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Football League Spy: 10 to watch in 2007


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From The Guardian

 

Hopefully Glenn Roeder would take note of this list and take due actions (scouting, transfer etc).

 

Football League Spy: 10 to watch in 2007

 

Ten of the best prospects outside the Premiership to keep a close eye on during the next 12 months.

Guardian Unlimited

January 5, 2007 10:37 AM

 

Barely a day goes by without David Nugent, Gareth Bale and Freddie Eastwood being linked with a big-money move to a Premiership club. But the lower leagues are awash with talent beyond these obvious names, as our following list shows. Please feel free to add your suggestions below.

 

1) Matthew Jarvis (Gillingham) He may stand just 5ft 8in high, but at 20, right-footed left-winger Jarvis has already played 100 games for Gillingham. Lightning-fast and also comfortable up front, Jarvis has already been linked with Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle, among others, but apparently doesn't want to move. "Matt is happy at Gillingham," insists his agent Mark Curtis. "He has a good relationship with the manager and loves the fans."

 

2) Brett Pitman (Bournemouth) Alongside fellow teenager Sam Vokes, the 18-year-old Pitman has scored freely throughout Bournemouth's youth ranks and is now doing the same in the first team, with four goals in nine appearances since November. "Brett is a sniffer who will score goals," says manager Kevin Bond. "He's only young and while I think his all-round game can improve, he'll get on the end of things."

 

3) Chris Porter (Oldham Athletic) The 2006-07 season has proven a breakout campaign for 23-year-old striker Porter, who joined Oldham in the summer of 2005 from local rivals Bury for £150,000. After just seven goals in 31 league games last season, Porter has rocketed to joint top of the League One scoring table with 17 goals in just 20 games this season. Athletic boss John Sheridan reckons Porter can still improve, but he may do so elsewhere - Wolves, Leeds and Plymouth are considering bids.

 

4) Gary Roberts (Ipswich Town) After impressing on loan during the first half of the season, left-winger Roberts made his move from Accrington to Ipswich permanent earlier this week. A former Liverpool schoolboy, Roberts has even played in Europe - starting both legs of Bangor City's 2003 Intertoto defeat to Romanians Gloria Bistrita.

 

5) Luke Summerfield (Plymouth) The 18-year-old son of former Argyle midfielder Kevin Summerfield has taken full advantage of injuries at the club to break into the first team and swiftly adapt to life in the Championship. So quick, in fact, that he scored a 30-yard belter on his full debut at Colchester in August. Since then the creative midfielder has made 17 further appearances (10 as a substitute) and is probably the pick of the Pilgrims' talented batch of youngsters, among them Gary Sawyer, Dan Gosling, Cherno Samba and Scott Laird.

 

6) Chris Cohen (Yeovil Town) Cohen has been described as that most delightful of combinations: a graceful workaholic. The 19-year-old midfielder is a product of West Ham's youth academy, but is now a vital part of the Glovers' push for promotion from League One. "Chris has been fantastic for us," says club captain Terry Skiverton. "The longer we can hang on to him the better."

 

7) Lee Frecklington (Lincoln City) Having risen up through the club's youth system, 21-year-old Frecklington has helped his hometown club to third place in League Two. He's a dynamic midfielder, described by some as a League Two version of Steven Gerrard, and has already scored seven goals this season, including this one against Grimsby. He's already attracted the attention of scouts from Wigan and Sheffield United and turned out for Ireland B in November 2006.

 

8) Ray Jones (QPR) A rare reason to be cheerful at Loftus Road this season, the young striker's scoring record - five in 14 games - still isn't the greatest. But at 18, he already stands 6ft 4in and weighs in at 14½st, and defenders across the country must be wondering how they'll handle him once he bulks out. His manager John Gregory is confident that, with a bit more experience, Jones can play at the highest level. "He could be in a position where he is ready to go into Arsenal's or Manchester United's first team at the age of 23," he admits.

 

9) Dean Gerken (Colchester United) After a couple of cameos early in the season, 21-year-old goalkeeper Gerken took over from the injured Aidan Davison at the beginning of December and hasn't looked back. A former trainee, he has made some stunning saves on the way to conceding just six goals in eight league starts this season. "I've been about a long time," says U's midifielder Kevin Watson, "and Dean is one of the best young keepers that I have seen."

 

10) Billy Sharp (Scunthorpe) OK, it may not be the most surprising decision to name a 20-year-old who has scored 43 goals over the last two seasons in our list of rising stars, but Sharp's talent is hard to ignore. He's quick and can score with either foot, but the Guardian's Steve Claridge reckons it's a footballing brain packed with more craft than a crochet convention that's the key to his success.

 

Compiled by James Dart, Tom Lutz and Paolo Bandini

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The Guardian

 

Scouting report: Billy Sharp, Scunthorpe United

 

 

Steve Claridge

Tuesday September 26, 2006

The Guardian

 

Sharp by name, sharp by nature. Billy Sharp really is one to keep a close eye on in the coming years, along with his partner Andrew Keogh. However, it was Sharp who I went to see at the weekend because of his fantastic goalscoring record, which includes one against Aston Villa in the Carling Cup last Tuesday.

 

Drive and belief are major factors in Sharp's armoury, so I am reliably told by Peter Beagrie - who claims he had a major part in bringing both players to Scunthorpe. Unlike him to be modest. But Sharp also has a willingness to chase seemingly lost causes, especially when there's the smallest chance of a goal, and an alert and intelligent brain that means this single-minded young footballer has already acquired an excellent reputation.

 

Article continues

Sharp was signed from Sheffield United for £100,000 last summer after a successful loan spell at Rushden & Diamonds, where he scored nine goals in 15 games. He certainly hit the ground running in his first full season in professional football, scoring 28 goals in 45 league games and making the League One PFA team of the year.

 

He has two good feet and is decent in the air when the ball comes into the box. But for me, having watched him numerous times, most recently at Bournemouth on Saturday, there are two main attributes that will stand him in good stead in the coming years. The first is his positional play, which seems to find him in the centre of goal each time his partner has been asked to join in the move. The second is his constant movement and anticipation when the ball is played into the box either in first- or second-phase play, meaning that he is not just physically equipped to play but also has the right mental approach.

 

Sharp, who likes to play as close to the opposition's goal as possible, has a perfect foil in Keogh, who allows him to do just that. And with that extra yard of pace, Sharp is only too happy to play off the shoulder of the last defender, always ready to drive opposing players back to their own goal.

 

His hold-up play and availability in moves could improve but it's important to concentrate on what comes naturally in his game and in that he is not found lacking.

 

Playing up front on his own on Saturday clearly did not suit him - on previous occasions I have seen him play with a partner - but he worked hard in bursts and his willingness and strength were always asking questions of the Bournemouth defenders.

 

It is obvious he wants to get to the top but from my perspective there are too many things in his game that are still raw. A move at this stage would be too early. He is clearly happy in the environment he is in, because he has continued to hit rich form this season. Another 18 months of scoring goals for Scunthorpe will do him no harm at all. By then he will have learned far more about the game and gained the experience that will stand him in good stead for playing at a higher level.

 

Age 20

 

Born Sheffield

 

Position Forward

 

Height 5ft 9in

 

Weight 10st 10lbs

 

From Sheffield United (September 2005)

 

Bravery 8/10

 

Confidence 9/10

 

Awareness 7/10

 

Heading 7/10

 

Speed 8/10

 

Goalscoring 9/10

 

Likely value £750,000-£1m

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The Guardian

 

Scouting report: Billy Sharp, Scunthorpe United

 

 

Steve Claridge

Tuesday September 26, 2006

The Guardian

 

Sharp by name, sharp by nature. Billy Sharp really is one to keep a close eye on in the coming years, along with his partner Andrew Keogh. However, it was Sharp who I went to see at the weekend because of his fantastic goalscoring record, which includes one against Aston Villa in the Carling Cup last Tuesday.

 

Drive and belief are major factors in Sharp's armoury, so I am reliably told by Peter Beagrie - who claims he had a major part in bringing both players to Scunthorpe. Unlike him to be modest. But Sharp also has a willingness to chase seemingly lost causes, especially when there's the smallest chance of a goal, and an alert and intelligent brain that means this single-minded young footballer has already acquired an excellent reputation.

 

Article continues

Sharp was signed from Sheffield United for £100,000 last summer after a successful loan spell at Rushden & Diamonds, where he scored nine goals in 15 games. He certainly hit the ground running in his first full season in professional football, scoring 28 goals in 45 league games and making the League One PFA team of the year.

 

He has two good feet and is decent in the air when the ball comes into the box. But for me, having watched him numerous times, most recently at Bournemouth on Saturday, there are two main attributes that will stand him in good stead in the coming years. The first is his positional play, which seems to find him in the centre of goal each time his partner has been asked to join in the move. The second is his constant movement and anticipation when the ball is played into the box either in first- or second-phase play, meaning that he is not just physically equipped to play but also has the right mental approach.

 

Sharp, who likes to play as close to the opposition's goal as possible, has a perfect foil in Keogh, who allows him to do just that. And with that extra yard of pace, Sharp is only too happy to play off the shoulder of the last defender, always ready to drive opposing players back to their own goal.

 

His hold-up play and availability in moves could improve but it's important to concentrate on what comes naturally in his game and in that he is not found lacking.

 

Playing up front on his own on Saturday clearly did not suit him - on previous occasions I have seen him play with a partner - but he worked hard in bursts and his willingness and strength were always asking questions of the Bournemouth defenders.

 

It is obvious he wants to get to the top but from my perspective there are too many things in his game that are still raw. A move at this stage would be too early. He is clearly happy in the environment he is in, because he has continued to hit rich form this season. Another 18 months of scoring goals for Scunthorpe will do him no harm at all. By then he will have learned far more about the game and gained the experience that will stand him in good stead for playing at a higher level.

 

Age 20

 

Born Sheffield

 

Position Forward

 

Height 5ft 9in

 

Weight 10st 10lbs

 

From Sheffield United (September 2005)

 

Bravery 8/10

 

Confidence 9/10

 

Awareness 7/10

 

Heading 7/10

 

Speed 8/10

 

Goalscoring 9/10

 

Likely value £750,000-£1m

Coming from the man who got sacked before the season even started  :thup:

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