be fighting for promotion, expect Braithwaite to play a big part this season.

Ezgjan Alioski: Club- Leeds United

Next up is Ezgjan Alioski. The Macedonia winger scored sixteen goals and gained fourteen assists last season for Swiss side FC Lugano. This caught the attention of Leeds United scouts with the club eventually making a move for the pacey winger. So far, he has looked bright in pre-season and if you would like more information on Alioski, please see the individual blog on my site.

Ollie Watkins: Club- Brentford

The young forward arrived at Brentford this summer from league two side Exeter City for a rumoured 1.7 million. All together last season Watkins scored sixteen goals and gained thirteen assists, a good return for a player aged just twenty-one. A move to Brentford will do him the world of good. Him playing in an attacking side alongside the likes of Jota can only help him improve and score even more goals. Don’t be too shocked if it takes him a season to adjust to the championship but also don’t be surprised if he is scoring bags of goals.

Ruben Neves: Club- Wolves

The record championship signing Ruben Neves cost Wolves around sixteen million from Porto with the move only being made possible due to super-agent Jorge Mendes links with Wolves’ owners. The Portuguese midfielder was linked with top clubs across Europe but ended up signing for Wolves. The defensive midfielder became the youngest captain in the Champions League history aged eighteen, and this speaks volumes about the potential of Wolves’ new man. Expect Neves to run games from deep this season, whilst an impressive season could see Wolves fight for promotion.

Ike Ugbo: Club- Barnsley

The last player might come as a bit of a surprise to many, but new Barnsley man Ike Ugbo should not be underestimated. The young striker joined on loan from Premier League side Chelsea and will be looking to have the same impact that fellow Chelsea loanees Izzy Brown and Tammy Abraham had last season. Barnsley are a club that give youth a chance and with the attributes Ugbo has, fast, strong and he scores goals, I’m sure his style will suit the Championship perfectly. I’m not 100% on the loan agreements, but don’t be surprised if Ugbo is recalled if he performs well and sent to a side fighting for the play offs like Brown was last season.