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Adrian Petre and the goal paradox

Someone once said goals are overrated. And they were right. When it comes to young players nothing puts them on the map quicker.  Goals and goalscorers grab headlines but they do not tell the whole story.  Indeed, they often distort it. In the wonderkid vortex they can be dangerous, amplifying a young player’s potential. Goals…

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No pressure for Tatenda Mukuruva the calm Warrior

Goalkeepers are only ever a moment away from death or glory. The nature of their craft ensures that they face a unique kind of pressure. No other position on the football field demands so much. Young keepers face an immediate sink or swim assessment. There is no time to play themselves into a team’s starting…

Zaha the star that England forgot

Wilfried Zaha was an enigma England could not solve. After two friendly appearances in 2012 and 2013 his England career is over. It never really began. The Crystal Palace winger, one of the most uniquely talented England players in recent memory, has pledged his international future to the Ivory Coast. England have let a diamond…

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Future One – Tennai Watson

Jaap Stam is building something very interesting at Reading. In a squad filled with promising youngsters 19-year-old right back Tennai Watson is arguably the brightest prospect. After impressing in pre-season with the first team Watson was promoted to the senior squad and signed a two-year professional contract. His progress since then has been rapid. Although…


Cruyff’s lessons are immortal – just ask Pep Guardiola

  Anyone with even the slightest interest in football should read Johan Cruyff’s My Turn, the parting words of arguably the most influential the sport has ever seen. We don’t need to write about what a legendary player, coach and thinker he was – others have described his legacy far more beautifully than we ever…

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Marlos Moreno is not (Rafael) Scheidt

When Tim Vickery, expatriate South American soccer pundit extraordinaire, tips a young player for success it is usually worth paying attention. Listeners to the BBC’s fantastic World Football Phone-in will know that, despite the occasional ‘Rafael Scheidt moment’ (*full description below), he is generally an excellent judge of talent. Vickery knows his stuff. So when…


Tony Pulis is a surprising sugar daddy

Tony Pulis has suddenly become the Premier League’s sugar daddy. Five months after making Jonathan Leko the first 1999 born player he selected Kane Wilson, date of birth March 11, 2000, on the bench against Crystal Palace on the first day of the new season. If this continues his reputation for not trusting youth will…

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Kylian Mbappe is living up to the hype

Football is not short of wonderkids. Young players are chucked on the hype wagon at the earliest show of promise. They are mercilessly labelled the next Maradona or Messi by all sorts of immoral propaganda merchants (not this site of course . . . ). This is neither fair nor beneficial to a player’s development but it…

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