Half-Term Roker Report Cards (Part 1)

This was due for half way through the season. I know we're slightly ahead of that now, but there was a fair few matchday things that needed doing! Anyway, we've given a little report card for every player in the SAFC squad (Apart from Blair Adams & Adam Reed, who I've never seen play yet). Do you agree with us?

1. Craig Gordon
Craig has greatly improved after a shaky start. Injury didn’t help, but upon his return he was still a bit shaky. I think he’s now back in top form, and I’m happy for him to continue as No.1 for the rest of the season and beyond. Grade: B

2. Phil Bardsley
Phil has surprised me more than any other player this season. Going in to the year, I couldn’t stand him and found him a waste of space. However, Phil has been OUTSTANDING since his move to left back, and he’s one of the first names on the team sheet. Phil’s attitude has never been a question mark. It’s always been his ability, and he’s finally starting to show some, apart from when shooting. Please for the love of God stop that please Phil. Grade: B

3. Kieran Richardson
At the start of the year, we had high hopes for Kieran at left-back. So did Brucey, enough so to give him the No.3 shirt. However it’s simply not worked out. Kieran has been eclipsed as a left-back by an out of position right-back. Since then he’s been moved to a more central position in midfield, and his form has been shocking. It’s not littered with mistakes, it’s that he doesn’t add anything to the team. He’s just "there". He doesn’t break up play, he doesn’t get forward with any real bite. His passing leaves a lot to be desired, and hasn’t looked dangerous from a set play for nearly 2 years. It’s time for Kieran to seriously get his backside into gear, or leave the club. Grade: D

4. Michael Turner
Turner is a bit like Bardsley, in that his form has been very good to the surprise of many. Seems to have eliminated some of his previous problems like the long ball and slow turning ability, and has forged a superb partnership with Titus Bramble. Big miss at the moment whilst injured, and I hope he’s back soon. Grade: C

5. John Mensah
John The Rock, as he’d like to be known, John The Crock to everyone else. I genuinely believe he’s one of the best defenders in the Premiership... when fit. And that’s the caveat, he rarely is 100%. Nobody reads the game like he does, and his lack of pace isn’t of concern because of this. Apparently we have a clause in the loan to buy him when he reaches a certain amount of games. From my standpoint, I kind of hope he doesn’t make it. He’s great, but I’d rather have a settled back 4, than Mensah in every now and then. I can’t see him being content on the bench. Great form this season though, when he’s actually played. Grade: B

6. Lee Cattermole
Lee’s season has been incredibly up and down. Started off being made captain, a few sendings off later, people questioning whether he should still be at the club, never mind remain captain. Bruce himself said he considered taking the captaincy away from him, but Cattermole obviously pleaded for one more chance, and Bruce has been repaid well for his loyalty. Cattermole has, for my money, been one of our most important players of the season since he got his tackling under control. Note tackling, and not aggression. Some, if not all, of his red cards have been through his own stupidity, not maliciousness. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with him in recent weeks, and I only hope it continues. Grade: B

7. Bolo Zenden
Zenden is a fantastic player to have around the club. We’ve an incredibly young team, and his experience is vital to pass on to them. He’s also fantastic to have around because he’s still bloody good, and is pushing for a starting berth ahead of the likes of Richardson. I’ve enjoyed him being here in what could be his final season. I’d love it if he stayed around to coach. Grade: C

8. Steed Malbranque
Steeeeeeed. What can we say about Steed? All the problems of previous years are still there. I’ll start on the positive though, Bruce started the season with him behind Bent in a 5 man midfield, and he was actually pretty impressive for a while. However the same problems persist, and for all his flicks and tricks, his final ball leaves a lot to be desired. No more than a fill in/squad player now, and has rightly found himself on the bench the last few months. Grade: D

9. Fraizer Campbell
Fraizer has been unfortunately injured all season, but it looks like he could be back sooner rather than later. It was excellent to see him doing some light training before the Bolton match on the pitch with the lads, and when he comes back he’ll be like a new signing. Luckily with Welbeck, Gyan and Bent, there’s no need to rush him. Grade: N/A

10. Jordan Henderson
Jordan hasn’t surprised me at all. He plays beyond his years. His vision, craft and creativity is something else when you consider he’s still only 20. The best thing is, he’s just going to get better and better with experience. I can understand Bruce’s frustrations in that he wants to give the lad a rest, but he can’t as he’s simply too good and too important to the team. He’s been brilliant for large parts of the season, but definitely needs a rest. Grade: B

11. Darren Bent
Darren Bent will always score goals when give the chance. Always. Any type of goal, any ground, any situation. The man is lethal, and for that reason alone cannot be dropped. However, it is very difficult when he’s just back from injury, and we’ve Welbeck & Gyan flying to justify his place in the team. That said, I think we missed him when he sat out a few games with injury, and it’s great to see him back, if only for depth at the position. A mixed half a campaign for Darren, but I think he’ll be scoring again soon. Grade: C

12. Marcos Angeleri
Like 95% of supporters, I fear this guy is a complete dud. Steve Bruce can keep telling us about him in training "He’s looking good" etc, but actions speak louder than words, and he can’t be doing that good to be continually over looked. We know very little about the lad other than he came with a good reputation. Erm, what else is there about Angeleri? Great hair I suppose. Grade: D

14. Paulo Da Silva
As discussed between me and Kevin McCauley on this very website, it looks like the end of the road for Paulo. He’s never fit in, and looked fairly clumsy in the limited action he’s seen this season. Zaragoza and Cruz Azul are lurking for his signature, and I’d happily wave goodbye to him. Grade: D

Stay tuned for Part Two coming tomorrow on Roker Report...

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