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Everton Wean Supreme

Rooney is best kid in England - now with Faddy they have got best kid in Scotland

By David Mccarthy,Daily Record — Sep 2, 2003

EVERTON supporters are in danger of being spoiled rotten after the last-gasp transfer rush.
Not only have they been able to swoon over the best young player English football has produced in years - yesterday Wayne Rooney was joined at Goodison by the boy who has been tagged the most exciting talent to emerge from Scotland in a decade.

James McFadden finally won his big money move away from Motherwell and the prospect of him teaming up with Rooney on the blue half of Merseyside will make Davie Moyes' outfit one of the most watchable outfits in the Premiership.

Greg Strong thinks so. And this is a man who should know.

Strong, one of 19 players who was sacked by Motherwell 14 months ago and is still waiting to be recompensed, was delighted to hear his former club raked in £1.5million for the sale of McFadden.

Perhaps now the Englishman will get some of the cash he is due, but Strong was thrilled for another reason - he believes McFadden has worked his socks off to earn the right to performon the biggest stage of all.

And he believes that given time, the cocky 20-year-old will be a sensation in the Premiership.

Centre-back Strong, now at Hull City, was the player who made way for McFadden on the day he made his debut as a substitute for Motherwell in a less than auspicious 3-0 defeat by Dundee at Fir Park.

But Strong knew even as he was shaking the eager kid's hand, that irrespective of the result that day, a star was being born.
He said: ``I remember that match. It was played around Christmas time and it was a tousy affair.

``We had a player sent off andwe lost but James came on for me as we were chasing the game and he came close twice.

``I knew then that he could handle the Scottish game but, to be honest, I felt that even before he made his debut.

``I had watched him in training and you could see he had a special talent. I know that when players get big moves people always say that kind of thing, but in James' case it was true.

``He had all the tricks but, more importantly, had the confidence to use them on the pitch as well as the training ground.

``Some players can freeze when it's the real thing but there was never a chance of that happening to James.

``He knew he could play and he had a confidence that bordered on arrogance when he went on the pitch. I don't think that's a bad thing for a player.

``I know he's been touted for a move for alongtimeandthathehasmadethe breakthrough into the Scotland set-up but nothing seems to have fazed him.
``He's been under a lot of pressure in Scotland but you'd never know it from his performances.

``Now he's got to prove himself in England but David Moyes is a good manager and I am sure he will give James the time he needs.

``I don't think he'll be an overnight sensation but when he beds in he will be a very good player for them.

``They've already got Wayne Rooney but I think James can make people sit up and pay attention to him as well. The Everton fans are in for a treat with those two boys on the pitch.''

Motherwell manager Terry Butcher was gutted to lose his most talented player right on the English transfer deadline.
But he was realistic enough to acknowledge that in Motherwell's precarious financial position, the club could not turn down an offer of £1.5m.

Butcher is hoping that the Fir Park club, by nurturing Faddy's talent so carefully, have shown they can be trusted to give young players the best possible grounding in the game.

That, he hopes, will encourage others with the same dreams as McFadden to choose Motherwell for their footballing apprenticeship. Butcher said: ``We regret losing James but he is a great player and great guy.

``This also shows that Motherwell has done a tremendous job in developing young players whocangraduate to the Scottish Premier League and English Premiership quite early in their careers.

``Any parent whose son is thinking of a career in football could not start off at a better place.''

That is looking to the future. The immediate reality is that Butcher has lost a special talent.

So, too, has the SPL and it is a pity that neither half of the Old Firm made a serious attempt to keep McFadden in the country, even if Celtic did make a ridiculous move to take him on loan.

Strong added: ``I can't understand why Celtic or Rangers didn't go for James.

``He is a very talented boyand surely it would have been better for the Scottish game if he could have been kept up there.''


James McFadden Factfile:

1983: Born April 14, Glasgow.

2000: Makes first-team debut for Motherwell as a substitute in a 3-0 defeat at home to Dundee on Boxing Day.

2001: Scores first goal for Motherwell in 3-2 win over Aberdeen at Fir Park.

2002: May - Makes Scotland debut as a substitute against South Africa in Hong Kong. Misses flight home from Far East after night out in Hong Kong where he ``slept in'', but not at the team hotel.

August - Begins run of 10 yellow cards in 18 games for Well to spark fears over temperament.

2003: January - Sent off for first time in career in 2-2draw withPartick Thistle.

April - Puts Motherwell 2-1 ahead with a fantastic goal in Tennent's Scottish Cup Final before Rangers eventually run out 4-3 winners.

May - Scores first hat-trick for Well in final day 6-2 win over Livingston but Fir Park club still finish bottom of the table.

September 1 - After several failed bids from Preston and a cheeky year-long loan offer from Celtic, Everton manager David Moyes succeeds in buying the 20-year-old.


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