I know we have already had a good look at our exciting youngster but I thought that I would add my thoughts after today’s game. Every time I have seen Frei this year I have only gotten more excited. He is quick, has wonderful footwork and seems completely unafraid to run at defenders no matter who they are (just ask John Terry and Ivanovic). He is the sort of player we just aren’t used to seeing coming out of the Fulham ranks and is one who we sure as flip don’t want to lose!
I think that Jol has used him very wisely this year, bringing him in for big games to boost his confidence while not having him in the team every week to perhaps keep the eyes of other clubs off him. At the same time, I don’t really think that he would be fully ready to play every week for just a couple of reasons:
1. AGE: OK, I know that some people might say that it is talent and not age that’s gets you into teams but we need to remember just how young the boy is. Also, experience is a very important thing in the Premier League and we saw that he can be naive at times (remember Odense?). It’s nothing for him to be ashamed about because generally his decision making is very good but I think he still has a bit to learn but when training with players like Dembele, Dempsey and Murphy every week this will come.
2) MAYBE TOO FEARLESS? I absolutely love seeing defenders not knowing what to do whenever Frei decides to have a run at them. They either stand off him or they dive in and foul him. It was his clever footwork today that gained the free kick for our winner and his part in the goal should be praised. Although I think he might run the risk of being slightly too adventurous at times. He is very exciting to watch but I just hope that this continues and he doesn’t start giving the ball away in scary places on the pitch.
3) STRENGTH: Again this was shown in today’s game. He came on for the last 10-15mins or so and again I got excited when he got the ball. But there was a time that he did a lovely piece of skill in the box but then was very easily pushed off the ball. Any stronger and he might have beat the player again and had a shot. I think that this summer will be important for him in terms of the gym. If he puts on a bit of weight (in muscle obviously!) then it will be a lot harder for people to knock him off the ball. Look at Messi- very small, class footwork but extremely strong! You perhaps won’t think of physical strength when talking about Messi because it is generally his nimble footwork that lets him glide past players with ease but I remember seeing a slow mode replay of someone trying to tackle him in the Champions League final last year but the defender just bounced off him. If Frei just beefs up a bit then I think his performances will just get even better!
A key thing for Frei is that he stays at Fulham next season. We are a club were young players are being given the chance – Frei, Trotta and Kacaniklic. Leaving would be a mistake, nothing else. I really love watching him play and want him at Fulham for many years to come. In my opinion he is one of the most exciting players to the introduced to the Premier League this year, and that’s not something you normally hear about Fulham. Also, with the rest of our exciting youngsters, the future looks bright for Fulham and I wouldn’t want to support anyone else. COYW!