Fan Views – Part 5 – Josh McEachran and Jack Collison

Given that we now have a wider readership than in our earlier days we plan to occasionally republish articles from our archives, that many may not have seen. We ask our long-established readers will bear with us on this. We will continue to put out our stream of current articles.

Our site stats have shown that our readership has been particularly interested in perspectives of Latics players from fans of their previous clubs. Thanks to contributions made by bloggers on the fan sites of those clubs for these articles from our archives.

Click here for our previous fan views on Roger Espinoza and James McClean.

Click here for our previous fan views on Martyn Waghorn and Thomas Rogne.

Click here for our previous fan views on Uwe Rösler and Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Click here for our previous fan views on Stephen Crainey and Markus Holgerrson.

 

 A Middlesbrough fan’s view of Josh McEachran.

Photo courtesy of thechels.net

 

Written by: Robert Nichols of Middlesbrough fan site Fly Me To The Moon

Published: February 4, 2014.

 

There was much excitement around the arrival of Josh McEachran at Middlesbrough. A promising young England Under 21 international from Chelsea for whom great things were expected and we had him on a season long loan in August of last year. What a scoop we thought. That is exactly the way it turned out for both Josh and Boro, initially at least.

Josh made his debut immediately after signing in a night match in what turned out to be a 3-2 victory over Burnley. Two stunning late strikes by Boro youngsters Adam Reach and Luke Williams clinched a victory on a night of real optimism and youthful endeavour. Josh was interviewed after the game and spoke of his excitement at joining such a young and able team. It was a brilliant beginning.

McEachran’s vision and ability to thread passes through a crowded defence made him the perfect midfield partner for the non stop Grant Leadbitter. He quickly began to really make his mark on the first team and along with Leadbitter was central to our rise up the table. Josh had tons of ability but thankfully no big time Premier attitude; he worked his socks off for our Championship cause.

Off the field too he blended in with the young squad. I remember seeing him with team mates in the VIP area of Middlesbrough Town Hall, the night X Factor winner James Arthur played his victory concert.

For me there were real comparisons to a young Manchester United midfielder that Wigan fans will know all about, Tom Cleverley. Tom’s loan spells at Leicester, Watford and Wigan had been the perfect preparation and spring board to pitch him from Under 21 to Manchester United and England first team. At Boro we had witnessed Cleverley unpick our defence whilst with Watford and Josh McEachran was doing the same thing for us now week in week out. This could be the start of big things for a future rising star.

Sadly the wheels fell off for Boro and McEachran. Before Christmas we were poised near the top of the league. McEachran was at the top of his game also. Manager Tony Mowbray went on record saying that he felt the young player could now push on further in the New Year and start to fulfil his potential and add goals to his game. McEachran had been able to pull defences apart and set up others but at times had looked a little shy of shooting himself, ironically also a problem for Cleverley in his early England career.

Sadly rather then pushing on, after New Year the Boro engineroom of McEachran and Leadbitter ran out of steam and the team started to tumble down the league. Young Josh was feeling the pace of his first full season and also suffering stage fright when one on one with a keeper. He couldn’t get that all important break through first goal. In the end what promised to be a great season for both club and player turned to disappointment. Boro ended up nearer the bottom than the top and McEachran found himself in and out of a disjointed and misfiring first team and still unable to break his own personal duck.

I am sure those 38 appearances for Boro will stand Josh McEachran in really good stead for Wigan. He will have learned a great deal about himself and the Championship. The Under 21 player should now know exactly what it takes to make the next step forward. With his Chelsea contract running down he will also have that extra pressure to make a big impact with The Latics. A first goal would no doubt mean a great deal but as long as he can use that vision and undoubted ability to be a star provider then he will be a big plus for any side in the Football League.

A West Ham fan’s view of Jack Collison.

Coll2

 

Written by: Sean Whetstone of the “West Ham Till I Die” fan site.

Published: March 20, 2014.

Jack Collison joined West Ham United in 2005 as a fresh faced 17 year old after Peterborough disbanded their youth setup. West Ham Academy Director Tony Carr was impressed with him to offer him a one year scholarship.  He broke through to the first team in 2007 to face Bolton.

In June 2009 he signed a five year contract which expires this summer, during an away win at Wigan in 2009 he dislocated his kneecap while attempting to chest down a long ball and was ruled out for six weeks. To be honest he has never been the same player since that injury and has struggled with his knees for the past 5 years.

He has a special training programme and careful management to keep him match fit. In 2012 he was told told he has a similar knee injury to those that plagued Spurs captain Ledley King who retired age 31.  

Sam Allardyce was quoted as saying “He has a problem that is going to stay with him for the rest of his career. He manages it brilliantly, but there are times when he gets a lot of fluid in there and he is not available for training. It is us managing that side of it. His knee, unfortunately for Jack, is never going to be 100 per cent so he has to do a management job. It is not as drastic as, in the past, Paul McGrath or Ledley King, but it is similar. He is gutted, obviously. He is almost like the forgotten man.”  

In 2013 Collison himself commented on his knee situation saying “I’ve heard that before about my knee, I expected the comparisons to Ledley and I suppose to a certain extent it is true because I have to manage my knee, but I think loads of footballers are in that position, where you have to be very concerned about an injury.“I have to box a little bit clever and be smart with the injury, but at the moment I feel as good as I have done in two or three years and that’s encouraging.”

 In October 2013 he was loaned to AFC Bournemouth for who he played four games before returning to West Ham. He remains a fan’s favourite at West Ham and we always sing his name calling him Jacky Collison but his injury means he may not have lived up to our expectations to make him a West Ham legend from our youth ranks.

 No-one expects him to be offered a new contract in the summer and he will be available on a free transfer looking to match his £20,000 per week wages which I assume Wigan will be picking up for the remainder of the season.

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