The Top 50 Football League Players: 20-11

28959

TFN’s Chris Francis continues his run down of the top 50 players outside the Premier League…

20. Ikechi Anya (Watford)

Right back is not usually the most exciting position (as Jamie Carragher put it, ‘no one grows up wanting to be Gary Neville’), but Anya is a rampaging, marauding, and high energy wing back with tricks, and would certainly add to the attacking threat of a number of Premier League teams.

19. Kieran Trippier (Burnley)

The best right back in league? Trippier is a defender first and foremost in a role that has become more and more an attacking weapon. He has developed his game this season to be more of a threat in the opposition half. A vital cog in an excellent Burnley side. Continue reading

Where have all the leaders gone at Manchester United?

rooney-moyes

Chris Francis pinpoints the real issue behind Manchester United’s failings this season…

Forget the midfield deficiencies. Leave the questions regarding full backs. Ignore the limitations of a strike force shorn of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. The biggest issue United have at present is leadership.

There is a distinct lack of the stuff at Old Trafford.

It sounds ridiculous to hold this up as a problem when you look at the experience of the players available to David Moyes. Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, and Patrice Evra have all got bucket loads of the stuff, and at different points in their careers in Manchester have show outstanding leadership skills. But Vidic looks unhappy and frustrated at the predicament in which his team currently find themselves, Ferdinand is rarely given a game, Giggs is no longer the influential figure he was, and Evra’s performances have been decidedly hit and miss for the first half of this season.

So where are the others? Continue reading

The Top 50 Football League Players: 30-21

Yeovil-Town-v-Queens-Park-Rangers-Sky-Bet-Championship-2291173

TFN’s Chris Francis continues his run down of the top 50 players outside the Premier League…

30. Niko Kranjcar (QPR – on loan from Dynamo Kiev)
The most accomplished player in the league, Kranjcar is still a high quality attacking midfielder and at just 29 has plenty to offer. He has not benefited hugely this season by being asked to play almost as a second striker, but is capable of dominating games with his passing and quickness of thought. Needs to be more of a goal threat.

29. Lloyd Dyer (Leicester)
Rapid is the wrong word. Dyer, an out and out left-wing, who began his career with West Brom, is incisive, direct and quicker than anyone else in the league. In the past season there has been more end product giving Leicester a genuine threat either from the start or against tiring legs as a late substitute. Continue reading

The Top 50 Football League Players: 40-31

1144931-17988828-640-360

TFN’s Chris Francis continues his run down of the top 50 players outside the Premier League…

40. Jason Lowe (Blackburn)
A rangy, strong midfielder who has caps for England at U21 level, Lowe has firmly established himself as a Rovers regular having made his way through their youth system. At the age of 22 he is approaching 100 league starts for the club, and already has a full Premier League season under his belt. One of those that Gary Bowyer needs to build his side around to get Blackburn firing properly again.

39. Franck Moussa (Coventry)
Moussa is not a big man at all, but he combines excellent technical ability with high energy. He has been central to a superb season for a homesick Coventry City in League 1, contributing 12 goals from an attacking midfield position already. Continue reading

Podcast: The False Nine’s First “Pubcast” With Musa Okwonga and James McNicholas

The False Nine podcast goes live, with the team’s first ever “Pubcast” at the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub in Angel, Islington.

Regulars Greg Johnson, James Dutton and Hugo Greenhalgh are joined by Musa Okwonga and James McNicholas to talk about Chelsea vs. Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal’s title hopes and whatever else the audience throw at them.

Listen to it below on SoundCloud or download it now on iTunes.

The Top 50 Football League Players: 50-41

Leicester City v Manchester City

TFN’s Chris Francis runs down his top 50 players outside the Premier League…

50. David Nugent (Leicester)
You either love this guy, or he’s never played for your club. The Nuge continues to show that is a better player than many give him credit for, as his work-rate, persistence and finishing continue to impress. He is a senior professional now and he is an example to the younger members of Leicester’s title chasing squad. 16 goals so far this season.

49. Gary O’Neill (QPR)
O’Neill is a highly experienced box to box midfielder who has played for most of his career in the Premier League. He is tireless, and has been strong this season as QPR have ground out rather than dazzled. A wise head as we move in to the tough stuff towards the end of the campaign. Continue reading

Clarence Seedorf: Rebel with a cause

140114123449-seedorf-single-image-cut

TFN’s resident Dutch football expert, Elko Born, looks at Clarence Seedorf’s appointment as the new AC Milan manager…

Clarence Seedorf made his Ajax-debut at the age of 16. Along with fellow Godenzonen like Frank de Boer, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert, he won the Champions League a couple of years later.

Soon after, he embarked on a world tour, playing for Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Inter, A.C. Milan and Botafogo. He won the Champions League a total of four times, making him the only player ever to win the prestigious cup with three different clubs.

Last week, he retired from football to become A.C. Milan’s new manager at the age of 37.

In many ways, the appointment makes sense. Seedorf has a very friendly relationship with A.C. Milan’s owner Silvio Berlusconi, and what’s more, the fans in Italy adore him. Incongruently wise for his age, it’s always been obvious he possesses certain leadership qualities – Simon Kuper once described his personality as ‘an extreme version of the responsible eldest son’. Continue reading