Date:Sunday March 19 2006
Four Four Two magazine recently published the results of their poll to find the top fifty players in the Football League. While these results were arrived at in democratic fashion – it is the belief of palace.vitalfootball.co.uk that they are invalidated by one simple fact – they are wrong.
Here we can reveal the names of those players who should really have made it into the top ten, and the reasons why.
10 – Emmerson Boyce (Crystal Palace)
This is Boyce’s first season in the Championship and he has performed as well as he did in the Premiership last term. The former Luton defender is like a hangover for opponents - annoyingly difficult to get rid of and guaranteed to leave you with a headache.
9 – Ibrahima Sonko (Reading)
Sonko is a player that attracted many admiring glances while in non-league and then at Brentford. Ignoring fears about a lack of concentration and a tendency to concede penalties, Reading took the gamble, and have been handsomely rewarded for their daring. Tall, fast, equally strong in the tackle and the air, Sonko has more than proved himself at Championship level this season. He should make the grade in the Premiership.
8 – Lee Trundle (Swansea City)
Already known and admired for his tricks and flicks, Trundle has now added consistency and goals to his repertoire. He might have trademarked his name and produced a clothing line but when he was out of the team Swansea faltered. As his weight gets smaller his performances get bigger.
7 – Ki Yeon Seol (Wolves)
Fast, skilful and technically adept Seol has performed well in a Wolves side that under Glenn Hoddle has been the definition of inconsistent – although they have drawn an alarming amount of games. The hurricane pace of the Championship often sees footballing purity, along with caution, thrown to the wind. While the Premiership is hardly pedestrian it is likely that Seol would blossom in its more laidback environ.
6 – Kevin Doyle (Reading)
Doyle has adapted to the Championship with almost ridiculous ease, and been honoured for his efforts with international recognition. An early season injury to Dave Kitson would have destroyed Reading hopes of promotion a season ago, but it is thanks in no small part to the goals and guile of Doyle that the Royals find themselves on the verge of the Premiership. Kitson and Leroy Lita are excellent players but Doyle’s touch, intelligence and awareness elevates him from a fearsome triumvirate of strikers.
5 – Kenny Miller (Wolves)
Miller came close to joining Sunderland at the start of the season but the Wearsiders refused to meet Wolves £3 million valuation. Saving Sunderland from relegation was always going to be a task of Herculean proportions but Miller is a player of Premiership quality – can the same be said of Jonathan Stead and Andy Gray?
4 - Lewin Nyatanga (Derby County)
Made his professional debut in August and by March had made his debut for Wales, becoming their youngest ever player (17 years 195 days). The young centre back displays maturity, composure and sophistication that belie his years. A series of impressive displays have alerted a host of Premiership players to his talents. Derby will do well to hold on to Nyatanga.
3 – Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United)
Jagielka can play in midfield, right or centre back, and does so with constant fineness. The Blades best season in memory has coincided with Jagielka’s emergence as a player of undoubted quality. A Premiership player in all but name - he will be playing in the top flight next season – with or without United.
2 – Steve Sidwell (Reading)
The former Arsenal player keeps developing and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to life in the Premiership. Nigel Reo-Coker has made the gap between the top two divisions look bridgeable this season, if Sidwell does the same Reading could prosper. Arsene Wenger may yet regret letting this young midfielder leave the Gunners.
1 – Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace)
Did you really expect a Palace site to select anyone else at number one? Bias aside AJ is fully deserving of this ranking. No other player outside the Premiership elicits such fear in opponents. One of the more memorable moments of what has been a largely forgettable season for Palace fans came against Cardiff. Racing from the Cardiff area for a ‘short corner’ Johnson was followed by not one, not two, but three defenders. High praise indeed? Needless to say Palace failed to score from the corner.
For a full discussion of the Four Four Two results click here
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|Crystal Palace||0||-||1||Man City|
|Crystal Palace||2||-||1||Aston Villa|
|1. Man City||8||6||0||2||12||18|
|3. Man Utd||8||5||1||2||4||16|
|4. Crystal Palace||8||5||0||3||4||15|
|5. Leicester City||8||4||3||1||2||15|
|6. West Ham||8||4||2||2||6||14|
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