Friday, 12 August 2011

Player Review: Joleon Lescott

Joleon Lescott

D.O.B: 16/08/1982

Height: 6ft2

Position: Central Defence

Joined Club: August 2009 from Everton

Fee: £22million

Debut: 27th August 2009 v Crystal Palace

Joleon is one of those players that seems to divide the opinions of City fans, partly due to the fact that City had to pay over the odds for him at the time. That transfer saga itself but a few noses out of joint, but we'll come to that shortly.

Lescott began his career at Wolves, spending one season in the senior team before being transferred to Everton where stayed before his move to City. Joleon is possibly one of the most under-appreciated defenders in the premier league having only featured 12 times so far for England up to now and only received his full debut in September 2008, 4 months after being voted Everton's Player of the Year.

At the end of the 2008-09 season City approached Everton about buying Lescott, and Everton promptly refused. So City offered another sum, which again was rejected. This really annoyed David Moyes whose reaction fell marginally short of him jumping of a desk in a press conference screaming "Arabs tries to takes it froms us, precious."

He was often seen on Sky Sport News with his big boggley eyes bulging out of their sockets with indignation and basically accusing City of tapping up his player. And despite saying he wasn't for sale and that he "thought the world of" Lescott, when the defender handed in a transfer request to try and get things moving forward Moyes spat his dummy out and stopped him training with the first team. No not sent with the reserves, but sent to train totally on his own.  

Eventually Lescott was sold with Moyes still protesting "We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!" And for some reason I don't think he has quite got over it yet and still holds a grudge against City. It's just a feeling I get.

His time at City didn't get off to a great start, only making 18 league appearances in the 2009-10 season through a mixture of injury and the fact that Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany were the preferred defensive duo. During this time there was lots of debate as to whether Lescott would ever break into City's team and there was a definite perceived lack of confidence in him from a large section of support.

"He's too slow, not agile enough, can't tackle, a waste of money" they were saying. And this even continued into the 2010-11 season, with only a few staunch defenders who backed him over Kolo Toure. At the time Roberto Mancini also seemed reluctant to drop Kolo, but when Toure was banned for failing a drugs test his hand was forced.

That moment could be the making of the rest of Lescott's career as he almost instantly developed a great partnership with Kompany, playing on the left of the centre defence and stayed in fine form for the rest of the season. In fact, Joleon had a better tackling percentage than any other defender at City in Premier League games, and one vastly superior to that of Kolo Toure in all competitions. He also chipped in with a few goals (not always intentional but every goal counts!) and seems to be one of the few in the team who can score with his head.

At 28 years old he's just about to reach his peak and continued involvement in City's starting 11 is sure to help his international chances, especially with Terry (30) and Camel Fa.. I mean Ferdinand (32) not getting any younger. And yes, that 2-4 years does make a difference.

He still gets some flack from fans, most likely because he's not one of those stellar names or one of the poster boys, but at this moment in time there probably isn't another defender in the Premiership that could make a better partnership with Kompany. I'm not saying he's the best in the world, and yes he appears to have a turning circle that an articulated lorry would be ashamed of at times, but he's far better than a lot of football fans give him credit for.

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