Josh Wright

Strength of the Football League: Nicky Maynard

In Football on March 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Nicky Maynard's 09-10 Goal of the Season against QPR

The Football League is more than often ignored as a source of talent for the English game however in reality the case in completely the opposite. The second, third and fourth tiers of the game in England have provided large numbers of top class players involved in the Premier League and judging by the talent available this is likely to continue into the next few years.  This is the first in a series of articles with regards to the depth of talent in the Football League, and in this instance the player in question is Bristol City’s young striker Nicky Maynard.

At 24 Maynard is approaching the prime of his career; however his achievements seemingly suggest that he is already in the most successful period of his career. In the 2009-10 season Maynard scored 20 Championship goals, more than the likes of Andy Carroll, Michael Chopra and Charlie Adam. Maynard’s strike against QPR, a goal of the highest calibre that involved a flicked turn under pressure on the edge of the box and volley into the top corner of the net, was later won the Mitre Goal of the Year award at the Football League Awards. This season Maynard has suffered serious a serious knee injury which prevented his season from starting until February, however at the time of writing Maynard has scored 3 goals from 5 starts, rejuvenating an under-performing Bristol City and leading them away from the relegation zone. Rumours have also been circulated linking Maynard with a host of Premier League clubs, including the likes of Liverpool and Everton, however some question whether the player could deal with the step up in talent.

Maynard’s career began at Crew Alexandra, under the stewardship of the one of the Football’s League’s most respected managers in Dario Gradi. It is undeniable that the talents of one of the best managers at this level of football greatly aided Maynard in the early years of his career, and a goal return of 32 goals in 59 appearances, followed by becoming Bristol City’s record signing at £2.25 million in the summer of 2008, showed how highly the player was rated. The step up to the Championship, as has been said, has been successful, with a host of goals and awards. Statistically Maynard looks as if he could make the step up to the highest level however what differentiates him from multitudes of other goal scorers is the nature of his goals. Maynard very rarely scores simple or lucky goals; the majority of his goals are spectacular to say the least. If Maynard is not scoring high quality long range efforts such as those against QPR and Newcastle United last year, the player gets into intelligent positions, scoring intelligent goals such as the ones he has scored following his return from injury.  The striker is also blessed with that asset that all defenders fear, pace, and this pace combined with the skill and intelligence he possesses currently makes him the complete center forward at his current level of the game. Can Maynard successfully make the step up when successful individuals such as Michael Chopra have failed? The answer to this question can only be answered if the rumoured moves take place, however as a Football League fan I will be hoping for a few more years of Maynard, as the talent his possesses is a pleasure to watch.

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