Junior Hoilett has emerged as one of the Premier League’s hottest commodities at the moment following an impressive season with Blackburn Rovers.
He scored a hatful of goals and formed an effective partnership with Yakubu that at times caused panic in opposition defences. Nevertheless this potent front pairing could not save Rovers from the drop, their fate sealed with just one game left to play.
With this in mind, it seems inevitable that the Canadian will leave the Championship-bound Lancashire club this summer; although, whatever had been the outcome at Blackburn it seems Hoilett’s future still may have been away from Ewood Park.
He has accumulated many admirers including Arsene Wenger, and has now, according to the Metro, caught the attention of Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. Spurs have provided some great performances this season (give or take a few months) but it is my belief that the young man’s development would be better served at the Emirates. And here’s why.
Whatever you may say or think about Mr Wenger, his ability to identify and nurture gifted young players is undeniable; Fabregas, Van Persie, Clichy, Wilshere, Walcott and most recently England Euro 2012 squad member, Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain – the list seems endless.
During his long tenure as a manager, Wenger has plucked an incredible number of youthful undeveloped talented players from relative obscurity; a good proportion of which have gone on to become international stars, and in some cases, world-class legends of the game namely one Thierry Henry, who had a bitterly disappointing single season at Serie A side Juventus as a winger before coming to Arsenal.
On the other hand, Harry Redknapp at Tottenham has a preference in the main for bringing in established players and does not have the reputation of a manager, like Arsene, for progressing youth players from within.
In Spurs’ first game of the 2011/2012 season, of the 16 man squad selected, only two, Andros Townsend and Jake Livermore had progressed through the ranks of the Tottenham youth academy. In stark contrast, Arsenal’s team included no less than 5 former youth players and this statistic excludes players such as Alex Song, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott who were all brought to the club at a tender age but did not feautre in the Arsenal academy sides.
Although Hoilett isn’t a youth player he is still young, and at the age of 21 has a while to go before he reaches his prime and the peak of his footballing ability. With Wenger’s experience and preference in developing young players (maybe feeling he can mould and adapt the younger players to his footballing philosophy better than the more experienced footballer – you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks), Hoilett would have a better chance of achieving the status his potential suggests he could well reach in the not too distant future.
There will be no shortage of top class competition for this talented youngster, he has a plethora of pace and an abundance of skill, can play in a number of positions including through the middle or on either flank.
Furthermore if he continues to progress, his value will increase and since he is out of contract at the moment, any sell on fee would generate a tidy profit; although I am just speculating, this aspect might be the main attraction for Spurs more-so than Arsenal.
One more thing to take into consideration. At Arsenal, there is only really one striker certain of playing every week, that player of course is Dutch superstar Robin Van Persie. The opportunity would therefore exist for the Canadian to take that second available forward position, should Wenger decide to experiment with that formation of course; equally Hoilett has shown his ability to play out wide should Wenger choose to deploy him as one of a three man strike force (two wide players and one central striker).
In contrast at Tottenham, there are already a number of forwards vying for a starting position and in Bale and Lennon, there is two stalwart wingers that Hoilett would certainly struggle to dislodge. Admittedly the futures of Adebayor and Louis Saha are uncertain but this still leaves Junior Hoilett’s chances of Premier League starts in the balance should he decide his future lies at White Hart Lane.
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