Aydin Rehyan takes a look at incoming Wigan Athletic signing Roger Espinoza and is convinced he can make it in the Premier League.
Roger Espinoza, a Honduran international who has been playing for Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer since 2008, is now on his way to one of the most prestigious leagues in the world – the English Premier League.
The team of destination: Wigan Athletic. He is tough, he runs like an engine, he defends like a warrior, and he even ignites the offense at times. For a central defensive midfielder, he does more than he is paid to.
Roger Espinoza is easily comparable to a Premier League player that comes to mind: Gareth Barry. The reasoning is based on how the two players approach the game: ready to give one hundred percent effort on both ends of the ball, ready to sacrifice a yellow/red card if need be, running up to assist the offense, and dictating the midfield at times. The two midfielders don’t just do so for club, they work just as hard if not harder for country as well.
Barry made a name for himself at Aston Villa where he captained the club for years prior to joining the current champions, Manchester City. He plays in the heart of midfield, right in front of the four man defense. His job is to stop the ball before getting into a dangerous position in his own final third, distribute the ball to the midfielders/attackers, and if need be, score at times. He certainly did that at Aston Villa, and he does it on occasion for both City and England.
Espinoza always puts his heart and soul into the midfield of Kansas City. This year (his final one before his Premier League adventure), his stats deceive the caliber he truly possesses. He had two assists and only nine of his total 35 shots were on target; and he received five yellow cards and one red on 47 fouls committed. For Honduras, while his team was down to ten men against Brazil, he scored a goal that put Honduras 2-1 up against Brazil. In that game, he didn’t stop running, battling, or helping both the offense and defense. However, it ended sourly when his country was knocked out of the Olympics after ultimately losing 3-2. Regardless, that performance alone by the player proved how much of an asset he could be in the Premier League.
Besides Espinoza, another two players that could boost their careers in the Premier League are none other than Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman and Osvaldo Alonso of the Seattle Sounders. Both players control the midfield and work hard throughout the ninety plus, just like Espinoza. The reason why Espinoza was noticed more and given this opportunity is due to his heroics in the Olympics. Beckerman has been watched in recent friendly matches and past World Cup qualifiers for the United States. Alonso has played for Cuba, a team that is still developing at the international stage. Due to this fact, he hasn’t been able to portray his skills at a high level.
Both Beckerman and Alonso could do damage in the Premier League. The MLS is a slower paced league, but these two guys know how to speed up the tempo when they need to. Therefore, they are ready for their next challenge.
All in all, Roger Espinoza is going to need his warrior like attitude while playing in England. The game is quicker, tougher, and even more exciting than the MLS. He proved both at club and international level that he more to offer. This offer is the best thing to happen in his soccer career. Now, it’s up to him to make a name for himself in Europe.