A Macclesfield fan’s view of Danny Whitehead

Whitehead

The 22 year old Danny Whitehead became a Wigan Athletic player in early January. On signing from Macclesfield Town,  Whitehead was loaned back to them for the rest of the season.  Given that his experience is largely in non-league football, are Latics taking a gamble in offering Whitehead a 30 month contract?

The 5 ft 10 in tall Whitehead was born in Stretford and joined the nearby Stockport County when 15, making his senior debut at the age of 17. He went on to make 60 appearances, scoring 6 goals. Whitehead signed for West Ham in the summer of 2013, following a trial period with them. Sam Allardyce, then Hammers manager, commented that:

He was recommended by Didi Hamann – who managed Stockport – as he felt he was an emerging talent that needed nurturing. I asked their current manager Ian Bogie about his talents and he allowed us to take a look at him last season and like every young player he’s got talent. He’s very capable of handling the ball and he’s able to create with his passing. Danny is very slight, which we’ll work on, but the question is can we create that potential into a Premier League player?”

Whitehead made his debut for the Hammers in January 2014 in a 5-0 FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest. It proved to be his only game for West Ham and he was released in January 2015. In March 2015 he joined Accrington Stanley on as short term contract.

Whitehead joined Macclesfield Town last summer. In order to learn more about Whitehead’s time at Macc we contacted Voice of Reason through the Wragg’s to Riches Macclesfield fan site.

Here’s over to him:

Danny Whitehead was a regular trialist in our 2015 pre-season friendly programme and was one of our star performers. The qualities I remember from pre-season were skill, creativity and time on the ball. Although we already had quality in midfield, both the club and the supporters were very keen to add Danny to the squad, and while it was evident that the budget was under pressure, Danny was the one trialist whom we signed in the final days before the start of the season.

Our competitive season started slowly for a number of reasons, and I would say that Danny did not carry his form fully into the early season, appearing not to adapt well to the more physical nature of competitive non-League football.

After starting in the first 2 games, he only managed to start one of the next 6, but remained involved coming off the bench in all the other games. When an injury to our skipper, Paul Turnbull , let him back into the team in early September, he went on a run of 18 straight starts.

He was voted Man of the Match on the fans message board in our 4-1 win against the League leaders Forest Green Rovers in September, but our away game to Aldershot at the end of September seemed to be a major turning point. Due to injuries, Danny combined with his near-namesake Danny Whitaker in a lightweight-looking central midfield. We needn’t have worried as Whitehead, Whitaker and our two wide midfielders ripped Aldershot apart to the extent that we were 3-0 up away from home after about an hour, and our manager John Askey was able to rest players and to bring on 3 subs, two of whom were getting their first game-time of the season.

Danny Whitehead has not looked back since that match, as we also went on a very good run. He looked more ready for the fray and used his particular qualities more effectively in central midfield. His run of 18 starts was only interrupted by injury from a very physical game at Southport, and he contributed fully to high scoring wins against Woking, Wrexham, Guiseley and Altrincham.

After signing for Wigan, he described his playing style very well – energetic, covering lots of ground, getting forward and chipping in with a few goals. He’s also quick, but my abiding memories of Danny will include some quality finishing (he’s got a great shot on him), his darting runs into space and his willingness to chase the ball down when the opposition get it. He’s played equally well in central midfield in a 4-4-2, or when there have been 3 in the midfield. Following another quality performance on Tuesday night, he has now been voted Man of the Match 4 times outright and once on a shared basis.

Wigan fans might find entertaining an interview with Garry Hill, the Woking manager, after we won 5-2 at their ground with Danny opening the scoring with a cracker – he almost spits out the names of our central midfield players before saying “we never got a kick” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRTmCr8E850 at 3 minutes and 20 seconds).

Danny goes to Wigan with the best wishes of the Macc faithful. I get the impression that his attitude is “spot on” and having already had a spell at West Ham, he has bags of skill and potential. He will need to step up again from his current level to succeed in League 1 or the Championship, but he has progressed at Macc and, at 22 years old, who’s to say that he won’t establish himself at Wigan or indeed go on to a higher level.

In an interview in November, Danny talked about how much he was enjoying playing regularly, after 2 seasons where he didn’t get many games, and observed that he had to play games to improve – he will need to do the same again and your manager will have to show faith in him to give him the chance to make that step up.

 

 

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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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A West Ham fan’s view of Jack Collison

Coll2

Jack Collison is Wigan Athletic’s’ latest loan signing.

In order to learn more about him we reached out to the “West Ham Till I Die” fan site. Our thanks to Sean Whetstone of that site for his contribution below:

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. 

Sean Whetstone

West Ham Season Ticket Holder, Blogger and Podcaster

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A look at Jack Collison

Colison

Once again Uwe Rosler has made a shrewd move in the loan transfer market with the signing of Jack Collison from West Ham. The midfielder joins Josh McEachran, Nicky Maynard, Nick Powell, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Martyn Waghorn as loan players at the club.

Collison is only 25 years old, but has made over 100 appearances for the Hammers since his debut on January 1st, 2008. He can play in either centre or wide midfield. During his time at West Ham he made 49 Premier League starts, with 25 appearances off the bench, scoring 7 goals with 4 assists. If it had not been for injuries Collison would surely have made more appearances at Premier League level.

Although born and raised  in England, Collison qualified to play for Wales through his Welsh maternal grandfather. He has made 17 appearances for Wales. Earlier this season he spent the month of October out on loan at Bournemouth, where he made four appearances.

Given the loss of midfielders Ben Watson, Chris McCann and Roger Espinoza through injury the signing of Collison is well-timed. He will immediately compete for a place in the starting line-up. Collison has already played in the Championship for West Ham in 2011-12 when he made 28 starts, with 5 appearances as a substitute, scoring 6 goals with 3 assists.

West Ham have a dozen players whose contracts or loans expire in June 2014. The fan site West Ham Till I Die  suggests that only three of those players – who include not only Collison, but the likes of Joe Cole and Jussi Jaaskelain – will be offered further contracts, as the London club aims to cut £9 million off its wage bill.

As such as Ryan Tunnicliffe and Josh McEachran have discovered it can take loan players some time to get used to the style of play preferred by Rosler. However, providing Collison can maintain a good level of fitness he will be an important member of the squad. Should he impress there will surely be a strong possibility of him continuing at Wigan next season.

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Wigan Athletic 2 West Ham 1 -Champagne football returns to the DW

The slim margin on the DW scoreboard betrayed a thoroughly dominant, flowing performance filled with invention and verve that might have ended up in a +3 or +4 margin on another day. Save for a scrappy opening six minutes, Wigan recreated the stylish, exciting form show in last season’s glorious final chapter.

The Good:

Almost everything. More than half the team put in their strongest performances of the season, with special praise reserved for Shaun Maloney who orchestrated almost every Wigan attack with clever flicks, darting runs, and eye of the needle through-balls. Maynor Figueroa recovered from a tired performance at Swansea with a masterful display at the back and some stunning passing. Ivan Ramis’ goal should be up there for goal of the season. James McArthur and James McCarthy were phenomenal and it is only a shame Jussi Jaaskelainen denied the latter a line amongst the goalscorers with an excellent first half save. Jean Beausejour and Emmerson Boyce, in different ways, were extremely effective on the day. And there was a return to form for Gary Caldwell.

The result was crucial. Microphones clearly picked up Roberto’s instructions to “keep it” with ten minutes to play, despite the ease with which Latics were cutting through West Ham’s back line. While many of us were craving that third killer goal, the manager knew that securing three points unspectacularly was more important. The win boosts the club’s points tally but more importantly provides a shot of confidence and a platform to build on. Not many teams will beat Wigan in that sort of home form.

The Bad:

The fact that the margin did end up so slim is a reminder that finishing must improve. Arouna Koné was energetic, skillful and always dangerous, but fluffed his lines on a couple occasions and should have put the game beyond reach. Franco Di Santo, playing a slightly deeper role, found himself shooting hopefully from outside the box when better options might have been available. Both had good games though — the partnership shows great promise.

Final Thoughts: 

What a shame Ryo Miyaichi was not on the bench for this one. The speed with which Wigan were breaking in those final 20 minute was impressive — he would surely have capitalized on the by then very leaky West Ham defence.

The fact that Ronnie Stam was on the bench for a league match raised a few eyebrows. Word on the street is that further Premier League appearances would activate a clause in his contract. Perhaps Roberto now believes he is ready to challenge Emmerson Boyce on the right, and may be worth the money such a clause might cost the club? Or perhaps it was a reminder to Boyce that his place is not automatic. Either way — it was nice to have him as an option, and Boyce responded with a strong performance.

Player Ratings: 

Ali Al-Habsi: 8 — Looked bright and confident, made one or two crucial saves.

Maynor Figueroa: 9 — Strong in the air and on the ground, and his passing was sensational.

Gary Caldwell: 8 — A return to form at the heart of the defence. A little shaky in the opening minutes as he tested the waters with Carroll, but dominant as the game went on.

Ivan Ramis: 9 — What a goal. Looks better every match.

Emmerson Boyce: 7.5 — Plays a much more defensive role than his counterpart on the left side, but was intelligent with his passing and movement when he did get forward. Did his part defensively — West Ham’s wingers were ineffective.

Jean Beausejour: 8 — Strong performance from the Chilean, who was unlucky not to score with a fine left-footed strike in the first half. Lost Tomkins for the consolation header but was impressive throughout.

James McArthur: 9 — How pleasing to see him take his goal so well. Worked his socks off as always, but has understated quality about his game too.

James McCarthy: 9 — Also fantastic in the centre of the park. Very pleasing to see him shooting with greater frequency, and getting forward more often. He doesn’t often have the opportunity to show his pace, but when Watson replaced Di Santo and McCarthy was pushed slightly further forward, he led the counter-attacking charge on more than one occasion.

Shaun Maloney: 9 — Outstanding. Has found his home.

Franco Di Santo: 8 — Very good work rate and hold up play, quality passing. Didn’t have any clear chances but the ovation he received upon being substituted shows how appreciated he is these days.

Arouna Koné: 7.5 — Tricky to grade this performance. He was a constant threat, constantly got past his man, but guilty of missing a  couple quality chances.

Subs:

Ben Watson: Looked almost surprised at how much time he had on the ball, so exhausted were the West Ham midfielders after being given the Jimmy Mac runaround for 80 minutes. Played some nice football in his time on the pitch and freed James McCarthy into a more attacking role.