INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

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INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  SaintMike on Sat 25 May 2013, 1:54 pm

Unashamedly taken from another website (my thanks to Ugly Inside)...........

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1. KELVIN DAVIS

Post  SaintMike on Sat 25 May 2013, 1:55 pm

The first of our look at what sort of season that each individual player has had on our return to the Premiership and we start with Kelvin Davis.

Even the Saints supporters who dont rate Kelvin Davis that highly didnt begrudge him a chance back in the limelight as he approached his 36th birthday, however most hoped that it would be in a supporting role and that Saints would go out and get a keeper who was truly up to the task.

No offence to Kelvin but he was never going to be the man for the job, especially with the defence that he had in front of him, the summer should have seen some key players in defence purchased and a keeper, the reality was far from that and thus Kelvin found himself taking his place in goal for the opener at Man City, whilst he didnt exactly distinguish himself in those opening games, the aforementioed failure to strengthen the defence wasnt helping him and four straight defeats saw him concede 14 goals.

Taken out of the firing line he spend three months on the bench whilst Saints mainly played Paulo Gazzaniga, he returned to the side for four games in December and although he didnt let anyone down, it was clear in the draw at Stoke that Saints did need something more than Kelvin, a keeper who could dominate his box.

Out he went again and would feature only twice more, coming on as sub at half time in the home game against Chelsea and also featuring in the final home game to Stoke.

Perhaps this highlighted that Kelvin still has a part to play at the club, he is a good reliable lkeeper to have on the bench, but overall as was shownearly in the season, he has a few flaws in his game that mean he perhaps isnt the answer over a full season.

Overall I would say 6/10 for Kelvin, a good club man and a victim of the failure to strengthen the centre of defence last summer, if we had then perhaps he would have been better protected and would have played more than the 9(1) appearances that he did make.

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2. PAULO GAZZANIGA

Post  SaintMike on Sat 25 May 2013, 1:58 pm

When 20 year old Paulo Gazzaniga arrived at St Mary's in July 2012, there weren't many Saints supporters who assumed that he had been sigend as anything else than one for the future, most also thought that Saints would sign an experienced keeper and that Paolo would be at best challenging Kelvin Davis for a place on the bench.

A look at Gazza's career stats confirmed that view, at Gillingham he had only broken into the side in January and had only 19(1) games behind him in league football, there could be no confusion here, this was a goalkeeper signed for his potential, who would gain experience and perhaps in a year or two would challenge for the top spot.

This didnt prove to be the case though, Saints failed to sign the top knotch keeper the fans expected and then after Kelvin Davis and the ramshackle defence had conceded six at Arsenal, Gazzaniga found himself suddenly thrown into a bottom of the table clash at home to Aston Villa with only that half season at Gillingham under his belt plus a Carling Cup tie at Stevenage to his name.

He was oustanding in that game and played his part in the 4-1 win, he kept his place for a couple of more games and then after the signing of Boruc found himself back to where he should have been.

But if he thought his baptism of fire was over he was wrong, Boruc was clearly not ready and he found himself back in the side for another six game spell, the truth is he didnt disgace himself, yes he made one howler, but in the main coped admirably behind a defence that just wasnt set out to defend at times and was prone to lapses in concentration.

Gazza had his critics, but they didnt take into account his inexperience, of his 9 appearances, 3 were wins, 3 were draws and 3 defeats, he conceded only 12 goals in those games which at a ratio of 1.33 per game is better than the season average of 1.58 overall, in terms of points again his appearances saw an average of 1.33 per game earned compared to the season average of only 1.08.

Perhaps this should tell some people something about Gazzaniga, he came into a side in turmoil without the experience that was really needed, he played a part in getting vital points in games when it was really needed, now he will hopefully further his education and gain the experience that he needs, Paulo Gazzaniga has what it takes to make himself first team goalkeeper at this club in the future, fans shouldnt judge him on one howler, they should judge him on what he does in the future and be grateful that he stood strong at a crucial time of the season.

Overall I would say 7/10 for Gazza, not a big part but a vital one all the same,

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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  SFC Forever on Sun 26 May 2013, 10:05 pm

I believe both marks are more than they have earned. Neither instill confidence and both make too many errors.
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3. ARTUR BORUC

Post  SaintMike on Mon 27 May 2013, 10:55 am

The third in the series of player reviews looks at Artur Boruc, perhaps in hindsight one of the crucial signings of the season.

Artur Boruc arrived at Saints in September, ironically on the very weekend that Paolo Gazzaniga made his debut and Saints gained their first points of the season in beating Aston Villa 4-1, being a free agent after his departure from Fiorentina, he was able to sign outside of the transfer window.

However there was some question about his fitness, in that he had not had the benefit of pre season training etc, so it would be another month before he made his Saints debut, those that hoped he was fit and ready would be sadly disapointed as it was quite clear that he was still carrying a few pounds and nowhere near as sharp as he should be, it was a gamble that didnt pay off, Saints got walloped 4-1 and Boruc was attributed a more than fair share of the blame.

His home debut a week later against Spurs saw a section of the crowd behind the Chapel goal hurl abuse at Boruc as Saints went in at half time 2-0 up, in retaliation he appeared to throw his water bottle at the crowd, in truth it was nothing more than a show of dissent rather than a baseball type pitch at the supporters, but the Club had to be seen to do something and he was susspended and Gazzaniga restored to the goal.

For the next couple of months nothing was heard of Boruc, the optimists hoped that he was getting fitter but most thought that we had perhaps seen the last of him and that in the January transfer window, we would do what we should have done in the summer and sign a fit and experienced Premiership quality keeper.

However the tale was to have another twist, Kelvin Davis didnt cover himself in glory as 10 man Stoke came back from 3-1 down to force a draw and perhaps in a desperate gamble, Boruc surprisingly was named to face Arsenal on New Years Day, no one really saw it as anything more than a stop gap, however the season was about to take a turn for the better.

His opening ten minutes or so against the Gunners was a nightmare, with his first touch he dropped a simple catch and for a period it seemed he had teflon gloves on, however those that were giving him the benefit of the doubt as the crowd started to get on his back, noticed that although he wasnt catching the ball, his confidence wasnt dented and he kept coming for those balls he should have been coming for, when he caught the next cross it was greeted by a huge ironic cheer from sections of St Mary's, however he would virtualy not drop another one the whole season, a point silenced some of the doubters but he still wasnt seen as the answer.

A home drubbing against Chelsea in the FA Cup didnt do much to improve his standing, but like Gazzaniga before him it would be Aston Villa whp would provide the opposition in what would be one of those turning points in the season.

In a tough difficult game and one that would have put a big dent in our chances of staying up if we had lost, indeed I still think now if we had lost we would have gone down, Boruc though was outstanding, it wasnt just hios shot stopping it was his command of the box as the second half saw Villa suddenly come to life and bombard our goal, we held out thanks to his display and those who travelled up to the Midlands thought that perhaps we might have our keeper after all.

After that game he barely put a foot or glove wrong and established himself in the side and if you wanted another season changing moments, his penalty save in the final minute of the game at Norwich was another one. However goalkeeping isnt just about saves, a good keeper will not have to make as many saves as a poor one, Boruc's command of his area took the pressure off our defence at a crucial time of the season.

The signing of Artur Boruc didnt turn the season or save Saints, in fact the signing of him rather than a fit and ready keeper back in September almost cost Saints their Premier place, however putting him in against Arsenal did turn the season and that being the case I would say that Boruc was a key player in our staving off relegation and being able to commence next season in the Premier League.

That being the case I think he deserves a 9/10 and certainly in signing a new contract he has saved the club a few million quid in buying a keeper of similar standing, at 33 he is still young in keeper terms and could hold the Saints first team spot for a few more years at least, in which time we will have found out if Gazzaniga truly is one for the future.

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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  SFC Forever on Mon 27 May 2013, 7:04 pm

Again slightly high mark as I would have given him an 8 maybe 8.5.

I disagree with those that say he almost cost us our place in the Premier League. Without him we would have had Kelvin or Paulo to keep and that would have been a disaster. Artur is a very good keeper and if we are to sign another keeper he will need to be top quality if he is to get a game. It was not his fault that he wasn't match fit when we bought him.
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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  matty07uk on Mon 27 May 2013, 7:16 pm

For me both Kelvin and Gazzinger would be a 6, and think an 8 for Boruc who for me without doubt is our no 1 goalie. saw up at west ham early season and he looked awful, overweight indecisive and not helped by a ropey defence. Took him a little time to get fit and his head in the right place but when he did showed an experienced top class goalie who instilled some discipline in the back 4.

He should start no 1 but would like to see another goalie signed as back up, Gazzinger needs to go out on loan to get some experience in a lower league as will learn little sitting on the bench.
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4. NATHAN CLYNE

Post  SaintMike on Tue 28 May 2013, 9:12 am

When Nathan Clyne arrived last summer he came with a reputation as great prospect ready to make the step up to the Premier League, but did he live up to expectations ?


When 21 year old Nathan Clyne signed from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2012 he seemed to have a lot of the attributes needed by Saints, he was young, he had plenty of experience having played 118(4) league games for the Eagles, but could he make the step up to the Premier League ?

Almost a year later the answe is an overwelming yes !

But it has been a tough baptism for the young right back, he had to adjust to the pace of the Premier League, but he met the challenge full on and although he suffered a few torrid days early on, as did all his fellow defenders in fairness, he learned from them and came back stronger.

There is no doubt that he is Premier quality and if he can continue his progress and smooth over the few faults that he has then there is no reason why he cannot only enjoy a long career at the top level but perhaps add England caps to his name.

Perhaps his greatest asset is his speed, being young and stepping up a level, he has got caught out on a few occasions when on the back foot, but in the main his speed had enabled him to rectify the situation and indeed change a defencsive situation into an attacking one, with a full season now behind him, one in which he started 34 of the 38 Premier games, scoring once in the home win against Aston Villa, he now has a little bit more experience of the type he didnt have a year ago, ie top flight.

The strange thing though is that Saints have been linked in the press with a right back, Jesus Gamez of Malaga, at a fee of reportably 5 million and at 28 years old, he wouldnt be coming as back up or as one for the future, I think most Saints supporters when looking at problem positions in the team would probably feel that in Nathan Clyne we have as good a right back as most Premier teams, why would we be looking to replace him ?

All in all though Nathan has learnt from his mistakes and come back stronger for the experience, next season will be a big one for him, where if he continues his developement at the pace he has done, he could find himself with an England call up, he isnt quite the finished article yet, but by the end of 13/14 season he could well be.

The temptation here was to give him a 9/10, but I dont quite feel he is worth that yet, good solid displays at the back, but to get 9/10 I feel that a player needs to have done something that changes the season, so 8/10 for Nathan, I truly hope and think it might well be 9/10 this time next year.

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5. FRAZER RICHARDSON

Post  SaintMike on Tue 28 May 2013, 9:47 am

Frazer Richardson may well have played his last game for Saints, however thats more a reflection on the form of Nathan Clyne than anything else.


At the start of 12/13 Frazer Richardson would have known his chances might well be limited at Saints, however in the last year of his contract and with promotion bonus's kicking in he would probably have had no choice financially other than to reap in the money and hope that for one reason or another be it injury or not living up to his reputation that Nathan Clyne might not be the right back that everyone was hoping, we now know that Clyne was not only superb but Mr Consistency when it came to playing games, this meant that Frazer's chances were restricted.

His seasons total in the league amounted to 5 appearances, the first of which when he came on as a half time sub against ston Villa and Saints turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead might have made him hope that he might get more of a chance, initially he was right, he started the following week at Everton at right back with Clyne having to move to left to replace the injured Fox and he kept his place the following week at home to Fulham, but after 8 minutes he had to go off injured.

He reapeared again as a late sub away to Stoke and then made his final appearance coming on for the last 20 minutes in the 3-1 win over Man City, his only appearance for new manager Mauricio Pochettino, turning 31 in October and out of contract he will probably look to get first team football elsewhere.

His Saints career has not been a lucky one, getting injured in pre season 2010 he was out for the best part of three months, although he returned to play a full part in Saints promotion from League 1.

In 2011/12 again he suffered injury, but still played around 3/4 of the games as we headed to the Premier league, ironically almost half of his missed games were the final five fixtures, however even as he celebrated in the dressing room after the Coventry game, he like many before him in promoted teams, must have known that his chances would be limited the next season and his reward would probably not be Premiership glory but financial.

However this season he has beaten the four games he played for Leeds in the Premier at the start of his career and in certain respects has been a lucky talisman for Saints, out of his 5 appearances, we won 2, drew 2 and lost only once.

So for Frazer it has to be a low mark, he didnt get the chance to contribute a lot to the season, but what he did do he did efficiently, 5/10 is no reflection on his ability, just on the fact that he didnt play much.

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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  matty07uk on Tue 28 May 2013, 6:59 pm

Think Cline has had an excellent season and at around 2.5m has proved to be one of our best buys. Made a few mistakes but that is to be expected when stepping up to the premiership but finished the season very strong. Some great bursts down the right and seemed to form a good partnership with Puncheon when he played wide right.

Do need cover for him though as probably a step to far for Richardson who I like, was a really good asset in the championship. As the article says Gamez rumour seems a bit odd but you want to add to the squad, perhaps they see Cline as maybe moving into midfield bit like Bale?
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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  SFC Forever on Tue 28 May 2013, 10:30 pm

Clyne has been a revelation and I confidently predict good things from him. A definite star of the future and one which I hope stays with us for a good while yet. I give him an 8. Like you Matty I don't think Frazer will play for us again. Not sure about the rumour but I would have hoped that maybe Jack Stevens would soon be ready to fight for a place at right back.
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6. LUKE SHAW

Post  SaintMike on Wed 29 May 2013, 10:09 am

Today we look at perhaps the most eagerly expected debutant since Kevin Keegan in Saints history.

In over four decades of following Saints i cant remember a player whose debut was so eagerly awaited by so many who had yet to see him play, Luke Shaw had a reputation to live up to even before he had kicked a ball in anger for the first team, the downside was that the person standing in front of Shaw playing first team football was going to be slaughtered.

In the clamour to proclaim Shaw as the king of St Mary's many forgot that here was a player who had only turned 15 in July and like 99.99% of player of his age he needs nurturing and allowed to develop rather that being put on a pedestal.

His first team debut at Stevenage was a little underwhelming and the 800 or so Saints fans present saw a player whose pace got him out of trouble but who was a little unsure, in fairness though he was exposed by having a forward in Tadanari Lee play in front of him.

His first team debut in the Premier League came in the final 8 minutes of the 2-0 defeat up at West Bromwich Albion, too late to influence a game where Saints were already 2-0 down, but those clamouring for his inclusion in the starting line up didnt have long to wait and a few days later he made his full debut in the 1-1 draw with Swansea City at St Mary's.

From then on he pretty made the left back spot his own and his pace was much needed and enabled him to get the side out of trouble, however the root cause of the problems down the left still remained, Adam Lallana a great player going forward, constantly leaves his left back exposed when the opposition counter attack and this was never more emphasised in the defeat at Anfield, when time and time again Liverpool rampaged down our left and ripped us to shreds, Luke stood firm but there was only so much he could do when double teamed against Sterling and Johnson on many occasions.

The Liverpool game perhaps showed why Saints needed to nurture Shaw, it was his fifth straight start in three weeks, a good run that saw Saints take 8 points out of the first four games of it, Nigel Adkins was alert to the fact that Shaw was so young though as he substituted Luke late on in all of them, not a reflection on his performance, but respecting that a 17 year old doesnt have the stamina and core fitness and indeed doesnt usually get it till 19/20 after several years of daily training.

There can be no doubt though that bringing in Luke Shaw changed Saints season, he offered something defensively that Danny Fox couldnt offer, Shaw is a natural defender and has the pace to get out of trouble and this is what Saints really needed back then when they were leaking goals in the first half of the season.

The only thing stopping Luke Shaw becoming one of the Saints legends apart from being poached by Arsenal or Chelsea, is the weight of expectation, the fans need to realise that he is still learning his trade, he will make mistakes, so far supporters have overlooked the ones he has made, but that might not always be the case, he needs to be allowed to develop and learn by his mistakes, because as good a start to his career as he has had, even the best of players will suffer from a lack of form and when you are in your teens its harder to overcome that than when you are more experienced and confident in your own ability.

So Lukes strengths are pace and a natural ability to defend, where he needs to improve his game, and from the brief glimpses so far i think he will, is going forward, on rare occasions that he has done so, he has shown he can get past his man and get a cross in, sadly at the moment thats an area he has to work on and Im sure it will come in time, indeed its not what we have him in the side for at the moment, he came in to add pace and defensive qualityies down the left, but if Saints are to genuinely become a top ten Premier side, he does need to add this string to his bow.

Saints fans should also remember that he has to learn from his mistakes, too many players in the past few years have gone from hero to zero and sometimes back again in the eyes of the fans and this doesnt help players when fans get on their backs, in the latter part of the season Luke looked tired and was prone to niggling injuries, this resulted in a few errors and this was entirely down to being over played, the clamour from the supporters for him to play every game,wont help him, he will need to be taken out of the firing line, sadly some take this as a personal affront and his replacement has been slaughtered even in games where he hasnt put a foot wrong, if we want Luke to be our left back for many years to come then he has to have a rest now and again, come off late in games and perhaps sit out a couple.

But there is no reason why Luke cant go on to improve on this great start to his career in the next season, as mentioned the only thing that can hold him back is the burden of being the golden boy, those who doubt this should look at the likes of Gareth Bale and how long it took him after leaving Saints to truly discover his form.

For his performances Luke deserves an 8/10 there were some good ones and a few errors along the way, indeed this was the view of the Echo who gave him this very rating for the season, however I think that he could be deserving of a 9/10, his arrival in the side at a crucial time was one of those season changing moments, as said his first four games saw 8 points gained against sides down there with us at the bottom and if we had lost them then we could have gone on to drop out of touch as QPR & Reading did.

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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  SFC Forever on Wed 29 May 2013, 1:15 pm

I think 8+ is fine for Luke as a first season rookie. He has tremendous scope for improvement and with a better midfield in front of him he could possibly improve both mentally and physically. I can see a player here who could in fact do a Gareth Bale and move into the midfield and continue developing.
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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  matty07uk on Wed 29 May 2013, 6:00 pm

Would agree an 8+ and a player with a great future ahead of him. Think to be honest with some fans he could do no wrong even when he made a mistake, like the Stoke goal, yet if poor old Fox had done the same he would have been crucified.

Big thing for me is his composure and footballing brain and how he has obviously improved as the season progressed showing his ability to see something and not just learn from it but actually put in practice. Did wonder if all the rumours about the next star was a bit OTT but as soon as saw him play knew he was special.

Will be interesting to see who holds down the left midfield slot as has been Lallana, or Ramerez, neither renown for defending and possibly a different type of midfield player could see Shaw improve more, I remember the Bridge/Marsden partnership where Marsden, not the most gifted was the perfect foil for Bridge.

For me Shaw will be England's no 1 LB and could be by the time he is just 20, whether we will hold him beyond next 2/3 years has to be a doubt as I think one of the genuinely big clubs, Bara, Bayern, Real Man U will come knocking and don't think you can stop someone joining those clubs.
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7. DANNY FOX

Post  SaintMike on Thu 30 May 2013, 5:07 pm

Here we try to take a balanced view of the man who takes the pressure off Guly, although Im sure there will be many vitriolic words thrown at this latest in the series of player reviews.

Just when did Danny Fox do so much wrong that made so many people suddenly decide that he was a player who did so many things wrong, certainly he wound up a few people who couldnt bear to see Dan Harding replaced in the team in the Autumn of 2011, however he soon put in a series of performances that silenced the doubters and his deliveries into the box were the most potent source of Rickie Lambert scoring so many goals in the Championship, in total Fox was acredited with 13 assists for the season, a total only bettered in the Saints team by Lambert himself and a big proportion of those were knock downs by our number 7 from Fox crosses.

So where did it all go wrong, in the first 3/4 of the season as Saints stormed to the top of the league, Fox was able to use his strengths and those lie mainly in the attacking department, but as Saints struggled in the later stages of the season and were caught out some supporters started to blame Danny Fox, to be blunt the problems were surfacing that would come to haunt us in the Premiership and that is a lack of protection for our full backs and Fox who isnt blessed with great pace was not as equiped to deal with this as would a player who is faster.

This is not to proclaim Fox as a great Premiership quality player, not at all, its to point out that he is a decent Championship full back as he proved last season, nothing more or nothing less.

So can he make the step up to the premier, I think the answer is yes, as long as he has the right sort of cover in front of him, at times he was very exposed, but to balance this out, the two worst performances on our left hand side were in the two away games on Merseyside, Cyne playing left back was left for dead on many occasions at Everton, as was Shaw at Anfield, it wasnt that they were bad players it was that they had no cover in front of them, the difference though is they are not blamed for this but Fox was.

So the question is whether Danny Fox has a future at Southampton ? as far as many are concerned the answer would be an emphatic NO ! But that would be very short sighted, late in the season Fox had a decent game at Swansea in a 0-0 draw although a week later he was getting abused by home fans at St Mary's who seemed to blame him for the 3-0 defeat to West Brom singularly, his sending off was the talking point, not that of Ramirez whose impetuous elbow ended Saints hopes of a revival.

But to write Fox off would be shortsighted, one thing Saints do need is decent quality back up to Shaw, the soon to be 18 year old is not yet at the fitness levels needed to play 38 league games a season, thats not just his problems, teenagers in football dont reach these levels of fitness and stamina needed until they have had 3-4 years of day to day training, that in the main is a fact, of course there will be the odd exception to the rule, but judging by the niggling injuries that Luke picks up, he is not one of those exceptions, therefore we are going to need good and experienced cover for him.

So if we were to sell Danny Fox, just what sort of replacement would we be able to buy, firstly you arent going to get too many experienced Premiership players willing to come down here and play second fiddle to an 18 year old, haw is an outstanding talent, so they know they arent going to get much of a look in, so at best you might get a player in the twilight of his career but you will have to pay him a lot of money just to sit on the bench.

The next option would be to look in the Championship and i would contend that firstly you wont find much better than Fox down there, secondly if you did, would a promising 21 year old for instance be willing to again come and sit on the bench, I would say no, a good experienced player at that level wants to play first team football, not understudy a youngster who has just signed (hopefully) a four year deal and so therefore perhaps head into footballing oblivion.

So yes we could sell off Danny Fox and for the player hmself I think given the treatment he has received from certain sections of the support he would be quite happy to go, but if we did it would leave a void that we would struggle to fill easily and that could just cost us points that could be vital come the end of the season.

This season Fox has been more valuable tht many would give him credit for, popular perception would be that in every game he has made mistakes that cost us goals, yes he has made mistakes but then again he isnt the biggest culprit in the defence for that, but he also played in many games that earned us points, the Man City game is heralded as a great win at home, yet how many remember that it was Fox who was left back in that game not Shaw, simiarly away to QPR, Luke Shaw played the first 70 minutes, but again how many remember that Fox came on and helped Saints close the game out as QPR pressed to get back in it in the final 1/4, these games highlight the need to have a player of a certain standard in reserve, and make no bones about it, im praising Fox for what he has contributed, but Im also mindful of his liabilities and in no way am I pleading the case for him to be first choice left back.

So Danny Fox has done a job for Saints this season, no more no less, he has had his bad games and had his good games, but in the main I think we would struggle to find a similar quality back up for Luke Shaw without persuading him with a lot more money than we are paying Fox.

But what we should remember is that our left side has been a problem all season, even with Luke Shaw, its a problem because the left back doesnt have sufficient cover in front of him, Luke haw is better equipped to deal with that because of his pace and bening more defensive minded than Fox, but unless we deal with the problem as a whole then it doesnt matter who is playing left back, they will be targetted and exposed, remember the last two goals we conceded this season both came from a player running at the left back who had no one covering him, it wasnt Danny Fox fault although some would hope it was.

6/10 for Danny Fox if only for the fact that he has never hidden, always strived to improve and has proved an able deputy for Shaw in the second half of the season, despite what some people will try to tell you, those same people will also tell you that Saints are a great club and we are all one big happy family, I just hope that they dont treat their family to the levels of verbal abuse that the likes of Fox, Guly, Boruc & Gazzaniga have had to endure at times during games.

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8. VEGARD FORREN

Post  SaintMike on Thu 30 May 2013, 5:08 pm

This could be the shortest review of a player in the squad as we look at a man who strangely never managed a single minute in first team action for Saints.

The arrival of Vegard Forren on January 18th was eagerly awaited by Saints supporters, the central defensive position was considered the weak link in the side and most supporters were disapointed that it hadnt been strengthened in the summer window and expected that to be rectified in January.

Forren arrived with the background that he had been pulled from his hotel room in Liverpool where he was about to start a week long trial and after signing he admitted that he had been told that he wasnt meeting Nigel Adkins as he would soon be leaving, how much Mauricio Pochettino had to do with the signing is also open to conjencture.

Saints fans naturally assumed if Liverpool were interested then he must be of a decent standard at least.

The fact that he didnt appear in the first few games of his Saints career didnt worry many, the Norwegian season had ended five weeks earlier, he would be ring rusty but surely refreshed and in need of just a couple of weeks to get back to match fitness, anyway knowing he was going to Liverpool for a trial he would have surely kept fit during the Norwegian break, but February came and went with little sign of him apart from an appearance on the bench on 9th February for the visit of Man City, perhaps showing he was fit but not match fit quite yet, spordically he would be named as sub, play the odd U21 game and indeed actually play an International for Norway in mid March, but as the weeks turned into months he was no nearer actually getting on the pitch than he had been at the end of January.

So just why hasnt he managed a game ? reportably the fee to sign him was approaching 4 million and as an experienced Norwegian International not to mention a club career with Molde that includes European experience surely he would be good enough for the first team at Saints.

But strangely Pochettino does not appear to rate him highly enough even to give him a quick run off the bench for five minutes or so, clearly not, I have heard rumours that Saints consider him one for next season and felt he was jaded after the Norwegian season, Im not so sure about this, by the time he arrived at St Mary's he had had as much a break as English players get in the summer and to be blunt our need was not next season it was in January as we were still and remained in a relegation battle right up to the penultimate week of the season, if he was good enoughb he should have been put in, after all a few games near the end of the season wouldnt have harmed him and he now has an even longer rest.

Truth of the matter is, if he does play in August, he will be nine months since playing his last competitive club game and thats a hell of a rest.

So what does the future hold at St Mary's for Forren ? well you would hope that perhaps he will come good next season, if he does it makes it all the stranger why he hasnt got a game in the last four months of 2012/13 season, if he is a flop he will be an expensive one at that,if the fee is 4 million or thereabouts as reported, he could quite honestly be our 3rd most expensive signing in history behind Ramirez and Rodriguez and on a par with Rory Delap.

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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  matty07uk on Thu 30 May 2013, 5:45 pm

Have to disagree that Fox can step up to premiership, it is his positional skill which puts him in trouble, often the wrong side of a player or stands off giving them to much room so they can beat him easily. Afraid at this point in his career if he doesn't have that ability never will. Not really a problem in the championship where the strikers are not as clever and the game is simpler, often ball down the wing, cross in for big centre forward.

I do like the guy as was good for us in our promotion run but will always be a liability in the premiership and teams know it and attack him from the off. You cannot fault his effort and do not condone the fans getting on his back, that never helps and not deserved when the guy is trying his best.
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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  SFC Forever on Fri 31 May 2013, 9:01 am

Fox is not good enough to be our first choice left back but could as suggested do a job as cover for Luke.

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9. YOSHIDA

Post  SaintMike on Fri 31 May 2013, 10:45 am

Its true to say that when Yoshida arrived from VVV Venlo in Holland as the summer transfer window drew to a close, the little known Japanese central defender appeared to be something of a panic buy, Saints had been linked with many centre halves over the previous four months, but had managed to sign none of them, supporters knew that what we had wasnt good enough and that it wasnt experienced enough, so signing Yoshida wasnt really what anyone was looking for.

In fairness to him though he has had a reasonable season, not a great one, but reasonable given that his versatility to play anywhere along the back four has offered us options and to be blunt even being reasonable earns him the plaudits of being our best defender in the central position and thats a sad state of affairs.

In many respects though Yoshida is a solid defender but he shares one trait with both Fonte and Hooiveld and that is the fact that although in games he can be solid for long periods, he tends to lose concentration at vital moments and often this has lead us to concede sloppy goals, this is best illustrated away to Wigan in the first game in February, both goals conceded were sloppy, but Yoshidas summed up not just him, but our defence as a hole, Yoshida was marking Caldwell at a corner, the ball came in, Caldwell dropped his shoulder and left Yoshida marking space, a free header allowed him to pick his spot, a soft goal to concede, but typical of the ones we let in.

Before anyone accuses me of being harsh I will point out that only four teams in the Premier in 2012/13 conceded more goals than us, that should tell us something, we dropped 29 points from winning positions, the highest in the division, that should also tell us something and too many of the goals we let in came from defensive errors and that again should tell us something.

Yoshida to be honest was the best of a bad bunch in the centre, the acid test would be to perhaps ask yourself, would any of our central defenders get into any other Premier side ? I think the answer is simple on that one, Yoshida is a good back up player in this division and thats what his role really should be at Saints, a good player to come in for an injured player, a good man to have on the bench in the fact that he can come on late in the game and add fresh legs, he can also come on and play full back, again another good option especially at home as it could free up space on the bench in other areas.

The Daily Echo has given Yoshida 9/10 in its review and says that he has added an air of calm to the defence, that may well be true, but all it has meant is that we have conceded soft goals in calmer circumstances, for long periods we are calm and assured, but thats no good when we then go on to concede sloppy uneccessary goals, again that Wigan game illustrates that fact, we controlled it for 90% of the game, should have gone in at the break at least one up, didnt because of a lack of concentration and basic defending, fought our way back into it and a lead going into the final minute and then threw it all away with sloppy defending again.

Someone pointed out in the earlier reviews that the marks surely cant be as high as i had given in such a poor defence, they are right, we talk of the two full backs as England candidates and as having great seasons, if you give Yoshida 9/10, how the hell are we letting in so many sloppy goals, if three players are so good.

For me Yoshida is a solid 7/10, he has brought a lot to the party, but sadly ruins it on too many occasions by a lack of concentration and poor judgement, alongside a decent defender he would be adequate in the Premier.

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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  matty07uk on Sat 01 Jun 2013, 5:27 pm

Would agree a 7 probably more appropriate when compared to others but for me was our best centre half and think if he played alongside a more dominating CH would be an even better player. Does get in a lot of blocks just needs to concentrate for whole game but cant be easy with Jos alongside him
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Re: INDIVIDUAL PLAYER REVIEWS 2012/13

Post  SFC Forever on Sun 02 Jun 2013, 1:13 pm

He needs a dominant partner to keep him focused.
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10. JOS HOOIVELD

Post  SaintMike on Mon 03 Jun 2013, 4:38 pm

You canr knock Jos Hooiveld for effort, after a terrible start to the season it looked like his days were numbered, however after the injury to Jose Fonte he came back into the side and did a fair job for a while.

But Jos's problem, in fairness like his fellow centre backs was a lack of concentration, he would be caught out at vital moments, not to mention a talent for scoring own goals, the stark reality is that if Saints are to take that next step forward as Nicola Cortese has stated he wants them to do, then the centre of defence has to be improved drastically.

Thats not to say Jos & his fellow central defenders didnt have some decent games from time to time, but you cant get away from the fact that more often than not we go caught napping and sadly again more often than not Saints seemed to mostly let in goals that came from mistakes.

We didnt manage a clean sheet till the end of November and indeed only seven in total all season and that tells you why we fought a relegation battle most of the season and why ultimately we didnt get anywhere near pushing West Ham for 10th.

Many champion Nicola Cortese's ruthless streak as one of the main factors behind Saints back to back promotions and there can be no doubt that he hasnt shirked from tough decisions, not least in sacking two popular managers, now is the time though to be ruthless in aquireing players of the right calibre and sadly that may spell the end of the road for Jos.

He has probably pushed himself into a 6/10 for the season after his late run, but the reality is that in the first half of the season he was struggling to merit a 5, the question we have to ask ourselves is firstly would Jos or for that matter any of our current central defenders get in any other Premiership team, we know the answer to that one and that being the case I will recall a favourite phrase of mine and that is "Do the same things get the same results" Put bluntly we shipped so many goals for a reason and that reason was that our central defenders werent good enough.

Of course some will say another negative review of last season, but I dont see it that way, I see it as positive, do we want to move forward ? if we do and i know our Chairman certainly does, then we cant afford sentiment, we have to be ruthless on the pitch as well as off it, xsadly for Jos that means he should be surplus to requirements next season.

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11. JOSE FONTE

Post  SaintMike on Mon 03 Jun 2013, 4:40 pm

The sad truth of this latest review is that I could quite easily have cut and pasted the reviews of both Yoshida and Hooiveld into this one and indeed could have interchanged any of the individual reviews to any of the other two central defenders.

That says something about the season, given that only four teams conceded more than us and that most would claim we have two of the best full backs in the league, the blame for this has to be squarely in one area, thats perhaps why I dont blame any individual, but collectively Jose Fonte, Jos Hooiveld and Yoshida were not up to the standards required in the Premier League, their problems were almost identical, at times they would be strong, but then they would lose concentration and concede sloppy goals, stick a pin at random into the fixture list and the chances are that a sloppy goal was conceded somewhere along the line, not always our central three, but more often than not.

In terms of how well he performed Jose Fonte was probably the middle ground of the three centre halves, like most of the defence he started badly, getting caught in the final minute of the 2nd game of the season against Wigan, but he did improve, probably more than the other two he was suited to the Premier League, although like them those lapses of concentration were evident.

As Xmas approached and turned into the new year it looked like we might have turned a corner defensively, Jose was forming a partnership of sorts with Yoshida and the emergence of Boruc seemed to bode well, but then disaster struck and Jose suffered an injury in the FA Cup tie against Chelsea, this would keep him out for two months, although he would return later in the season, but in the closing games Pochettino seemed unsure of his best partnership in the centre and a look at the team lists shows a bit of mix and match at the back in the final games, with Yoshida possibly with a knock being an unused sub in the final three games, perhaps the manager was trying to decide which of Fonte and Hooiveld would be staying next season ?

If Saints are to push on they need changes in the central area, they need quality and ideally would bring in two central defenders of the calibre needed, that being the case I would see Yoshida as the immediate back up and perhaps one of Fonte & Hooiveld as fourth choice, that is of course assuming that Forren isnt that mythical collossus kept in wraps that has been suggested in some quarters.

If Saints bring in only one central defender then Fonte could get a look in, if they bring in two then I fear that his chances will be limited and that Hooiveld will be loaned out, some will say this is unfair, but if we are to not only retain our Premierhsip place but consolidate it and look for that top ten finish or higher, then their is no room for sentiment Im afraid and we have to move on.

6/10 for Jose Fonte, I would have liked to have given him more, but the reality is that when you look at the contribution Artur Boruc made, add to that the promise of Clyne and Shaw, then there has to be a weak link somewhere at the back and its in the centre.

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12. STEVE DE RIDDER

Post  SaintMike on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 9:56 am

Its fair to say when he arrived at Southampton Steve De Ridder promised much, but after two seasons he has delivered little.

Steve De Ridder is one of those players who flatters to decieve due to one reason and thats pace, there is no doubt that he has an abundance of it, when he arrived in the summer of 2011 for a not inconsiderable fee for a Championship club of reportably 1.5 million or so, snippets from the internet suggested that we might have signed a hidden gem, sadly as has been proved many a time, compilations on the internet can be very deceiving, as Phil Thompson once said on Sky, he could put together a video of his playing days making him out to be the greatest goalscorer Liverpool ever had. Therefore Steve proved to be the other reason why we got him so cheap, he had pace but he had no end product.

In the Championship he started only 5 games and contributed little of note apart from a late equaliser at Reading that showed that he had something, but the problem was he was a one trick pony easily sussed out by the opposing full back after five minutes or so.

So it was hard to see him playing much part in this season, his total contribution was four appearances off the bench, three were cameo roles, two of 3 minutes duration, one a bit longer at 7 and a 35 minute appearance in possibly the most inept home performance of the season at home to Sunderland, a game where Nigel Adkins seemed to be proving some sort of point by giving Mayuka hisonly start of the season and when h proved woeful throwing on De Ridder in his place, leaving Jay Rodriguez on the bench.

So after his Premier contribution totalling just about one half of a game plus injury time, teve headed off to Bolton, his talents didnt seem to be any more rated up there, an appearance off the bench for 15 minutes followed by two starts where in both he was hauled off before the hour mark, he was then an unused sub for half a dozen or so games before coming back to St Mary's early, he sat on the bench for a couple of games late on, but Pochettino showed no sign of using him.

So what now for Steeeeeeeeeve ? sadly it looks like it will either be a transfer out or look for another loan deal, his problem like many at the club who were signed on lower league wages but now see them increased to far more than they can get elsewhere due to promotion increases and bonus's is that for a permanent move he will have to take a big drop in wages, so a loan would probably suit him, but not Saints who would have to subsidise his salary whilst he played for another club.

Although some supporters liked Steve, the truth is his pace flattered to deceive and he had little end product, that being the case we are going to find it hard to offload him, its hard to see him playing any part next season given that he wasnt really up to Championship standard as Bolton found out, in the wide scheme of things our riches from the Premier league mean that the monetary loss we will make on him due to his transfer fee and paying him to do nothing, will pale into insignificance, but that still doesnt make him a good signing.

For this season 4/10 and thats being generous.

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13. JASON PUNCHEON

Post  SaintMike on Tue 04 Jun 2013, 10:43 pm

A year ago there werent many who would have bet on Jason Puncheon playing much of a role in Saints season, this time last year all the talk was of needing to get in a Premiership quality winger or two and Puncheon looked to be right out of the picture having spent most of his Saints career out on loan.

In 2011/12 he didnt seem to care too much for Saints initially and headed off to QPR, a total of 15 minutes football in two substitute appearances meant that in January he was heading back to St Mary's with his tail between his legs and talk of wanting to knuckle down and re start his career.

It wasnt a stunning return though, his 3 starts saw him hauled off before the hour mark in all of them and he came off the bench on another 5 occasions for varying cameo's, in short he did little to suggest that he might have a real future at the club.

But one thing seems to be clear about Puncheon and that is he plays for Jason Puncheon rather than a football club, whilst Saints were languishing in League 1 or the Championship, he was happy to head off on loan telling anyone who would listen that he was a Premiership player, when it appeared likely that Saints would get to the Premier themselves seeing them as his best bet, he was quick to try and rebuild the bridges he burned.

However this is the 21st century and football fans, especially Premier League football fans have short memories and are prepared to forgive anyone or sign anyone no matter what their history, suddenly playing for Saints was going to benefit Jason Puncheon so he cared about the club again and the two previous seasons when he had turned his back on us where forgotten by some, there are those that will say that a leopard can change their spots, Im probably not one of those, however thats not to say that I think that Puncheon or any player should be held to task for ever for past misdemeanors, I just recognise that some players are loyal to money rather than clubs, sadly in todays game supporters cant see the difference and often worship those that worship monsy above all else.

Jason Puncheon has had a decent season for Saints, however I dont think it has been a great one, over the years what has been shown is that Puncheon plays when he wants to play, his best games have all come either in games when we have controlled them, in cricket he would be called a fast track bully, or when coming off the bench with seemingly a point to prove.

Too many times this season when Jason has started games where the chips have been down he has disapeared, in too many games he has been hauled off on or before the hour mark, when things are going his way he is superb, when there is work to be done its often not the case.

Of course Jason has had some great games, scored some great goals and this being the case its often easy to let this cloud judgement to remember the flashes of brilliance and forget the lesser performances, this is natural, but managers and coaches will be looking for far more and its significant that Puncheon has featured far less under Pochettino than he did under Adkins.

In the 16 games under the new boss, Puncheon started 6 games out of the first 9 and then hasnt made the starting line up since Chelsea at home in March, a game in which he came off after the hour mark, in the final 7 games he played little football, he came off the bench 5 times during that time, sat out 1 game completely and wasnt on it presuambly through injury for another, although he made a great impact in the game at Sunderland.

So although many fans will talk about Puncheon's great season, the fact is Mauricio Pochettino doesnt seem to view him in the same light, after those initial 6 starts he seems to have made up his mind that Puncheon is best used off the bench, indeed like Gaston Ramirez, Jason has only managed around a third of the minutes on the pitch under Pochettino that he could have played and that might shock a few people, it certainly surprised me. Of the six starts that he did make under MoPO, he only finished the game in one of them whilst in a further two he was hauled off at half time in one and on the hour mark in another.

Clearly the writing is on the wall for Jason again at St Mary's and the big question is how will he react this time, he clearly doesnt like being out of the starting line up, he through his toys out of his pram last time, what will he do this time ?

I know some will say that I am bioased that I have my favourites etc, of course we all have our favourites but I have always tried to give a balanced view on here and when you look at these stats since Pochettino has taken charge, it does perhaps give a clue as to how the manager thinks, I said earlier in this review that i didnt think ason worked hard enough in the harder games and perhaps the manager feels that way and that the style he wants to play doesnt suit Jason except as an impact player off the bench.

I have said many times that to play the way our manager wants we need to get in two genuine quality wingers and I still hold that view, sadly I think that next season chances will be limited for Jason except for off the bench.

That being the case and if he accepts that, then I feel that he could have a big part to play, but if we are to move forward we do need players in the starting line up who are not only of a higher quality than Jason, but of a more consistent standard, having said that he will be a great player to have coming off the bench, Saints have to gradually evolve and if next term our bench is full of players like Jason who this season were mainly first choice, then that process will be starting to happen, know that there will be some that feel that Jason Puncheon had a great season, but I dont think Mauricio Pochettino is one of them and the statistics i have quoted perhaps back up that view.

Its hard to give a rating out of 10 here, for some of his performances he would be pushing 8/10 if he had delivered them more consistently, however sadly he didnt and in the final third of the season his contribution waned to a 6/10, overall though I think 7/10 would be fair, although not as often and in some of the games we would have liked, he did score some important goals.

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