Please keep off the Rhodes

Rhodes

As a football fan there is no guarantee of success, you can watch your team for years and only experience very fleeting moments of actual joy and a lot of misery or in many cases just many average mid-table finishes that don’t offer either emotion. You might never see your team pick up a trophy or even reach a final and there is little in football that is guaranteed.

However one thing that every football fan will experience is that every once in a while you will witness a player who is simply a cut above the level you are watching.

At the Galpharm stadium we have had the luck to watch a few of these players in recent seasons after many barren seasons, the glorious skill of Anthony Pilkington, the speed and composure of Lee Peltier and most recently and most consistently: the lethal finishing of Jordan Rhodes.

The one thing that all these players have in common is that they have or will leave Huddersfield to play at a higher level, and the prospect of Rhodes leaving will occupy the thoughts of Huddersfield fans for the month of January.

The club have said they won’t sell, and you have to hope that this isn’t just placating the fans now before selling on the last day of the transfer window. I do have full faith in the Huddersfield board and think they will resist any offers that come their way in January, however; I do fear that they will be delaying the inevitable.

This delay is however essential as Rhodes is vital at the moment, and I would personally love to see him finish what he has started at Huddersfield and finish the season earning the club a promotion that he has worked as hard as anyone to achieve.

From day one Rhodes has been a goal-scorer and a match-winner with the predatory ability to finish the single chance he gets in a game. It became obvious very early on that we had made a bargain purchase when we bought Jordan from Ipswich, a decision that I’m sure Roy Keane and Ipswich fans regret, and within minutes of his debut Rhodes had scored.

This was the first of many, and what became obvious very early was not only was this a player with enormous ability but that he was a hardworking lad with an excellent grounding and superb work ethic. He worked hard for the team, took a physical battering from burly league one defenders, and never once did you hear him complain. This was a young man learning the game the old-fashioned way, and honing his craft as a striker.

After two seasons of goal scoring exploits there was a little talk that Crystal Palace were thinking of a bid for him as he had fallen out of favour a little last season due to Lee Clark choosing to play a lone striker.

However he didn’t leave and all the hard work paid off, always dangerous and scoring goals over the previous seasons, he’d suddenly found a different level.

After a slow start this season where Lee Novak took the headlines with some early goals, Jordan has found his scoring boots to an incredible degree. All of a sudden, he was scoring goals for fun, and he wasn’t just scoring for Town he was banging them in for Scotland under 21’s too, his hot run of form even earned him a call up for the senior squad.

Against Sheffield Wednesday, he was lethal, proving that this isn’t a flash in the pan, he has scored numerous hat-tricks and has seemingly taken every chance that has come his way.

He is arguably the best striker outside the Premier League currently, and although many clubs will try and tempt him this January, it will be of huge benefit to both the player and the club if he stays.

So often players leave a club in haste, choose the wrong move and then suddenly go from being a sought after player to an expensive benchwarmer. Jordan has a great chance now to score 40 goals in a season and also earn a promotion to put on his CV. In a promotion push, a regular goal scorer can make an enormous amount of difference, and so Huddersfield must bend over backwards to keep him happy this month.

The teams who might want him can wait and Huddersfield will not get many better chances to push for promotion with a striker who is the deadliest in the country right now.

The month is going to be an incredibly long one, but Huddersfield hold all the cards and have a truly special talent on their hands, if they hold firm, and do what so many teams have failed to do before them,  they might be celebrating hugely come May.

Written by Charlie Johnson, Charlie tweets at @footballcharlie

2 Comments

  • Jake Miller says:

    Good piece.

    From an Ipswich point of view, there are very much two schools of thought. On one hand, a lot of fans were (and still are) disappointed to have lost a player who has done very well at a lower level, but then others (myself included) who think that £850,000 + 10/15% sell on was very good business for a player who had hardly set the world alight in his few appearances in our first team.

    We also had to consider the fact that a certain Connor Wickham was going to be vying for the same place as him in the first team squad and thus we probably had to let Rhodes go. As it happens, we made so much money off the Wickham transfer that perhaps any potential underpayment for Rhodes was cancelled out.

    Ultimately, the player knows how to score goals. He isn’t particularly quick or strong and doesn’t bring much more to a game than putting the ball in the net. Does this make him a £3.5m player? Perhaps, but I’d certainly rather buy a player of Billy Sharp or Nicky Maynard’s calibre for that kind of money.

  • Andrew says:

    I was at Hillsborough and saw him put 4 past us. I obviously hope he leaves but I don’t think it will happen. I agree he’s far too good for this level. Great finisher.
    With some of the players mentioned I’m not sure how you haven’t already been promoted. Surprised you aren’t doing better this season too.

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