One On One with: Jeremie Aliadiere

At 16 years of age, he turned heads at the elite Clairefontaine academy with his technical ability on the ball and his pure number 9 movement off of it. Fortunately for him, among those impressed was Arsene Wenger, the genius French football mind who was currently assembling his dream squad that would go on to become the undisputed ‘Invincibles’ of England. Wenger soon put the young Frenchman- who had trouble getting permission for this from his parents- on a plane to the UK.

What followed was a 6-year long career at Arsenal where he found Wenger to be a father figure, and earned himself a rare ‘Invincibles’ Premier League medal. Jeremie was among the Ruling Masters of England in 2002/3. As his career progressed, Jeremie saw it all. He found himself lifting trophies, as well as fall from glory; but only to get back up stronger and have the season of his life in his beloved France. From debunking transfer speculations in his prime to waiting for the phone to ring on bad days, from struggling around a star studded line up to coping with the trauma that is life after football, Jeremie Aliadiere opens up in an exceptional interview with us at Back Of The Net. Enjoy!

Backofthenet: Let’s start from the very beginning, you trained at the world-renowned INF Clairefontaine Academy, which has produced the likes of Thierry Henry, and more recently, Kylian Mbappe. How important do you think the academy turned out to be in molding you into a professional footballer? Would things have gone differently if you attended another academy?

Jeremie Aliadiere: Clairefontaine Academy was the best pre formation I could have ever had as everything was based on technical abilities. We were training every day for 2 hours which helped me so much to develop as a boy as well. I had to leave home at the age of 13 so I had to grow up very quickly.

Clairefontaine Academy, France

Clairefontaine Academy, France

BOTN: You have said that at the tender age of 16, after signing for Arsenal, you moved in to your own five-bedroom house in Southgate. Things were definitely looking good off the field for you. Do you think that level of independence and luxury at such a young age impacted you positively? What did you learn from those experiences?

JA: I moved from France at 16 to a country where I didn’t speak the language so my parents weren’t gonna let me go to the UK unless my grandparents moved with me. They stayed for 6 months but found it very tough and went back. After that I lived on my own. It has only impacted me in a good way I think as I had to become an adult at a very early age and quickly. Yes I have made mistakes but learned from them and moved on in my life and my career.

BOTN: During your early years at Arsenal, you had three fairly disappointing loan moves including one to Celtic under Gordon Strachan. What happened during that time and why do you believe Strachan never gave you the opportunity you needed?

JA: I wouldn’t say the Wolves move was disappointing as I played every game for 4 months for a great manager and man Glenn Hoddle. As for Celtic unfortunately Strachan had a lot of belief in me until they signed a Polish striker in middle of August (editors note: Maciej Zurawski). From then he said to me I wasn’t going to start games as I was only on loan so I didn’t see the point of staying at a club  where I wasn’t going to get more playing time than i would at Arsenal. So I left before the end of the summer transfer window to West Ham.

BOTN: Only a handful of players in the world can claim the honor of being called an ‘Invincible’. You were part of the Arsenal Invincibles squad of 2003-4. How does it feel to be part of such an elite group? Do you often reminisce about the golden days?

JA: Yes I always think about it as I realize what an achievement it is. At the time I did feel quite frustrated as I wanted to play more but now that I have retired, I realize how amazing it was to be part of that squad of incredible players.

Aliadiere lifts the Premier League trophy as part of the "Invincibles" (Image from Aliadiere's Instagram)

Aliadiere lifts the Premier League trophy as part of the “Invincibles” (Image from Aliadiere’s Instagram)

BOTN: Henry, Bergkamp, Nwankwo Kanu, Sylvain Wiltord and Francis Jeffers were already in the squad when you signed as a striker for Arsenal. Competing for the same position as these already established players, did you ever feel intimidated, or unsure about your own abilities?

JA: Yes, from the beginning I always thought it was pretty impossible for me to get ahead of those guys and I did feel intimidated and didn’t believe in my own abilities.

BOTN: In a recent interview, you called Dennis Bergkamp the ‘smartest’ player you have shared the field with. How do you think training with him changed your perspective of the game or impacted your style of play?

JA: Before joining Arsenal I was always focused on scoring goals but after watching Dennis play, I realized you could enjoy yourself by playing for the team and the other players; creating space for your teammates. He was always one step ahead of everyone else, he saw things before everyone else and was a very clever player.

The legendary Dennis Bergkamp (Image from Tumblr)

The legendary Dennis Bergkamp (Image from Tumblr)

BOTN: Eventually you left Arsenal and moved to Middlesbrough under Gareth Southgate. It was a turbulent time for the club who were very much in transition following some success under Steve McLaren. What do you remember about that time? 

JA: I will always be grateful to Middlesbrough and Southgate as they gave me that opportunity to be part of a starting eleven in a top club in the Premier League. Yes it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t the same football I was used to but I have learned so much and the fans were amazing.

BOTN: Are you surprised to see how well Southgate is doing as England manager?

JA: i’m not surprised at all with the progress and how well Southgate has done. He was so motivated, clever and smart. I knew he was going to make it at the top.

BOTN: You experienced relegation with Middlesbrough in 2009 which resulted in Gareth Southgate getting sacked and Gordon Strachan being appointed. Given what had happened at Celtic previously in your career, what were your emotions when you learned that Strachan had got the job? Did you feel that you had to move clubs?

JA: When Strachan got the job at ‘Boro, I must say I wasn’t over the moon but thought I would wait and see how things were going to go but he was great to me. From the first day he came in, he said to me he was counting on me so I was very happy and did my best even when I had injuries.

Jeremie Aliadiere at Middlesborough (Image from Tumblr)

Jeremie Aliadiere at Middlesborough (Image from Tumblr)

BOTN: A return to France followed with a move to Lorient. You had some of your best seasons for Lorient, where you were a leading striker in a competitive top tier team. What do you think was the reason behind this top spell in the French league?

JA: It’s very simple. I was at the lowest of my career, after spent one year without a club and wasn’t sure I was going play football at the top level again so when Lorient call me I had nothing to lose. Gourcuff gave me back the joy of playing football. Lorient is such a family club and that was what I needed. A family club with a great coach who knows my quality and was going to give me the opportunity to enjoy playing football the way I’ve always like to play football.

BOTN: At Arsenal and at Lorient, you played under two magnificent managers in Arsene Wenger and Christian Gourcuff. Both have unique and distinctive styles. What impact did both managers have on your career? Are there specific things that they did to get the best out of you?

JA: They are both very similar in some ways and both want to play football in an attractive way. Wenger was like a dad to me as I was so young when I joined Arsenal and gave me my chance at the highest level. Gourcuff saved my career and I will always be so grateful to him and Lorient. He believed in me when nobody else did and he made me realize that you achieved great things by being disciplined and tactically organized.

Father figure - Jeremie with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (image from Aliadiere's instagram)

Father figure – Jeremie with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (image from Aliadiere’s instagram)

BOTN: During your career, you have played for a club who have won various titles and for clubs fighting relegation. How would you assess the differences in the dressing room morale in those situations? Are players more determined to win when they are considered underdogs, or as defending champions?

JA: I think it’s much tougher to play against relegation without a doubt. You play with the clubs survival and know that you could impact on so many people lifes. When you play for the title, you go into certain games with so much confidence that you feel that you have won the game before it started.

BOTN: Your career was often troubled with injuries. How did you try to stay positive during the long, aching periods of recovery before you were allowed to play again? How important is it to have a supportive family behind you during these times?

JA: I have had many big injuries in my career but I have always thought I couldn’t give up. What else was I going to do? Football is my life; that’s all have done since I was 6 so whatever happened I was always going to carry on and fight to come back. My family has always been very supportive and behind me. You do realize when times are hard who Is there for you. Not many people are when the phone isn’t ringing but that’s life.

BOTN: During several interviews, you have opened up about life after football and all the struggles that come with it. What advice would you give to young footballers still in their prime years, such that the end to their careers is more fulfilling? Do you think enough is being done to help footballers prepare for life after retirement?

JA: I would tell them to start preparing what they would like to do after their career is over even if they have a lot of money and don’t need to work. The hardest thing is from one day to the other the change a way of life. Football is a way of life with everything that comes with it. When you lived for 25 years like that it’s very hard to change.

Aliadiere tears his cruciate ligament against Man Utd in the Community Shield in Wales (Image from Aliadiere's Instagram)

Aliadiere tears his cruciate ligament against Man Utd in the Community Shield in Wales (Image from Aliadiere’s Instagram)

BOTN: Finally some fans questions if we may. What advice would you give your younger self? Would you like to have played your career in reverse and end it at Arsenal?

JA: I would tell him to believe in himself more and not to care so much about what other people think.

BOTN: You have a tattoo of the Algerian flag and could have played for them at one stage. You were also close to being called up for the French National team at Lorient. Were you reluctant to play for Algeria as you felt that the French call up might happen?

JA: I could have played for Algeria but didn’t feel I was close enough to the country for me to play for them. I do regret it now as it would have been a great experience. As for France, I was going to get called up once but was a bit injured so couldn’t go.

BOTN: How close did you come to signing for Newcastle in the 2013 January transfer window? Why did that deal fall through?

JA: I wasn’t close at all. I never spoke to Newcastle at that time. It was all press speculation.

BOTN: Finally, you have played in Qatar with Umm Salal SC. Do you think that Qatar will be able to host a successful World Cup in 2022?

JA: Yes I do believe it will be a successful World Cup. It’s a great country with amazing people. They will want impress the rest of world and they can do it so trust me they will do everything in their power to make it a very successful event.

Interview by Sairam Hussian Miran, Special correspondent for Back Of The Net. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Jeremie on Instagram.

Remembering the Immense Ugo Ehiogu

Immense. Not a word used often in football but it has been used several times in the last twenty four hours to describe Ugo Ehiogu who has sadly passed away after suffering a heart attack. The former Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and England defender was 44. As usual, Ehiogu was going through his preparations on Thursday as Spurs Under 23’s coach at the clubs training ground when he collapsed. He received immediate treatment from staff at the facility before being transferred to hospital. He died early Friday morning. He is survived by his wife and two kids.

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Until his death, Ugo had been in charge of Tottenham’s under 23’s (Image from Tumblr)

Best known for his time wearing the claret and blue strip of Aston Villa, Ugochuku (Ugo) Ehiogu  actually made his start at West Brom as a trainee before eventually forcing his way into the first team in 1989. He would only play twice for the Baggies before Ron Atkinson came calling and a move to Aston Villa was agreed. Atkinson was impressed by the youngsters power and immense frame and earmarked him as one for the future. It would take Ehiogu almost three seasons to prove to Atkinson that he was the right partner for Paul McGrath at the heart of the defence replacing Shaun Teale but he eventually got his way and never looked back. Over a nine year spell with the club, Ugo would rack up over 300 appearances helping Aston Villa win the League Cup in the 1995-1996 season. His performances over that time also earned him an England call up and a debut substitute appearance against China in 1996 replacing Tony Adams. It would be one of only four appearances for England for Ugo but he did manage to score against Spain in his final appearance in 2001.

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The defender was loved by the Villa faithful (Image from Tumblr)

By that time Ehiogu was playing for Middlesbrough following a record breaking £8m move. Whilst injury ultimately hampered his time at the Riverside, he did manage to forge a successful partnership with Gareth Southgate, a player who he had previously played alongside at Aston  Villa years earlier. With Ugo and Gareth at the heart of their defence and the fantastic trio of Boudewijn Zenden, Gaizka Mendieta and Juninho ahead of them, Middlesbrough stormed to the League Cup final in 2006 where they faced an equally impressive Bolton. Under Sam Allardyce, Bolton had amassed a collection of world class players including Jay Jay Okacha, Ivan Campo and Youri Djorkaeff but it wouldn’t be enough to break down a resilient Middlesbrough who won the game thanks to goals from Joseph Desire Job and Zenden.

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Ugo, alongside defensive partner Southgate, lifts the Cup for Middlesbrough (Image from Tumblr)

Upon his release by Middlesbrough in January 2007, Ugo joined Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. Despite only playing a handful of games for the Ibrox club due to manager Walter Smith favouring Davie Weir and Carlos Cuellar ahead of him, he will forever be in the memory of the Rangers fans mostly due to scoring the winning goal, a spectacular overhead kick  in an Old Firm derby game against Celtic only two months after arriving at the club. He would eventually leave Rangers to join Sheffield United on a free after just one year but Ugo’s injury problems followed and after just one full season at the Blades, Ehiogu called time on his playing career.

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Ugo’s stunning over head kick against Celtic (Image from Tumblr)

Tottenham, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough have all confirmed that they intent to honour Ehiogu this weekend before their respective matches with his other clubs Rangers, West Brom and Sheffield United also likely to follow suit.  Tributes from those who played with Ugo have spoken about what a great guy he was and an immense player. Ugo’s former chairman at Middlesbrough Steve Gibson spoke about the influence Ehiogu had over a part of the clubs rich history.

“Ugo was one of our heroes at Cardiff when the club won its only ever major trophy, “said Boro chairman Steve Gibson. “Ugo and Gareth Southgate were the rock on which Steve McClaren brought the club its best period in its history. He wasn’t just a good footballer, he was a great man.”

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England Fail Again As Calls For Rethink Grow Louder

Most England fans will remember or at least have heard about the events of July 30th 1966 when Bobby Moore famously led England to its first and so far only World Cup triumph. However few England fans will be able to recall what happened almost thirty years later on July 25th 1993. That was the last time that an England side at either under 18, under 19, under 21 or senior level won an international tournament. That day, with a squad that contained the likes of Sol Campbell, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Robbie Fowler, England beat Turkey by a single goal (a penalty by Darren Caskey) to lift the UEFA European Under 18 Championship trophy. Twenty two years later, England are still looking for their next trophy after being dumped out of this years Under 21’s European Championships at the group stage. Gareth Southgate’s side finished bottom of their group after two defeats and a win in yet another disappointing tournament for English fans.

England's 1993 winning team (Image from AFP)

England’s 1993 winning team (Image from AFP)

England entered the tournament as a strong contender with a talented squad at their disposal. With Tottenham’s 30 goal a season striker Harry Kane leading the line, Southampton’s James Ward Prowse in midfielder and Everton’s John Stones solidifying the defence in front of the ever reliable Jack Butland in-goal, England should have at least progressed beyond the group to the knockout stage. But defeat in their opening game to Portugal left Southgate’s side with a mountain to climb. They appeared to be back on track with a nervy 1-0 win over Sweden, with substitute Jesse Lingard striking with five minutes to go but going into the final game against Italy, England looked disheveled and unorganized. What followed was a mauling at the hands of a less than convincing Italy side despite England having the majority of possession and a greater volume of shots. A brace from Torino’s Marco Benassi and one from Andrea Belotti had already sealed the win before Nathan Redmond grabbed a late consolation goal. The result in the end was good for no one with neither side progressing to the knockout stages after Portugal and Sweden drew in their final match and both advanced. Southgate almost immediately sprung to the defense of his team insisting that despite the team being knocked out, there was still a lot of positives in terms of the individual progress of certain players. Hardly what the England fans want to hear from one of their national managers.

There will be an inquest into what went wrong with several influential figures in English football like Harry Redknapp, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville all calling for rapid changes across the board. The first question raised is a valid one and is around selection. Whilst Southgate did select a talented group of players for this tournament, he chose to ignore other more experienced players like Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshire. The make up of his squad was primarily Championship players and fringe Premiership players with the except of Stones, Kane and his strike partner Danny Ings. For comparison, Italy fielded a squad that had between them played over 270 games in Serie A last season whilst England could only boast 130 appearances in their squad with a vast majority of them being in the Championship or below. When questioned before the tournament about his selection, Southgate spoke about being fair and loyal to the group of players that had gotten them to the Championships through qualifying. It’s a fair point but one that should be addressed by the FA with a major rethink into priorities.

Jack Wilshire could have operated in the attacking midfielder role  (Image from Getty)

Jack Wilshire could have operated in the attacking midfielder role
(Image from Getty)

If England does want to win a tournament like this one, then they should be giving themselves the greatest chance of doing so. They need to select the best squad possible with the likes of Sterling, Barkley, Chamberlain, Shaw and Wilshire going in place of others. These players should have been part of this squad from the very start, creating a nucleus that lasted not only for this tournament but beyond. The team needs to grow together and more importantly progress together through the various international stages. In 2009, Germany beat England in the final of the Under 21 Euro Championships with a squad that would largely make up the team that would lift the World Cup at senior level five years later. England needs to adopt a similar approach if its is to build a team that is capable of winning the World Cup or European Championships in the future. Winning breeds confidence and giving a team the chance to be successful at one tournament only benefits them when it comes to their next one.

England must follow Germany's example by developing teams that progress together through the ranks  (Image from Getty)

England must follow Germany’s example by developing teams that progress together through the ranks
(Image from Getty)

There also needs to be a tactical adjustment. England through all levels up to the senior team are being instructed by FA Director of Elite Development Dan Ashworth to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation but without creative midfielders in the squad, this formation simply does not work. At the under 21 level, Southgate has used this formation repeatedly forcing players like Danny Ings or Tom Carroll to operate out of position in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar attacking midfield role. This role should have been played by Rosss Barkley or Jack Wilshire, both of which are comfortable in the role and can create chances. Similarly the inclusion of a player like Raheem Sterling could have offered more width to England and presented Harry Kane up front with more chances, something he was sadly starved off during the whole tournament in the Czech Republic. Southgate’s lack of backbone and willingness to go against the FA’s wishes will no doubt cost him his job. But its far from his fault. The FA should shoulder some of the blame for appointing him in the first place instead of a more progressive manager. Their desire to appoint a yes man to the role has led to failure once again and yet another set back for England. Strangely Southgate still believes that England can win the 2022 World Cup given the quality of players coming through but in order to do so the country’s FA needs to make a fundamental decision into how much they want to win a tournament and what changes will be needed to make that happen.

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Tabloid Sensationalism Hinders Palace Manager Search

image The names listed as potential replacements for Neil Warnock in the Crystal Palace hotseat went from the sublime to the ridiculous yesterday as the tabloids desperately grapple for readership by dismissing the truth in favour of sensationalism. Neil Warnocks sacking after only four months in charge is surprisingly the Premierships first managerial change of this year and whilst not unexpected, his role looked more secure than others like Sean Dyche at Burnley or Alan Irvine at West Bromwich Albion. Even good old Harry Redknapp must have been concerned when he was summoned to Malaysia just before Christmas for a face to face with QPR owner Tony Fernandes. But in the end it was Steve Parish who was first to swing the axe after Palace edged closer towards relegation. A change needed to be made by Parish, even Warnock would admit that but who would take on such a challenge? The last time Palace found themselves in such a pickle they turned to Tony Pulis who quickly gave the team the self belief it needed and eventually rescued them from despair. He even managed to destroy Liverpool’s hopes of its first Premiership title but that is another story. Pulis would stay beyond the summer months before spectacularly leaving just before the new season under a cloud of mystery, eventually replaced by the happy go lucky Warnock. Now the search is on once again and for a tabloid industry that has been starved of managerial drama so far this season, it was the exact catalyst it need to unleashed a beast so hideous that its beyond belief. Speculation has begun with some quite remarkable stabs in the dark being made by some papers to sell extra copies.

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Former boss Pulis is an option being mentioned, a name linked to almost every opening in football as if he had now inherited the role of the messiah but a return to Palace and in particular Parish is very unlikely. In the eyes of the tabloids, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is a shoe in for the job given that he once played for the club. Granted it would seem to an outsider to be a silly move by Pardew to leave a club who could with a bit of luck be challenging for a European spot for a relegation dog fight but the tabloids are convinced its in the works. Their proof came when John Carver, Pardews assistant manager at Newcastle spoke to the media after their 3-2 win over Everton instead of Pardew himself. That was all the evidence that they needed to show that Pardew was packing his bags and about to make a sensational return to Selhurst. They even threw in a quote from the man himself who said that he would love to manage there one day. Of course given the recent departure of Warnock this quote looks to be further proof except for the fact that it was said by Pardew several years ago after he left West Ham and was looking for a job. On the same note if the Barnet (another club Pardew played for) job was up for grabs he would have probably said the same thing. Whilst he may be the dream choice for many a tabloid journalist, Palace parting with £6million to break his contract is likely to be a deterrent to this becoming a reality. Pardew will manage Palace in the future im sure but it will likely happen after he has been sacked by Newcastle and is once again proclaiming his affection for all his former clubs.

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Not likely- Pardew tipped to take over (Image from Getty)

Another strange name on the tabloid list is Hull manager Steve Bruce. Having already been in the Selhurst Park hotseat before quitting for Birmingham of all places, something that still irks a section of the home support, why Bruce would return is unknown. Yes things in recent weeks have not been going quite to plan at Hull but the club is in a somewhat stronger position that Palace given the investments made over the summer. In fact Hull have suprised many by their squad transformation. Its only a matter of time before they strat to click and play better football. So why would Bruce leave now? Unfinished business at Selhurts? Not really. The third name touted is Victor Pereira, the former FC Porto manager who seems keen to move to the Premiership sooner rather than later. But with no pedigree in the UK nor a grasp of the speed of the game especially in the Premiership, his appointment would be risky. That is if he was ever interested or could tell a jounalist where exactly Crystal Palace was in the UK anyway. Palace would be better to look elsewhere than this speculative trio.

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Will Steve Bruce make an unexpected return? (Image from Getty)

Old boys Tony Popovic or Dougie Freeman would be easier appointments than the three listed above. Or perhaps the tried and tested Chris Hughton or Steve Clarke could come in to save Palace. But none of these names sell papers or create sensational headlines. Palace fate lies in the hands of one man only, owner Steve Parish who will make the final decision on who replaces Warnock. Lets just hope he doesn’t read the tabloids.

Ledson Tipped For Greater Things Following Europa Performance

Ryan Ledson is tipped as a future star for Everton and England (Image from Getty)In the end the result matter little with Everton having already secured their passage into the knockout rounds after three wins and two draws. With the pressure removed, manager Roberto Martinez decided to rest some of his first team players in preparation for Monday’s clash with Queens Park Rangers. It also gave him the opportunity to give some of the clubs most promising youngster’s valuable playing time. Into the starting lineup came right back Tyias Browning, left back Luke Garbutt and striker Conor McAleny whilst Kieran Dowell, Gethin Jones and Chris Long all made appearances from the substitutes bench. It said a lot about Martinez approach that Long at 19 years old, was the oldest squad player on the Everton bench. And it almost paid off with his young team restricting their Russian opponents Krasnodar to only a handful of chances with only one trickling through under reserve goalkeeper Joel Robles to hand them the victory. The fans however did not leave Goodison disappointed as they were shown a glimpse into the clubs future with the unveiling of the latest youngsters from their youth system production line. They all gave a good account of themselves but one other youngster in particular stood out above all of them.

Ledson commanded the Everton midfield against Krasnodar  (Image from PA)

Ledson commanded the Everton midfield against Krasnodar
(Image from PA)

Defensive midfielder Ryan Ledson is seen by the club as one of the brightest prospects to have ever emerged at the club. He took up position at the heart of the midfield alongside seasoned veteran Gareth Barry and demonstrated exactly why the club rates him so highly. Ledson controlled the game with a maturity well beyond his 17 years and looked confident on the ball throughout. His passing both short and long was exceptional with 91% of the 56 passes he made hitting their mark whilst his superb positioning at all times help Everton to retain its shape especially when under pressure from the five man Krasnodar midfield. Having been at Everton since the age of five, Ledson is very much at home at the club and is pushing hard to get into the first team as a regular squad member. Progress has been quicker than expected with Everton keen to secure the player for the long run rather than lose him to potential suitors like Manchester City and Tottenham who have been rumoured to be interested. It would appear though that Ledson has no intentions of playing for anyone else by signing his first professional contract with Everton in August. This was swiftly followed by a first team bench appearance against Southampton, and although he didn’t make it on to the pitch it was a signal of intent by Martinez that he sees Ledson very much in his plans. England are also keen to ensure that Ledson is part of their long term plans having already watched him excel at Under 17 level. Ledson played a significant role as captain as he led the England Under 17 national team to European Championship success last season. Now very much part of Gareth Southgate’s Under 21 squad, it won’t be long until he follows in Ross Barkley’s footsteps into Roy Hodgson’s full team.

Ledson signed his first pro deal in August (Image from Getty)

Ledson signed his first pro deal in August (Image from Getty)

Before that happens, Ledson knows that he must establish himself as a regular starter at Everton. His performance against Krasnodar will go a long way to helping this transition with Roberto Martinez praising the way that he played. This won’t be the last time that we see him pull the strings for Everton at the heart of their midfield.

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