Back down to earth - 02/01/2003

Yesterdayís defeat at Villa was very disappointing, after gaining five points from the previous holiday games, Iíd expected a better performance. Iím full of flu at the moment, and although I didnít travel to Birmingham, from what Iíve seen and heard, it was a second rate performance. Weíve got the cup on Saturday and then a big, big game against Fulham.

Going into the holiday fixtures, West Ham away was always going to be a crunch game. Avoiding defeat was the number one target, and we achieved that goal. To have lost at Upton Park would have made our survival task that much more difficult, but a home win and the subsequent confidence boost for West Ham would have been a double blow.

The Newcastle game was an absolute cracker! I heard that Robbie Elliott was saying that the Geordies were still in it at 4-1, all I can say is that he was right! When Shearerís free kick went in I thought Ďhere we go againí, so when the final whistle went it was a big relief! Although Newcastle gave away the ball for a couple of goals, you have to say that there were some fantastic strikes. Michael Ricketts looked really hungry out there, his two goals were smashing, particularly the winner.

The Newcastle result gave us a real boost, and we travelled to Goodison with a bit of hope. To be fair, they murdered us and in Wayne Rooney Iím with everyone who believes heís going to be a world class player Ė heís got absolutely everything!!! Itís the first time Iíve seen him live Ė I simply couldnít have been more impressed. Itís all very well with media pundits coming out with how great a player he is, but another when his team mates Ė many of them internationals, all look up and the first player they look to is Rooney. They'll know what he can do, and seeing how much faith they have in him just goes to show how highly they rate him. Time and time again an Everton player would receive the ball, look up, spot Rooney, and if a ball was on, the young lad would receive it. He tore Campo apart, and letís not forget that Campoís been around a bit and played at the top level. Iíve no doubt that heíll be better than Owen, he brings a physical dimension that Owen hasnít got, and is capable of playing up front on his own - holding the ball up until support arrives. His strength at 17 is that of a man, and although heís beefy now and will became heavier as he matures, mobility isnít a problem. The boy really has ability, it's just a shame he's not a Bolton lad!


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