Kevin McNaughton is probably the most overlooked player in the history of the Championship. He has at least three songs that the Cardiff City faithful blast out at every opportunity both at home and away games. The Cardiff City unsung hero has also recently surpassed 200 games for the club.
Signed by then manager Dave Jones in 2006 from SPL outfit Aberdeen, he has been a prominent figure throughout his time at the club. He has been absolutely instrumental to the clubs level of performance since he arrived. He can play anywhere in the back four and the Cardiff fans are guaranteed to know that his match level will stay the same.
The 29 year old grey haired defender is fast becoming a legend on the terraces of the Cardiff City Stadium with his never say die attitude and unbelievable engine. This resulted in him winning the club’s Player of the Year for the 2010/2011 season. Whenever he loses the ball he always strives to win it back which also brings the best out of his teammates. His consistent level of performance both home and away has not gone unnoticed from even the most cynical fan or pundit alike. If Cardiff had eleven of him in the 2010/2011 season they would have gone up as champions!
Malky Mackay has commented freely on the level of consistency from McNaughton since he has been manager of the club and has certainly brought in players such as Aron Gunnarsson, Don Cowie, Joe Mason and Filip Kiss who all fit the McNaughton bill in terms of temperament, character and work ethic. Mackay issued McNaughton with a more attacking full back role since joining the club, something which McNaughton has admitted will take him time to adapt to, as previous manager Dave Jones used a more rigid and defensive approach. This licence from Mackay for him to go forward will enhance Cardiff’s chances to score more freely and maybe McNaughton can add to his only bad point since being at Cardiff City, a goals tally which currently stands at 1 – although it was a sensational 20 yard strike in January 2008 against Hereford in the FA Cup.
How hasn’t he had more international caps?
McNaughton has made just four senior appearances for Scotland, the last coming in May 2008 against the Czech Republic. Scotland manager Craig Levein has picked defenders such as Blackburn’s Grant Hanley and Liverpool’s Danny Wilson who are both squad players at best. Nothing against these players, they just don’t play week in week out whereas McNaughton regularly racks up thirty plus games a season for Cardiff. Congratulations are due to Gary MacKenzie of MK Dons, who has recently been called up for the friendly against Cyprus, but he even plays at a lower level than McNaughton.
One thing Cardiff fans are all definitely happy about is that ‘Super Kev’ is under contract and part of something great at the club. If bigger teams from the Premier League don’t take an interest as well as Craig Levein and Scotland, it will certainly benefit Cardiff in the long term as he will always be appreciated in South Wales whenever he puts on the jersey of Cardiff City.
Written by Richard Blake, We Are Going Up’s Cardiff City Blogger
Richard tweets at @RichJBlake