Here’s some heady praise for Erik Nevland.
When Nevland went on we showed that we have another Andy Johnson. He hasn’t quite got Andy’s electric pace but he has got that incredible tenacity and he’s a nasty player to play against because he competes. Even though the guy against him looks bigger and stronger he’ll be there trying to get his head on the ball. I’m disappointed he didn’t score because he’s a good technician and I’d of put money on him scoring the chance that he blasted over the bar.
Missing that chance towards the end might have made me look a bit of fool for saying that he’s the most natural finisher at the club. His game is about more than just goals, though, just look at the two wonderful assists that have followed him coming on as a substitute at Portsmouth. A wonderful little run out to the right at Portsmouth saw him given the ball and delivering a cross that David Beckham would have been proud of for Clint Dempsey to score. And there was that inviting ball that AJ tucked away on Saturday.
Over at TIFF some posters have suggested that Roy might be preparing to ditch Zamora for Nevland. I think they might be reading a little too much into his comments. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to see Nevland given a little more game time. He’s got obviously quality and even enlivened us towards the end against Chelsea, but there’s a limit to what a man can do in the dying embers of the game. Perhaps his age is against him in completing 90 minutes now, but there’s more of a role than he has at the moment surely.
I guess it would come if Roy finally decides that giving him a go up alongside AJ is worthwhile. But again I’m not convinced that partnership would work. Which one of the slight forwards would win the ball in the air? Would it stop Johnson drifting frustratingly into the channels when he should be in the box? And would we lack a bit of presence up front to bully the opposition centre backs?
Those are all questions for Roy to consider. I suppose we’ll get some answers on Saturday.