A Fulham fan’s view of Ryan Tunnicliffe

 

Last week Ryan Tunnicliffe was signed on loan from Fulham until the end of the season, when his contract expires. He made an appearance off the bench after 76 minutes in the win against Brentford on Saturday. The 24 year old had a previous loan spell at Wigan under Uwe Rosler which was terminated prematurely.

On signing Tunnicliffe, Warren Joyce said: “Ryan has got a terrific attitude first and foremost. He has been educated through the United Academy and he is a player I always thought would do well.  He has built up considerable experience now in this division and we are confident he can be a really positive influence to the group in the immediate future.”

Tunnicliffe reciprocated by saying that he was delighted to work under Joyce again.

The question is: can the manager get the best out of a player who promised so much under his charge at Manchester United, but whose career seems to have lost its way since then?

Ryan Tunnicliffe was born in Heywood, part of the metropolitan borough of Rochdale. He made rapid progress through the Manchester United Academy, signing professional forms as a 17 year old in December 2009. He went on to win the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year Award in the side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2011, ahead of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison.

Tunnicliffe spent the first half of the 2011-12 season at Peterborough, where he made 27 apperances. On his return to Old Trafford he was a regular in Joyce’s reserve side that won two trophies. Tunnicliffe made his senior debut in a League Cup game against Newcastle in  September 2012. He went on a month’s loan to Barnsley in February 2012, followed by a six month loan at Ipswich in the first half of the 2013-14 season.

Ex-Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen signed Tunnicliffe for Fulham in January 2014. He was a regular in the lineup until Felix Magath replaced the Dutchman. After falling out of favour he was sent on loan to Latics in February 2014. In summer 2014 he was sent on a season long loan at Blackburn, but Fulham recalled him in January 2015. He had made 10  starts for Rovers, with 7 appearances as a substitute.

In order to learn more about Tunnicliffe’s time at Fulham we reached out to Peter Grinham on Facebook. Peter previously wrote a fan view for us on Dan Burn.

Here’s over to Peter:

Rene Meulenstein brought him to Fulham after working with him at Man U where, I believe, he was their U21 skipper. He was well thought of at Man U at that time but his career at Fulham has faltered, not initially helped by then manager Felix Magath who was a destructive influence to ALL.

Ryan has never really got going at our club and doesn’t really fit the current Fulham playing style which is pass and go, dribbling past players if need be. He has a lot of energy and is a fully committed player with a decent engine. He has played everywhere across the middle of the park for us but I am really not sure of his best position. He likes a tackle and has a really committed attitude to his game.

When playing as an over age player for the U23s this season, he has simply got on with it, fighting for a 1st team place – where others out of the team appeared to sulk. Sometimes he can go AWOL during a game; I’m not sure if it is a concentration problem or just catching his breath after some powerful committed runs.

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Fan views – Part 6 – Jake Buxton and Dan Burn

We  occasionally republish articles from our archives, that some may not have seen. We ask our long-established readers to 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.

A Derby County fan’s view of Jake Buxton

Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

 

Fan view by: Ollie Wright at the @derbycountyblog

Published: July 27, 2016

 

 

No sooner had Jake Buxton signed for Wigan Athletic but he made his debut last night at Oldham. The 31 year old central defender, who is 5 ft 11in tall, has joined Latics on a three year contract.

On acquiring Buxton’s services Gary Caldwell said that: “Jake adds great experience and competition to our defence and I am delighted to be able to bring him here, Not only will he be an asset to us on the field, but Jake will also add to the great character within our dressing room and I feel he will fit into our group perfectly. He’s a top professional with over 300 Football League games to his name and he’s chomping at the bit to add to his tally.”

Jake Buxton was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, a Nottinghamshire market town. He started his career four miles away in Mansfield coming through the youth ranks, making his first team debut as a 17 year old in a Football League Trophy game against Crewe in October 2002. Buxton was to made captain at the age of 21 in the 2006-07 season and was to spend 6 years at Mansfield Town, making over 160 appearances.  However, on the club’s relegation to the Football Conference in 2008 he left by mutual consent.

Following a trail at Crewe, Buxton joined Burton Albion and they went on to win the Football Conference title under Nigel Clough. Buxton was voted Player of the Year for the Brewers in that 2008-09 season, after making 40 appearances.

Clough was to join Derby County the following season, taking the out-of-contract Buxton with him. Buxton went on to make 139 appearances over 7 seasons for the Rams, scoring 11 goals.

Here’s over to Ollie:

Jake Buxton arrived at Derby County from Burton Albion in 2009, following his manager Nigel Clough in transferring from the Brewers to the Rams.  Given that Derby had not long been relegated from the Premier League and Burton had only just been promoted to the Football League, the signing was met with widespread incredulity – but Clough had faith in Buxton to make the jump, based on his work ethic and character.

 Clough was big on character.  In the same way that his father would have no truck with ‘sh..houses’, Nigel prioritised and was loyal to men that he could trust.  Buxton proved to be worthy of Clough’s faith.  

 He is not tall for a centre back, nor is he particularly quick.  He is, however, rabidly competitive, blessed with a street fighter’s determination and not above using a few of the ‘dark arts’, at times. Raised in the lower leagues, he loves to fight for every ball.  It would be unfair to write him off as a rudimentary clogger, because he can pass, but it’s undeniable that his game is based on the simple core virtues of ‘heading and kicking it’, to quote Clough.  

 Buxton continued to play regularly under Steve McClaren, who also extended Buxton’s contract. He was a key member of the side which reached the play-off final in 2013/4, but that season proved to be his peak at Derby, with injuries and the arrival of Jason Shackell reducing him to the role of bit-part player in the past two seasons.  

 This is the right time for Buxton to move on from Derby, but at 31, he has plenty of time left.  And a cursory scan of Twitter will reveal the real affection most Rams fans have for ‘Bucko’, who will be missed by all of us. 

 

A Fulham fan’s view of Dan Burn

Dan_Burn

 

Fan view by: Peter Grinham through Facebook

Date: July 1, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Wigan Athletic have announced the signing of 24 year old Dan Burn. The 6 ft 7 in central defender was out of contract with Fulham.

Gary Caldwell is clearly pleased to have signed Burn and the club’s web site reports him saying that “He fits our profile exactly, young, hungry and with experience at this level and the desire to progress with us. He is a powerful defender, but he likes to play as well and adds tremendous competition to the squad.”

Dan Burn was born in Blyth but came up through the youth ranks at Darlington, making his first team debut at the age of 17.  He went on to make 14 appearances for the north east club before moving to Fulham in the summer of 2011 for a fee of around £350,000.

In September 2012 Burn went on an initial short term loan to Yeovil, but the loan period was to be extended to the end of the season. He made 41 appearances for the League 1 side, scoring three goals. Burn was to be sent off on another loan in July 2013, this time to Championship club, Birmingham City. He made 28 appearances for the Blues, scoring one goal, before being recalled to Fulham in January 2014. He made his debut for the Londoners on January 4th 2014 in an FA Cup tie at Norwich.

Burn went on to make a total of 69 appearances for Fulham scoring two goals.

Here’s over to Peter:

Your fanzine editor asked on a Fulham Supporters website about Dan Burn and a view on him. I am a Fulham supporter of many years going back to the days of our legend Johnny Haynes (Fulham and England captain) and been part of the roller coaster ride during those years, so no Johnny Come Lately! I watch every Fulham 1st team home game, a few aways and every home U21 and U18 game, so I have seen a lot of Dan Burn.

Dan is a product of the North East and came to us from Darlington. He is about 6’ 6” tall and has always played centre back for us. He is left footed and, unsurprisingly, prefers to play left centre back. He had 2 loan spells at Birmingham and Yeovil respectively. I don’t know about his Yeovil experience but the Birmingham management thought well of him and were interested in extending his loan at the time with a view to signing him.

Dan is full of enthusiasm and has admirable leadership qualities but only in respect of drive and determination. He is said to train hard. He takes the game seriously and nobody could ever accuse him of not giving 100% in every game. This alone made him popular with many Fulham supporters. He is physically strong which is what you expect in a centre back. However, some of his decision making is questionable and if players run at him his legs buckle with fast jinky players, as his reading of those situations is poor and he is often left floundering on his backside.

His aerial ability is somewhat mixed. From a defensive point of view he is strong in the air at defending crosses but often he does not get good purchase on the ball and in some situations the ball seems to loop of the top of his forehead when it needs to be powered away. This rather poor technique can be attributed to the fact that, like some tall players, he does not jump highly and has probably never had to at junior levels because of his height. This puts him at a disadvantage if a forward builds up a head of steam on the run and can either rise above him or equal his height. He should have scored more goals from set pieces but the same heading restrictions impede that part of his game too.

I always thought that Dan would benefit from better coaching because unless he is a slow learner – and I have no reason to believe that – he could improve a lot on his technique and decision making. However, Fulham have not been blessed with decent coaching since the destructive Magath arrived and decimated our club, Kit Symons followed but was not allowed experienced coaching staff, having to make do with U21 coaches (NB: A big step up without a mix of 1st team experienced coaches). We now have some decent 1st team coaches but they obviously don’t fancy Dan.

Whilst I have never met Dan, everyone Fulham fan that has likes him immensely. One thing that I do know is that when he signed the Wigan contract he will be genuinely devoted to the cause and not be false in the usual footballers speak of ‘great to be here’. If he sad that he would mean it and give all for the cause. I genuinely wish him all the best in his career and I hope that he is a late developer who will prove some people wrong.

Hope this insight helps. Good luck with the new season.

Bramble and Burn

Dan_Burn

Dan Burn’s inept back pass to his goalkeeper gave Nottingham Forest a flying start at the City Ground. The home team centre forward Britt Assombalomba snuffled it up to give his side an early lead. It was the kind of error a Sunday League defender would be embarrassed by. Soon after the boos started to come from a small section of the away support when Burn touched the ball again. Thank goodness the jeering subsided and it did not rear its ugly head again.

A couple of weeks earlier a Latics fan, who had been to the pre-season games and had made a frustrating journey to watch his team play at Bristol said that Burn was “an accident waiting to happen”. Another went further by saying that he looked like a second Titus Bramble.

But is it fair to compare Burn with Bramble? Was the fan referring to the Titus Bramble who was famous for his high profile errors or the one who was Player of the Season for Steve Bruce’s Latics in the 2008-09 season?

Titus Bramble arrived at Wigan on a free transfer from Newcastle in the summer of 2007. Although he had made over 100 league appearances in his time at the north east club, he had become more well known for his errors than his considerable attributes as a Premier League central defender. Bramble had a superb physique with the requisite skills to be a top class defender. But it was his gaffes that had given him notoriety. Bruce was sticking his neck out by taking in the big Ipswich-born defender, but the manager himself had been a central defender. Could he and his coaching staff help Bramble become a more complete player?

It was not easy for Bruce or Bramble and the player continued to make those same kinds of errors in his early days at Wigan.

But Bruce maintained his belief in the player. The result was Bramble being voted both Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year near the end of the 2008-09 season. Bramble was to spend three years at Wigan, before following Bruce to Sunderland.

Dan Burn’s poorly hit back pass at Nottingham hardly places him in the category of Bramble. But Fulham fans will tell you he was prone to the odd howler and his pre-season performances for Latics were riddled with occasional errors that one would not expect from a player who has made more than 70 appearances in the Championship.

Having a very tall central defender can be a prerequisite for success in the Championship. At 6 ft 6 in Burn can dominate in the air. Tall defenders like Burn are not always strong in their distribution, an important feature in Gary Caldwell’s style of play, but Burn is capable of launching precise passes with a sweet left foot. Moreover he can be effective on the ground in making interceptions and breaking up play.

However, Burn needs to work on his heading of the ball. Being tall is not sufficient. He needs to work on developing more power and control of his headers. His arrival in the opposition penalty area should provoke concern for their defenders, but he remains unconvincing.

More than anything else he needs to work on his concentration.

When Bramble arrived at Wigan he was 24, the same age as Burn. Direct comparisons are futile. Their attributes and experience differ. But there are analogies.

Titus Bramble was a success at Wigan despite his precedents. His manager clearly believed in him and inspired him to give his best.

Like Bruce, Caldwell too is an ex- central defender. Can Caldwell help Burn cut out those errors, those moments of uncertainty which can blight his performances?

Dan Burn and Titus Bramble are different types of player from different eras. Moreover Bramble operated in the Premier League, not the Championship. But some parallels exist. Will Burn become one of the first names on Caldwell’s team sheet as was Bramble in the Bruce era?

Burn has the attributes to become a dominant central defender in the mould of Fulham legend Brede Hangeland. As such he could be invaluable to Latics. Although he can sometimes be uncertain in his play he has not committed the quantities of high profile errors that had plagued his predecessor Bramble’s early career. But can he win over the doubters in the Wigan support as Bramble did?

Caldwell was clearly unhappy with Fulham’s first goal at the weekend. With Jake Buxton’s suspension period over will he recall the ex-Derby player at Burn’s expense for the QPR game coming up on Saturday?

Or will he find a way to include both, giving Burn a vote of confidence?

 

 

An Everton fan’s view of Luke Garbutt

 

Wigan Athletic have announced the signing of Luke Garbutt from Everton on loan until January.

Given recent surgery to both Reece James and Andy Kellett, Gary Caldwell was looking for cover at left back. The 23 year old Garbutt is an accomplished player and appears to be an astute acquisition. On signing Garbutt, Caldwell commented that:

“Luke is a tremendous young player with a big future in the game and we are delighted to have reached an agreement to bring him here. He knows the division well having spent last season on loan with Fulham and he adds excellent competition to the squad. He has great energy, and is a dynamic defender who is comfortable as a wing back or as part of a flat back four.”

The 5 ft 10 12 in defender was born in Harrogate and joined the Leeds United academy. He was signed by Everton as a 16 year old, the Toffees having to pay the Yorkshire club a £600,000 fee set by tribunal. He made his Everton debut in August 2012 in a League Cup tie.

Garbutt spent the 2011-12 season on loan at Cheltenham Town, making 34 appearances and scoring two goals. He was to go on loan again, spending the first half of the 2013-14 season at Colchester, making 19 appearances and scoring two goals.

Garbutt went on to make his Premier League debut for Everton in April 2014, soon after being called up for the England under-21 side, for whom he was to go on to make 11 appearances. In the 2014-15 he made 10 appearances for Everton, half of which were in the Europa League.

He spent last season on loan at Fulham, making 25 appearances, scoring one goal. Click here to check out a Fulham view of Garbutt’s performances.

In order to get an overview on Garbutt’s position at Everton we contacted Lyndon Lloyd of Everton fan site Toffeeweb  (http://toffeeweb.com/).

Luke’s situation is a puzzling one because, at one stage, as an up-and-coming England U21 international, he looked to be the natural heir to Leighton Baines. He deputised for him pretty impressively in 2014-15, including in some big games in the Europa League against the likes of Wolfsburg, and a lot of his play was reminiscent of Baines’s own style at left back.

 He appeared to have a great cross on him and was actually more effective at set pieces than most of the other players in the side at a time when our poor dead-ball routines were a regular source of frustration… as they were for most of the last two seasons under Roberto Martinez. In any case, we Blues clamoured for him to get a new contract when it looked like we might lose him for free to Liverpool last summer.

 I didn’t get to see any of his performances on loan for Fulham last season but the accounts weren’t all that favourable. I know that he struggled with injuries — if I recall correctly, he picked up an ankle injury almost as soon as he arrived at Craven Cottage — so, hopefully, with Wigan being closer to home and with better luck with injuries he can settle down and get his career back on track.

Since we were in touch with Lyndon we asked him if there was any news of Conor McAleny, who scored some crucial goals for Latics last season. There have been rumours that Caldwell is seeking the player’s return to Wigan. Here is what Lyndon had to say:

Regarding McAleny, it seems like only a matter of time before he gets a permanent move, most likely to a Championship side because, at 24, people are starting to joke that he’ll get his Everton testimonial before he makes another first-team appearance. Unlike younger Academy graduates like Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell, he’s been dropped back to the U23s again which doesn’t bode well for his future under Ronald Koeman.

 

 

 

 

 

A Fulham fan’s view of Dan Burn – part 2 [new article]

Dan_Burn

Last Sunday we published of a compilation of  views on Dan Burn obtained through a Fulham fan site.

Since then we received a detailed and informative article on the player on our Facebook site. The fan view is written by Peter Grinham.

Here’s over to Peter:

Your fanzine editor asked on a Fulham Supporters website about Dan Burn and a view on him. I am a Fulham supporter of many years going back to the days of our legend Johnny Haynes (Fulham and England captain) and been part of the roller coaster ride during those years, so no Johnny Come Lately! I watch every Fulham 1st team home game, a few aways and every home U21 and U18 game, so I have seen a lot of Dan Burn.

Dan is a product of the North East and came to us from Darlington. He is about 6’ 6” tall and has always played centre back for us. He is left footed and, unsurprisingly, prefers to play left centre back. He had 2 loan spells at Birmingham and Yeovil respectively. I don’t know about his Yeovil experience but the Birmingham management thought well of him and were interested in extending his loan at the time with a view to signing him.

Dan is full of enthusiasm and has admirable leadership qualities but only in respect of drive and determination. He is said to train hard. He takes the game seriously and nobody could ever accuse him of not giving 100% in every game. This alone made him popular with many Fulham supporters. He is physically strong which is what you expect in a centre back. However, some of his decision making is questionable and if players run at him his legs buckle with fast jinky players, as his reading of those situations is poor and he is often left floundering on his backside.

His aerial ability is somewhat mixed. From a defensive point of view he is strong in the air at defending crosses but often he does not get good purchase on the ball and in some situations the ball seems to loop of the top of his forehead when it needs to be powered away. This rather poor technique can be attributed to the fact that, like some tall players, he does not jump highly and has probably never had to at junior levels because of his height. This puts him at a disadvantage if a forward builds up a head of steam on the run and can either rise above him or equal his height. He should have scored more goals from set pieces but the same heading restrictions impede that part of his game too.

I always thought that Dan would benefit from better coaching because unless he is a slow learner – and I have no reason to believe that – he could improve a lot on his technique and decision making. However, Fulham have not been blessed with decent coaching since the destructive Magath arrived and decimated our club, Kit Symons followed but was not allowed experienced coaching staff, having to make do with U21 coaches (NB: A big step up without a mix of 1st team experienced coaches). We now have some decent 1st team coaches but they obviously don’t fancy Dan.

Whilst I have never met Dan, everyone Fulham fan that has likes him immensely. One thing that I do know is that when he signed the Wigan contract he will be genuinely devoted to the cause and not be false in the usual footballers speak of ‘great to be here’. If he sad that he would mean it and give all for the cause. I genuinely wish him all the best in his career and I hope that he is a late developer who will prove some people wrong.

Hope this insight helps. Good luck with the new season.