Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Widdowson, Sears, Who's Next?
So Joe Widdowson has been snapped up by the mighty Grimsby and Freddie Sears is going to be farmed out on loan. Two of our bright young things, it seems, are not destined to lighten up the firmament of the Premiership after all.
Roll back the clock to December and posters were claiming an exciting future with West Ham for both. When I posted about the need for a left back understudy for Ilunga, indignant Hammers pointed out that we had Widdowson in reserve, a player who had acquitted himself superbly, apparently, in a game where we leaked three goals against the Canadian "All Stars". The fact that he was on loan to a team in the bottom division didn't seem to register as significant. Did it not occur to anybody that if he was that promising, he would have found a berth in a Championship squad? Apparently not! Those Claret & Blue specs really do result in myopic vision!
As for Sears, well according to the Bruvs on the Mordant Org, this was the guy to displace that "useless great lump", Carlton Cole. Even when Cole was banging in a goal a game, his detractors still insisted that he wasn't good enough and that Sears was a much better option. Quite what that belief was based upon (apart from blind hope), I have no idea. Yes Sears had exploded onto the scene with that first goal but since then...?
In truth Freddie has looked as potent as Parrot Face Davies. Not only is the kid lightweight, he also lacks basic ball control under pressure. The ball gets away from him far too easily, hitting off him rather than clinging lovingly to him. True quality players, whatever their age, look comfortable with the ball at their feet but Freddie seems more comfortable with it two or three feet away from him. In the Premiership, defenders just say, "Merci" and take the ball away from you; as Sears has repeatedly discovered. In fact, even away to Watford he looked out of his depth. Zola is talking about a loan but my money is on him ending up as a Championship player at best sadly.
Two down, how many others will follow? If Hines was going to make it, he would have had a run by now surely. I mean, it's not as if there has been a lot of competition for places up front is it? The same applies to Kyel Reid. As with Sears, I think both are short of physical presence and lack the special skill needed by a small man to succeed in what is becoming an increasingly physical Premiership. Look at Sears in that game against Boro. Up against Huth and Wheater, he looked like a rabbit in a fighting ring with two Irish Wolf Hounds. And remember, Huth and Wheater are the 'linchpins' in a defence destined to be relegated. What chance of Sears even succeeding in the Fizzy Pop therefore?
Sadly, and more provocatively perhaps, I fear Stanislas may go the same way. Like Sears he arrived with a bang, but have you honestly been impressed in recent weeks? I'm afraid I haven't. He hasn't been helped, of course, by being played on the left when naturally righted footed. That decision, whilst playing the left footed Boa on the right, has looked perverse to me. I await an explanation from Zola of the thinking behind it. I certainly don't think it has helped the lad.
Collison and Tomkins look the real deal and two gems are not to be sniffed at. But West Ham fans are desperate for Academy boys to succeed and, as a result, are perhaps too easily hoodwinked by a penny pinching Board. The sale of Bellamy was swallowed because we had the exciting Sears ready to step in. The failure to strengthen the squad in January, apart from the speculative punt on Savio, was tolerated because we had an exciting crop of kids coming through. But were the fans sold a line? Have we been duped into accepting second best?
Posted by Hammersfan at 21:22