Hard work – you get what you put it

At the halfway stage of this topsy-turvy Premier League season one of the themes to take away is that hard work is certainly paying off. This might seem pretty obvious and the least fans expect from players earning vast fortunes each week but the success or Leicester City and the struggles of Chelsea have bought effort, desire and commitment to the fore this season. Here are a few examples of players who’ve always put in 100% for their team.

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Mauricio Pochettino – Future England Manager?

The highlight of last November’s England international matches against Spain and France was the debuts of Eric Dier and Dele Alli. Despite a 2-0 defeat against the 2010 World Cup winners in Alicante both Tottenham Hotspur youngsters came off the bench to make win their first international caps. Four days later both made their first starts for the Three Lions in a sombre 2-0 win over France at Wembley. Alli capped his performance with a superbly taken goal past his Spurs teammate Hugo Lloris. The North London side were well represented with Harry Kane, Kyle Walker and Ryan Mason also included in the England squad. With this young, vibrant Tottenham squad progressing well is it possible Mauricio Pochettino could be a candidate to succeed Roy Hodgson when the current incumbent moves on?

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Transfer tales: Kevin Doyle and Shane Long – Reading

Reading have had great success in the 21st century with bargain signing; Nicky Shorey from Leyton Orient for £25,000 in 2001, made over 250 for the Royals and represented England on two occasions and was the first Reading player to be capped by England since Herbert Smith in 1907. Or Dave Kitson, bought for £150,000 from Cambridge in 2003, scored over 50 goals for the club, helped secure promotion to the top flight for the first time in the club’s history before being sold to Stoke City for £5.5million. However, in my opinion, the greatest transfer in Reading’s history has been that of Kevin Doyle.

Doyle and Long
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2nd Season Syndrome

It is a common theory in football that the second season can be tough. The original success of the previous campaign can quickly seem a distant memory. The opposition has figured out the team’s style of play which was initially an unknown quantity taking more illustrious opponents by surprise. Pressure from the fans to relive the glories of the past can overwhelm the team with confidence visibly draining from the whole club.

You can read last year’s review of the blogs first season here. Now see how the potentially dreaded second season panned out…

writer
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