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Monday, January 09, 2006

De Vries effort will long live in the memory

I have only seen Mark De Vries play once before Sunday evening. This was in an FA Cup defeat at Ewood Park last season. I remember thinking that he was similar to Dion Dublin with his height and strength in the air, and that he was a useful acquisition for Leicester City.

In expectation of Spurs visiting Leicester, I thought of the prospect of De Vries troubling the young centre-backs from North London with his attributes.

But what materialised during the match blew away my highest hopes. The 100% non-stop effort and fantastic hold-up play of big De Vries was fantastic to watch, and he crowned a magnificent match with a deserved winner in the 91st minute.

De Vries phenomenal spirit and stunning display of powerful target-man play was one of the best performances I've seen from a footballer in a long time, and I'll definitely remember it for some time to come.

I love cup upsets. And a comeback from two goals down to beat a Spurs team enjoying their best season in many years is definitely a huge cup-upset. But it was also certainly deserved given the commitment, desire and quality shown by each one of Leicester's players.

A special note should go to the Islington-born, Arsenal player Ryan Smith who is a left winger with huge potential. He is only 19 and yet has already had cruciate ligament damage in his fledgling career. I had looked forward to seeing how he's progressing, and I thought his dribbling skills and crosses during the match were excellent.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

De Vries does indeed have the potential to be a great target man, but as Craig Levein has noted his tactic of competing with defenders usually ends with a free-kick to the defending team during Championship matches.

Ryan Smith is already a crowd favourite at Leicester, it's just a shame we can't keep him! He will no doubt progress well as he gains more experience, but I'm not convinced he's good enough to break in to the Arsenal team. When you compare him with someone like Aaron Lennon I'm not sure he's quite good enough.

1/09/2006 1:11 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

He is very much a battlehorse, is the Dutchman, along the lines of Anon's (1.11PM) comment including Craig Levein's words. De Vries and Leicester showed that the David v Goliath caution is ever more present in these competitions. Torquay were bottom of League Two yet held Birmingham off and almost won the game, and Nuneaton could have had two penalties via Southgate, much less one and now go to The Riverside. Millwall are struggling in the Championship but almost snatched victory against Everton until Leon Osman's equaliser, it's the kind of pedigree in the game that makes for excellent entertainment (for the neutrals at least) and provides for an almost equal platform for both sides, regardless of league position.


1/09/2006 1:58 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanx Anon. I hope the victory yesterday kick-starts Leicester's season in the Championship.

I'm happy to hear that Ryan Smith is being received well by Leicester supporters. I agree that Aaron Lennon currently looks on a highly level due to his awesome pace and good crossing ability. Nonetheless, I saw signs from Smith - including a good measure of pass - that are the hallmarks of the Arsenal style and personally I feel with more progression he can be a good member of the AFC squad.

Wenger gave him his first team debut at 16yrs, which is an indication of the hopes he has for Smith. As noted above, he has suffered from injury setbacks in the last two seasons- so the main thing for him this season is to remain injury free and gain valuable first-team experience at Leicester.

I ditto your comments Redsman!

1/09/2006 10:55 pm


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