Writer: Mike Field
Date:Thursday February 26 2009
Martin O'Neill has told the youngsters in the reserves to look up to what Delboy has achieved so far this season and to emulate his impact.
On the cusp of our prioritised UEFA Cup 2nd leg match tonight against CSKA Moscow, it's likely the Fonz will receive another chance to grab a goal after netting against Hamburg and MSK Zilina in previous games.
Joined by Parish, Clark, Lowry, Lichaj, Albrighton and Bannan it's also very likely - or at least I hope after all this faffing around - that the youngsters get a good 45 minutes each otherwise it makes resting the 'stars' even more pointless.
There can be no doubting that the experience will serve all of the younger boys well in their development and in that regard O'Neill is right in some respects and now that Delboy is the latest of the crop to consider himself a backup first teamer, if the others can have the same kind of impact as he has had when given a chance, well, tonight might not be as bad as most of us think it will be.
Speaking to the E&S O'Neill said of the Fonz:
"I think he looks forward to the games. He has got the natural talent. He is a really decent footballer, he can run with the ball, he has really good control. He`s still very, very young.
"The good thing about it is some of the younger lads are getting an opportunity here at the football club.
"People see set-ups like we have here and are encouraged. There`s no point in just doing it for the effect of it, the players have to be good enough and that is what`s encouraging.
"Barry Bannan got about 15-20 minutes against Hamburg, that is a step forward for the young players. It doesn`t necessarily mean they will make the grade - but it is encouraging for them."
We all know that Delboy has all the attributes to make a top quality star. He's shown incisive finishing, some strength, the ability to dribble (can't we all after too much lager) and he's definitely not laboured with the skill, it is natural, so as long as he can develop mentally we are onto a winner.
Bannan himself looked very bright and useful, if not incredibly small, against Hamburg and seems to have a very sweet left foot. Again tonight he is another that in my opinion should start because as his rave reserve reviews have indicated, against Hamburg he didn't look in awe, he didn't look scared - he just got on with playing the game.
Tonight the whole game could hinge on the Fonz and Bannan and Albrighton. Sidwell finding his form would go a long way aswell.
Date:Thursday February 26 2009
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