City famously had six players on the pitch in England’s last England qualifier, with the prospect of another five on offer tonight. The most remarkable of these might be Joleon Lescott at centre-back.
The reason for this surprise is Joleon’s inability to get a game in his preferred position at club level. So far this season he has been used as cover for Aleksandar Kolarov and Wayne Bridge at left back.
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oncerns about Mark Hughes:
Man management – One thing we quickly learnt last year was Hughes didn’t have the samba style to win over our Brazilian contingent. A pre-season boot camp (which was noticably less rigorously enforced this year) is his preferred method for bonding. In fairness, he does inspire loyalty from some, notably Ireland and Bellamy, and respect from others. Bellamy in particular has always played his best football under his fellow Welshman.
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A place in the top six may have been the target that Khaldoon Al Mubarak officially set at the start of the Summer, but there’s little doubt the new signings are aiming higher. At his unveiling today, Joleon Lescott spoke along similar lines:
“The money doesn’t mean anything to the players – we just want to be part of something successful here.
“Everyone outside top four are aiming for the same thing. I think Man City are better equipped to do that quicker than Everton and that’s why I’m here.”
The controversy around the move isn’t something Lescott sought, but inevitably he was questioned about Moyes’ criticism of him.
“I was disappointed in the comments.”
“I feel they were inaccurate. I’d like to address them at a later date and talk more positively about my move.”
“I don’t think I disrespected any of the players – if I did I apologise.”
“Now I’m looking forward to doing my all for Man City.”
A delighted Hughes talked up his new signing:
“Joleon it arguably the best centre-half in the Premier League and can be for many years to come. He was key to what we were trying to do.
“I was really keen to bring him here and we’re looking forward to many years together.”
I’m not sure many others would agree he is quite that good, however he should give balance and added strength to our defence. It remains to be seen if Lescott looks as good in a Hughes team that often gets stretched, as he did in the compact and disciplined defence which Moyes employs.
His goalscoring prowess at set pieces may also be hard to replicate away from an Everton side that had a far greater emphasis on that side of the game. It would be a welcome change if City could consistently deliver dangerous crosses from dead ball situations.
Overall, Lescott could prove a crucial signing in a position that has never been properly filled since Sylvain Distin parted for Pompey. Added solidity at the back could be just what we need to make a serious challenge for the top four – this season!
Interview with Joleon Lescott
Last night the left-sided centre-half Mark Hughes has been craving all Summer was finally confirmed as a City player. The 27 year-old England international signed a five-year deal, which is standard for deals of this size.
After agreement with Everton was confirmed on Sunday, there was a delay which appeared similar to that in the Adebayor deal. It’s part of modern football at this level that agents, player representatives, dealmakers – call them what you will, all strive hard to maximise their cut at this time. A frustrating and messy business for all the main parties, but one that doesn’t usually stop a deal going through as that would leave such people with nothing. After seeing the sums made by Kia Joorabchian, and the wealth of City’s owners, it would hardly be surprising if people were trying to squeeze as much out of the club as possible.
Lescott will today take part in his first training session with the club. It will be interesting to see if he makes his debut in the Carling Cup game at Crystal Palace on Thursday night, or against Portsmouth on Sunday. In the past, Hughes has had few qualms about putting players in at the deep end, and with speculation about Richard Dunne’s future at the club intensifying, I don’t think we’ll have to wait long to see Lescott in a City shirt.
With the signing of Sylvinho, there seems little doubt that Lescott will be taking up his strongest position as left-sided centre-back. The right-footed Nedum Onuoha ought to be battling Kolo Toure for a place, though Nedum showed himself to be more than capable on the left in the second half of last season.
On completion of the deal, Mark Hughes said:
“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Joleon to Manchester City. He is an England international who has proved his Premier League ability during his time at Everton.”
“In bringing Joleon to the Club I feel we have recruited a defender of the very highest quality. He can play in a number of defensive positions, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m positive he will make a significant impact for us.”
“I’m over the moon to get the move completed, and I’m looking forward to training with the lads as I’ve not trained for a few days.”
“I know some of the lads already – I’m close friends with Shaun, we’ve played against each other since we were 16 or 17. The way this club is moving on, I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.”
Joleon Lescott’s Wikipedia profile