It is of course customary at this point of the year for one Everton player to be singled out for an important season ahead. Twelve months ago it was Jack Rodwell in the spotlight, and we all know how that shaped up. Fast forward to the present day and it is Victor Anichebe’s turn to be singled out.
The problem is that Victor has had potential for the past five years and clearly needs to ‘kick on’, in football parlance, as a forward with a return of 12 goals in 118 appearances does not make pleasant reading.
Admittedly some of those appearances have come on the wing and you do get the feeling that this is the position where Moyes will utilise Anichebe more often than not this forthcoming season. His strength and athleticism could, and should, be a great asset in Everton’s problem position on the right wing, his inability to beat a man doesn’t really work in his favour though.
The biggest challenge facing Anichebe though is clearly winning over the fans. Everton fans are fiercely loyal and myopic in relation to their players, yet Anichebe is the exception to the rule. It is fair to say he is rather unpopular amongst his own supporters these days.
A lot of this stems from his infamous sulk when Moyes reportedly refused to sanction a January transfer window loan move to Hull City for the forward in 2009. His decision to turn down a new contract offer in December 2010 led to Anichebe being roundly booed when he appeared as a substitute in a match against Wigan.
In fairness to Anichebe the booing stemmed from press reports that the deal he had been offered by the club was for £30,000 per week. Given the economic climate and Anichebe’s injury record the reaction was understandable to a degree, however, the sum involved was quickly denied by the player himself, unfortunately the silence from the club was deafening, as it normally is in these situations. You can’t help but feel that he was left out to dry somewhat.
The other side of the coin though is that Anichebe doesn’t always help himself with his onfield demeanour. A factor clearly not lost on Evertonians. If you give your all in a Royal Blue shirt then the fans will take to you, if you drift in and out of games and appear generally uninterested and dare I say it, lazy, then your card is marked I’m afraid. Consequently he has a lot of hard work ahead of him, and not just on the field.
Moyes clearly has a lot of faith in the Nigerian international, it really is time for Victor Anichebe to start repaying that faith and finally make his mark before all that undoubted potential goes to waste.
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