Writer: SFC Forever
Date:Wednesday July 3 2013
Saints have been applauded for playing open attacking football even though they struggled at times in their first season back in the Premier League.
That the defence was a weakness is well known, and our midfield will be said to have been one of, if not, the strong point. With Adam Lallana, Jason Puncheon, Steve De Ridder, Emmanuel Mayuka, Guly do Prado, and at times Jay Rodriguez all playing wide we seem to be well catered for.
Sadly though we did well going forward most of the time we failed to excel when being pushed back.
Adam Lallana - Skipper and one of our leading lights over the last three seasons was for me a disappointment. He showed glimpses of form but all too often he let us down either with his final ball or with a poorly taken shot.
Adam has talent but if he is not careful he could become another yesterday man. Can h improve on his first season in the Premier League? Yes I think he can but only if he can avoid the persistent niggles that he has been picking up. Season mark 6
Jason Puncheon - has been a good part of the progress made this season just gone. He has done well and has been one of our better players and seems to have struck up a good partnership with his defender Nathaniel Clyne.
Lots of doubters thought he would struggle in the Premier League but he has surprised a few with the way he knuckled down and played for us as an important cog in the wheel. The doubt is as to how Mauricio sees Jason in the future but for the last season efforts. - 7
Steve De Ridder - has been a major disappointment and a complete waste of money. 5 games in the championship was bad but last season he was a non entity appearing even less and doing absolutely nothing of note. 2
Emmanuel Mayuka - has been another big disappointment. He has undoubted pace and we would have thought he would really be pushing for a regular start but that has not happened.
Neither Adkins nor Pochettino have seen him as more than cover with him playing not much more than a total of 2 hours in total. Why we bought him is at the moment a mystery because he must have shown something.
I believe he is not suited to our game and thus can only give him a modest 3.5.
Guly do Prado - Has seen a whole heap of abuse head his way and sometimes I wonder what our fans want. Our Brazilian is not one to hide and always does his best. Yes he has had a few poor games but he has also had a few good ones.
He works hard and is nearly always played out of position. He says little and just gets on with it. He always comes across as a genuine team player who has been a little unfortunate. Though his chances are fewer he has not remonstrated or complained and often played as a sub when we were trying to see a game out. 6.5
Jay Rodriguez has been a slow starter for Saints while Nigel Adkins was manager but came good under the leadership of Mauricio Pochettino. Many of Jay's starts have been on the wing/playing wide. Even from there he has been a constant threat but since the arrival of Pochettino Jay has come alive. He harries defenders and is now a more regular starter.
For a while it seemed he was in competition with the skipper for a start but by the end of the season some were wondering whether he could actually lead the front line in place of our talisman Rickie Lambert.
While Rickie keeps playing maybe Jay will play a little wider but he seemed to be forging a good understanding with Rickie and I can see him doing well next season. All in all after a slow start Jay has done well for the club 7.5.
Date:Wednesday July 3 2013
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