FA Cup Final
I watched the game as a neutral observer until I realised David James was in goal for Portsmouth - after which I instantly became a Cardiff supporter for the night. The underdogs seemed overwhelmed by the significance of the game but I believe they could have snatched it if not for the silly goal and/or they had believed in themselves a bit more.
However, one player that clearly caught my eye was this guy whom I thought was a semi-retired veteran (due to his grey hair) - Kevin McNaughton. A Scottish player, he was cool & smooth in his play, and his first touch is quite incredible. Not to mention, his defensive play is astute, wise and decisive. With his gangly frame, his style quite reminded me of the great Ryan Giggs. Of course, it didn't help that this right-back seemed to be struggling with fatigue and a pulled muscle late into the game - which added to the impression that he was an ageing player.
Surprise, surprise, the guy is just 25 going on 26 this year and should be reaching the peak of his career. The reason that I am highlighting McNaughton is because I am confident that he will be snapped up by a Premier League club for next season. You see, over the years, I have been able to correctly 'spot' such talents and I want to use this as a documented example.
In the first soccer match that I ever watched for myself, I was impressed by Mark Hughes as he played for Man United - and scored twice (one with an overhead kick). Years later, I spotted Darren Anderton during an FA Cup game (this was before he joined Tottenham) and felt he would be snapped up. I also felt Louis Saha should have been in the Man United squad a good season before he joined from Fulham.
So let us see what the results of this 'experiment' will be and hopefully, I will not be falling flat on my face - could very well be another Robbie Savage ("...started his playing career as a trainee at Manchester United, but was released..." & "...holding the dubious distinction of being awarded the most yellow cards in his career of any Premiership player in the league's history...").
Looks like an indication of my 'talent-spotting' might be the fact that the player appeared in the picture published on the ST on Sunday as part of the match report on the FA Cup Final.