Monday, 13 June 2011

It May Be a Refreshing Attitude, But Is He Good Enough?

Nedum Onuoha was the 'next big thing' for a long time, great things were expected of the young academy graduate, but he never really reached the level that many people expected him too.  His athleticism is there for all to see and the teenage sprint Champion certainly uses his speed as his best asset, but other parts of his game have let him down.

It seemed highly likely that his future at Eastlands was all but over after he was farmed out to Sunderland on loan last season, and it appeared probable that the move would be made permanent.  In recent time though suggestions of a transfer to Wearside have gone strangely quiet.  In fact moves to Bolton as part of a deal for Gary Cahill have been more likely, today though we see a refreshing show of determination from the player.  Too many footballers would rest on their laurels and just wait for a move, but City supporting Onuoha claims he is ready to fight for his place, is he good enough though?

I have never been entirely sure what Ned's best position is, his pace from right back is clearly a good asset, but his technical ability is somewhat lacking and his distribution has always let him down.  Not to say there aren't flashes of ability, the goal he scored for Sunderland against Chelsea was sublime.  At centreback his distribution is less important, but in this modern day players in all areas are expected to be comfortable on the ball, and that is never the impression that I get from the defender.

I suppose one defense of Onuoha could be his injury record, up until this season he has never managed a run of games in a settled team.  He has been permanently hampered by niggling injuries and clearly these will have impeded his development, I am not claiming he is up there with Paul Lake in the 'What Could Have Been' stakes, but I think he would definitely have been a better player than he is.

The other thing that should be addressed is how likely is he to get games, if we assume that Jerome Boateng will be shown the exit door after his recent outburst, we currently have Kompany, Lescott, Toure, Boyata, Richards and Wabara who are all capable of playing at the heart of the defense.  I suppose if you argue that we are best to loan out Wabara and Boyata for a season then there are still 4 players comfortable playing in the centre of the defence, does that leave any room for Onuoha?  Then imagine if we sign a new defender as has been widely reported, opportunities seem limited.

With the upcoming Financial Fair Play rules we need to be bringing in as much money as we can, and the sale of the speedy defender would probably bring us about £5million and that is money that could be extremely useful.  Another key issue it would be important to remember is his attitude towards Roberto Mancini, he said some pretty damning things when he first moved to Sunderland and we shouldn't forget that.

Obviously a lot of us would love to see him stay at the club, he is home grown, he loves the club and he shows passion, but does that make up for a slight lack of ability.  Onuoha is a top half of the table defender, but he isn't a top 4 defender.  I will hold my hands up and say I am impressed with this show of determination, but it doesn't get away from the fact that I just don't feel there is room for him at the club, nor do I feel he is good enough.

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