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 Leeds United fan’s view of Rudy Austin

 

Midfield has been a problematic area for Wigan Athletic this season. It has been missing the strong physical presence that is necessary at Championship level. Moreover the pace of play has too often been pedestrian, lacking the sort of midfield player who will run at the opposition defence.

Reports suggest that Latics are about to secure the services of Rudy Austin from Leeds United. Could he provide the kind of balance that the midfield has needed?

The 29 year old Rodolph Austin started his football career in his home country Jamaica. He played for Portmore United, based in the suburbs of Kingston. During his time there United won two league titles and the Caribbean Football Union Cup.

In the summer of 2008 he went to Bergen in Norway to play for Brann, well known to Latics supporters through Paul Scharner’s sojourn there. Austin’s most successful year there was in 2011 when he won the award of best player in the Tippelegaen (Norwegian Premier League).  During his three years in Bergen, Austin made 90 appearances, scoring 15 goals. He moved to Leeds United in July 2012, where he has since made 91 appearances, scoring 7 goals.

Austin has made 71 appearances for Jamaica, scoring 7 goals.

In order to find out more about Austin’s time at Leeds we reached out to  Adam of the Marching on Together site forum (@motforum).

Here’s over to Adam:

Rodolph Austin, Jamaican Warrior, signed to great fanfare from Brann by Neil Warnock in 2012 was something of a cult hero before he made his debut with fans having seen exploits of his powerful running, tough tackling and accurate passing on YouTube.

He has never really lived up to that potential however, perhaps mainly due to the position he has been played in. His stature and tough tacking have usually meant managers have marked him out as a defensive or holding midfielder but he has never really looked comfortable there, his positional sense really isn’t good enough for that role. He was made captain in 2013, you would think he was the ideal man to get players going but in reality he is a quiet man and he stepped down from the job in January 2014.

The best of Rudy Austin really comes when he plays in a more advanced role and is given licence to get forward. It’s a position that Neil Redfearn has played him in during recent matches and having been out of the side for a while he has been a revelation. Once he gets on the ball and starts running up the pitch at speed there really is no stopping him, he is like a juggernaut leaving opposition defenders in his wake. He’s also better when he keeps things simple, that old YouTube video may have shown wonderful long cross field passes but he’s equally likely to hit the ball into tough. Equally with his shooting, he loves a long range strike but rarely sees them hit the target.

 If you want to see Austin at his best check out the highlights of our last game against Bournemouth; strong forward runs and simple short passes. If you look at him and expect him to be a great, tough tackling, holding midfielder you’ll be disappointed. If you give him some freedom to get forward you’ll get the best out of him. He is certainly not the most cultured of footballers but he’s honest and a hard worker. Had he been rumoured to move on earlier in the season I wouldn’t have been bothered but given his performances in the last few games I’d be little disappointed if he left.

 

 

A Leeds United fan’s view of Jason Pearce

 

Photo courtesy of football365.com

Photo courtesy of football365.com

For some time now the Wigan Athletic defence has looked in need of a leader with physical presence, someone who can outmuscle those big strikers that so many Championship clubs have.

Malky Mackay obviously recognized that by initially bringing in the combative Liam Ridgewell on loan, but now he has acquired another rugged central defender, this one on a permanent contract.

The 27 year old Jason Pearce started his career as an apprentice at Portsmouth in 2004. Over his three years at Pompey he did not make a first team appearance but had loan spells at Bognor Regis and Woking. As a 20 year old he joined Bournemouth, where he was to make 162 appearances in four years. In his third season he had helped the Cherries get promotion to League 1, being named captain midway through the season. The following season Bournemouth reached the playoffs, when Pearce was sent off in a match they eventually lost on penalties to Huddersfield. Despite his expulsion in that crucial game, Pearce was named Player of the Year for that 2009-10 season.

Strangely enough Pearce was resigned by Portsmouth in June 2011. He made 43 appearances that season, taking over as captain in March and gaining the Player of the Year award. However, due to their dire financial position Portsmouth had to sell him and he joined Leeds United in May 2012. He made 41 appearances for Leeds in the Championship the following season, then 49 in 2013-14.

In order to find out more about Pearce’s time at Leeds we reached out to a couple of fan sites. We were happy to receive submissions from both Kevin of Leeds United Mad @LeedsUnited_MAD) and Adam of the Marching on Together site forum (@motforum).

Thanks to Kevin and his site for the post below:

Jason Pearce was former United manager Neil Warnock’s first long-term signing in May 2012 when he joined the club from Portsmouth. He was highly-rated at the time and it was considered a coup that he joined the Whites.

Pearce, who started his career at Fratton Park as a trainee before moving along the coast to Bournemouth, was named Portsmouth’s Player of the Year in 2011/12 and won seven of the nine supporters’ awards.

The player had gained his reputation at Bournemouth, where he spent four years, skippering the side, before returning to Pompey at the start of the 2011/12 season in a £500,000 deal.

Initially his tough-tackling no-nonsense nature was a big hit with the Elland Road support but lately his indecision at times was a frustration, even though he was made skipper at the start of the season.

Therefore, when Liam Cooper and the erratic Giuseppe Bellusci forged a partnership when Pearce was suspended, it was generally thought it was better for the United defence. The signing of Sol Bamba seemed to be a suggestion that Pearce was no longer required and a move away seemed to be the logical conclusion for a player with a year left on his contract.

In short, capable when on form and marking a bog-standard centre forward but weaknesses appear when he is up against a more skilful opponent.

Thanks to Adam and his site for this fan’s view:

Signed in 2012 from Portsmouth Pearce was at the heart of Neil Warnock’s squad rebuilding. You cannot question Jason Pearce’s commitment, there can’t be many harder working players out there prepared to but their body on the line for the cause. He will fling himself in front of any ball, foot, man, post to deny a goal with little regard for himself. He will play on bloody and bruised with his head bandaged up. As captain of both Portsmouth and Leeds he was prepared to take responsibility, go get players going, he is a leader.

For all his commitment and strength he is a limited player though. Leeds major deficiency over the past few seasons had been our defence and Pearce has been at the heart of that. His positioning has a lot to be desired and he has a habit of panicking under pressure and slicing the ball straight to an opposition player. For all the points he saved us by heroically throwing himself in front of the ball he probably cost us just as many with his mishaps.

Pearce has slipped down the order at Leeds following the signings of Giuseppe Bellusci and Liam Cooper and with Sol Bamba coming in on load this week his opportunities for the latter part of the season would have been limited. Leeds fans love Pearce for his commitment but I can’t say many will miss him for his footballing ability. Mind you we said the same about Tom Lees and he’s gone on to be one of Sheffield Wednesday’s best players this season since we sold him to them back in August.