If there’s one thing I hate, its crowning a up and coming young player with the title “the next..” or “the new…”. It happens in every sport, and Steve Kean declaring he has the “New Steven Gerrard” growing up in his club (Blackburn) has really got me mad. Can’t we wait for players to actually retire before we start branding the new “them”?
For NBA fans, it used to be the next Magic Johnson with every tall point guard or playmaker coming out of college (remember Steve Smith?) and later on and ever since – The next Michael Jordan. Not to mention every white player compared to Larry Bird. Well in football it isn’t any different. Every no.10 type player in Argentina gets the Maradona treatment. In Brazil its Pele. In Germany it used to be a Kaiser kind of thing.
Well, Steven Gerrard, past his peak, no doubt, but still not retired and actually about to make his debut this weekend for Liverpool in 2011-2012, doesn’t need an heir, not yet. One of the best players in the Premier League and Europe from 2001 to 2009 has been off his game the past two seasons. In 2009-2010 it was mostly general depression on the pitch, plus the rough summer due to his tangles with the law. In 2010-2011 it began with the Hodgson depression and then continued with the usual injury problems that hurt the legendary no. 8 every now and then. Itchy groin.
While having a Steven Gerrard on your side, healthy, is always a nice addition to your squad. At 16? I’m not too sure. And that’s what Kean has. He’s building for the future, praising the Wenger way (which has kinda gone bankrupt, hasn’t it?), talking about how he made Phil Jones the 20 million man he has become (tough negotiations can do wonders for the price of a player). For now, Blackburn are dead last, with only one point in four matches.
Kean’s policies and belief in youngsters, despite the aspirations, declarations of a top half table finish and the new owners’ hope to create a mini empire out the side, for now the biggest news are of fans planning to protest before tomorrow’s match against Arsenal.