On this day in 2014, Gus Poyet was extolling the virtues of new on-loan signing Ricky Alvarez, with the Uruguayan manager believing his fellow South American would be able to provide the ammunition his strikers needed to find the net with greater regularity.
Despite five goals in the opening four games, none of our strikers had found the net.
Connor Wickham had been preferred to Steven Fletcher in Alvarez’s debut against Spurs, while Jozy Altidore’s presence was imminent, having been ruled out thus far with an injury sustained during the World Cup.
The first thing I said to Ricky was welcome to the Premier League because this is what it is like week in and week out. The pace, the intensity, the tackling and the up and downs mean it is non-stop. People don’t realise that from the outside, they think football is 11 against 11 on a pitch but it is a totally different game.
It depends on our team, how we play and how he adapts to us, and we also need to adapt to him, but he needs to get used to the Premier League. I am sure he is going to enjoy his time here with us and Saturday will bring plenty of positives.
Unfortunately, in the game the following Saturday’s goalless draw at Turf Moor, positives were in short supply, particularly for Alvarez, who missed the game through injury. It was to be a common theme, with the winger struggling for fitness throughout the campaign.
His start against Spurs was one of only five league starts that season – and he never managed to complete 90 minutes.
He made a further eight appearances coming off the bench, until his injury problems caught up with him and… well, we all know how that one turned out, don’t we?