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As we know, the summer & end of season is when the fans & the media love to speculate about who?s going where, who?s signing who etc etc.

Now although I wouldn?t post any of that speculation on here myself I must admit I don?t mind reading the BBC gossip column to get the best out of the rumours from the daily rags, although I would love to see their rate of getting things correct, I estimate 1 in every 30, maybe worse!!

What I am actually on here asking is for an opinion of two players we currently own already, namely Jack Rodwell & Dan Gosling. I have seen these lads play for a prolonged period only twice each for the reserves & both of them were poor games, including a mini-derby mauling, which was bloody painful to watch. In those games Rodwell actually was our only player who showed fleeting potential of maybe stepping up, whereas Gosling didn?t stand out for me at all, although in the games I mentioned it was difficult for any of our young lads to stand out.

I am basically trying to gauge opinions from anyone who has seen these in action more than myself to see if these two lads are ready to be integrated into the 1st team squad at all, I know its difficult to judge but if you don?t ask??.as the saying goes. For the record if there is blues out there who watch the reserves regularly, is there anyone else who is maybe ready for the 1st team, I have heard the names Baxter, Agard & Codling but know very little if anything about these lads.

So with all the possible transfer speculation & the ongoing Kirkby disaster still being debated, just wanted to throw a new topic out there, all answers or comments welcome? over to you shower.
John Lloyd, Liverpool     Posted 20/05/2008 at 08:44:06

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Andy Hudson
1   Posted 20/05/2008 at 14:02:36

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Good questions John... unfortunatly I can’t answer them, but wanted to state that i’ve been wondering about these players too.

I know Baxter smashed all sorts of records at youth team level... including one in a tournament that had been help by Patrick Kluivert for 20 years (or something like that). However when I read the match reports of the youth team he hardly plays or if he does he hasn’t scored since a nice little goal run in the 1st half of the season.

I’m not too concerned about players not standing out in reserve matches, its not always the best environment for people to showcase their talents, I know that Gosling was very highly rated before we signed him... I know that doesn’t mean he’ll become a good player though
Steve Ferns
2   Posted 20/05/2008 at 14:20:48

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Baxter was only 16 last February. He is still very very young. Lets keep him hushed up. From what I’ve heard, and the clips of him I have seen on he looks the real deal, if a little skinny.

I hope he can make the break through to the first team at the back end of next season (when he’ll be just 17).

Why does everyone have to come through before their 17th birthday these days and be labelled as better than Rooney to stand a chance. I’d be happy if Baxter came through at 19 as long as he was good enough in his 20s.

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for the England U16s and U17s in action this summer to see Baxter and Rodwell in action. I think there may well be a youth world cup this summer
Steve Ferns
3   Posted 20/05/2008 at 14:26:04

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John, Baxter is a clever little player. He reminds me of Jeffers in his clever running and speed of thought. But he also has Rooney type awareness of people around him and is quite good at getting involved in build up in attacking moves. He lacks the strength or power of Rooney, so no camparison there. He seems quite smal, but I’ve never stood next to him to gauge it properly. If you read about him playing for England U16 (he’s the captain - which says a lot about the type of player he is) then he’s usually man of the match.
John Dawson
4   Posted 20/05/2008 at 14:53:05

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Im surprised you missed John Paul Kissock off the list. Although i ve heard that he is quite skinny in stature, i ve also heard that he is a belter player that can pick a good pass.

He has won a couple of Man of the matches playing for doomed Gretna but hopefully the SPL will have toughened him up a bit. Arteta & Gattuso always maintained that a spell in Scotland helped them ’man up’.

Has anyone heard how close to the 1st team he is? I ve seen his name in the reserves a lot for a young lad. I remember people talking about Ossie in the same way but he took an age to break through. If he could be anywhere near and Ossie, Mikky or who knows...Gattuso (maybe not!) then we could save a bit of cash there.

Also, i lived in Swindon for a long time as an exiled blue and saw a fair bit of Lukas Jutkiewicz (excuse the spelling!) and he looked a tidy player but not sure if he will break through for us
Dave Ush
5   Posted 20/05/2008 at 16:07:36

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John Paul Kissock is a class player and will get stuck in even if he is quite slight. I also know he had a good spell up in scotland and is definately one to watch.
He usually played centre mid when i saw him and has always looked decent. I watched him 2 years ago in an under 17 match for England against France. He came on at half time and took over everything in the middle bossing players and demanding the ball despite being the youngest on the pitch.
Hopefully he?ll get his chance this year but I wouldn?t be suprised if he ended up on loan again to give him some regular 1st team football.
Steve Ferns
6   Posted 20/05/2008 at 16:59:03

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I sat through a whole Gretna game on Setanta, in anticipation of seeing a bit of JP Kissock. He came on with ten to go and Gretna already hammered. He?s got a Lion?s mane now and looks to have beefed up considerably, not the skinny kid he once was, although maybe that was just the haircut and the camera adding extra pounds!

I couldn?t really read much into that 10 minute cameo. He didn?t appear to figure much for Gretna until the end of the season, but the Gretna message boards were full of praise for him. Even the old firm were commenting on trying to get him full time for them. He must have impressed somewhat.

Rich Will
7   Posted 20/05/2008 at 19:50:44

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Kissock won?t make it at Everton I am afraid, he hasn?t progressed as expected. High hopes for both Rodwell and Baxter though
Matt Willey
8   Posted 20/05/2008 at 19:58:07

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I’m surprised not to have heard the name John Irving in this ’younglings’ thread... He is after all the Reserves captain and player of the year... Does anyone think that he could make it ?...I recall a year or so ago everyone had high hopes for Mark Hughes who was similarly rated but he ended up in L1 with Northampton..
John Lloyd
9   Posted 20/05/2008 at 20:36:23

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Some interesting stuff here lads, cheers.

To a couple of the names mentioned, Irving should of been mentioned, another who I havent seen play but some of my mates have mentioned him & with his recent accolades, may be promising.

With regards to JP Kissock, I have to agree with Rich Will, I have seen him play a few times for the reserves & for Gretna, he’s not good enough, simple as that... IMO.

Nice one for the tip off with the England youth games an that, if you are like me I’m one of them sad gets who will watch any match thats on!! ha ha, me judy is not happy but what can I say!! Cheers
Tony Part
10   Posted 20/05/2008 at 21:07:45

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The problem is that not many of the young players ever do make it at Everton anymore or mores to the point, since Rooney, we haven't brought through anything that looks to be genuinly top drawer.

A lot of people go on about Vaughan but until he can shake off the injuries that have blighted the last three years of his progress and has a full season around the team and set up, we simply wont know if he is destined to become a regular Premier League striker, I just don't like getting too carried away anymore with young players after whats happened in the past particularly with Jeffers. Careers can start great but can just as easily dwindle, remember quoting Branch as the new Fowler?? Pauline Fowler maybe.

Let's just see what happens... maybe next season one or two may break through but it still doesn't look that promising yet as to where that much of our young talent is going to come from.

Matt Willey
11   Posted 20/05/2008 at 23:01:21

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Hey Tony, I actually thought Branch could have made much more of his early promise...

Fact is, we have seen many good young players .. for example Grant and Oster in the same era, who, given different circumstances (or dare I say it - different managers), could have had sparkling careers... Oster eventually making it back to the top flight in his thirties after spending most of his career in the lower leagues or even without a club...

Leon Osman is a shining example of a player who could have easily been discarded for reasons of being too lightweight, having no pace or strength .. yet he has succeeded on sheer footballing ability.... Sure if a player is not good enough, then get rid; but sometimes the cause is a failure of coaching - not lack of ability.

Andy Crooks
12   Posted 21/05/2008 at 00:40:27

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Saw Dan Gosling before he joined us. (I was on holiday at the time, and yeah I know I need to get a life). He?s good, confident and comfortable on the ball. Friends who've seen more of him tell me we have a bargain, hope it?s true...

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