September 27, 2006
The Curse of David Pleat?
Last season, David Pleat filed occasional scouting reports on players in the lower divisions of England and one player in Egypt in the Guardian. This season, that role has been filled by Steve Claridge who has looked at a pair of strikers in Scunthorpe’s Billy Sharp and Bournemouth’s James Hayter.
But one year on, what has happened to those players David Pleat heaped praise upon. Find out after the jump.
The first player Pleat evaluated was Millwall midfielder Marvin Elliott. He was a key part of Millwall’s relegation from the Championship last season. In addition, he has started every game this season as the Lions look like they may be playing League Two football next season. Elliott has not done anything particularly wrong this season, apart from his late own goal winner for Brighton three weeks ago, but that move to a Premiership side may never materialize.
The next player Pleat looked at was Hull City’s American-born goalkeeper Boaz Myhill. The shot stopper had a superb campaign last season, and he was quietly building a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers outside of the Premiership. This season, his form has evaporated as Hull sit bottom of the Championship.
Nathan Tyson was an obvious candidate for a move away from League Two Wycombe when Pleat evaluated the striker. A loan move to Nottingham Forest came soon after before becoming a permanent deal in January. His goals contributed to Forest’s near run to a playoff place last season. However, he was injured in Forest’s opening game of this season and may not play again until January.
Sam Sodje was playing well for League One frontrunner’s Brentford when Pleat had a look at him. The pacy defender put in another strong performance in Brentford’s upset of Sunderland in last season’s FA Cup, and he was rewarded with a move to Reading in the Summer. To date, the Nigerian defender has only played in one league match, a 1-0 defeat to Wigan.
Preston striker Dave Nugent was an interesting selection for Pleat, as he has never really had a great goals-per-game ratio. He contributed eight goals last season, and a dream move to Everton collapsed in January. After Preston fell once again in the playoffs, the striker was linked with a move to Portsmouth, whose bid was rejected. Clearly unhappy, Nugent has only scored two goals this season, both in a 3-1 win over Wolves.
Cameron Jerome was banging in the goals for Cardiff City last season when Pleat evaluated the England Under-21 international striker. His goals propelled the Bluebirds to a midtable finish after a poor start to the season. A £3 million move to Birmingham followed this summer, and he has been sent off the same amount of times this season as he has scored league goals (one). On loan Nicklas Bendtner and DJ Campbell have produced much more in front of goal.
Another Brentford player Pleat looked at was midfielder Jay Tabb. After Brentford’s promotion push failed to materialize, Tabb requested a transfer. He was rewarded for this action with a his first Republic of Ireland cap. A move to Coventry City followed, where injury has limited him to just three appearances thus far. He has also been booked in two of those matches.
Amr Zaki was the only foreign-based player Pleat looked at after he had an outstanding African Nations Cup. These performances earned him a move to Lokomotiv Moscow for a fee of $2 million. The Russian side preferred Scotland international Garry O’Connor, and the Egyptian never played a match for Lokomotiv. He has since moved back to Egypt with Zamalek.
Pleat went low-risk with his last evaluation in goalkeeper Ben Foster. The Manchester United player had played a key role in Watford’s promotion to the Premiership, and he was being evaluated on his England prospects and his potential to be the number one at United. He was on standby for the England’s World Cup squad, but the signing of Tomasz Kuszczak set him further down the pecking order at Old Trafford, and a return to Watford on loan has seen him continue to play well.