PLAY IT SHORT: Zeki Fryers madness; Introducing the real Routledge; Dawson ideal for Man City; Powder-puff Man Utd
NEW WAVE OF ENGLISH STRIKERS ON THE BRINK
Expectation is building at Newcastle United over teenage striker Adam Campbell. The 17 year-old became Toon's youngest debutant in the draw at Atromitos last week and with his pace and eye for goal is earning comparisons with Michael Owen. But he's just one of several young, English strikers now threatening to breakthrough this season. Liverpool have Adam Morgan. At Sunderland, they've been talking about Ryan Noble for two years and Andre Villas-Boas is convinced of Harry Kane's ability at Tottenham. There's also big wraps at Arsenal for Benik Afobe, now on-loan at Bolton Wanderers. In 18 months time we could be seeing a new wave of English strikers appearing on Premier League goal scoring charts.
INTRODUCING THE REAL WAYNE ROUTLEDGE
Are we now seeing the 'real' Wayne Routledge? Barely a month ago, Routledge appeared on his way out of Swansea City and destined for the Championship. That was his level, so the pundits said. But under Michael Laudrup, Routledge is absolutely flying and showing the type of form which has seen no less than TEN managers take a chance on him since he was coming through at Crystal Palace. He was exciting, incisive against West Ham United and in combination with Nathan Dyer they ripped Sam Allardyce's defence to ribbons. If the pair of them can keep it up, surely they will warrant selection for England's World Cup qualifying run.
ZEKI FRYERS MADNESS
Zeki Fryers? Standard Liege? Wow! What can you say? If he had stayed at Manchester United, Fryers would have started the first two games of the season. Instead, in a decision only he and his advisors can explain, Fryers has found himself at Standard. He was wanted at United. He had a new contract offer. For all the talk of Tottenham, when it came to the crunch, they refused to meet United's compo demands and the lad is now pursuing his career in Belgium, several rungs below the Premier League, never mind the status of United themselves. No matter how they spin it, Fryers has swapped the biggest club in the world playing in the best competition in the world for the Jupiler League. Madness.
VILLA MUST BE PATIENT WITH EX-EREDIVISE STARS
A slow season start for Aston Villa was always on the cards. Ron Vlaar, Brett Holman and Karim El Ahmadi are all decent players, but they've arrived from a third tier competition and its going to take them time to adjust to the level of the Premier League. That they're working under a new manager, who is also trying to bed down his methods, only adds to the difficulties facing Villa. The squad is better than two defeats from two, but Villans will have to wait for the new Eredivisie players and Lambert's tactics to come together.
DEMBELE SHOWED UP POWDERPUFF UNITED MIDFIELD
Moussa Dembele was impressive for Fulham in defeat at Manchester United. As far as auditions go, it was five-star. But helped in no small way by United's powder-puff midfield. He's a big lad, Dembele, but no hard man. Yet, against United he dominated the physical clashes in the middle of the park. A Roy Keane or Paul Ince wouldn't have stood for it. And that's what United are desperately missing. There's no physical presence in Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield. With Paul Pogba now at Juventus, it's a glaring weakness which Fergie has failed to fix.
CITY MOVE IDEAL FOR DAWSON
The treatment of Michael Dawson at Tottenham is baffling. Terry Venables says he's the best defender they have. And it's difficult to argue. Barely weeks ago he was tipped to be club captain, now he's being hawked around the Premier League. Dawson doesn't want to leave and has turned his back on a £7 million move to QPR. Loftus Road, at this time, isn't the right move for him. If Dawson is to leave the Lane this week, hopefully it will be for a club capable of finishing in the top four. Manchester City are short of a centre-half and appear to be buying English - Dawson wouldn't look out of place alongside Vincent Kompany or Joleon Lescott.
TIDY POTTERS DEBUT FOR CAMERON
Geoff Cameron didn't put a foot wrong on his Stoke City debut. He looked a seasoned Premier League pro as he set about breaking up Arsenal's midfield during yesterday's stalemate at the Brit. After the impact of Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry last season, it's hoped Cameron's smooth transition from MLS and Houston Dynamo will finally silence the critics in England about the talent and standards of soccer in the 'States. And more is sure to come from the US international as his body adjusts to the pace of the Premier League.