Football: That was the weekend that was: Forgotten man... Face of the future

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The Independent Online
Eddie Newton

Birmingham City

SQUEEZED OUT by the influx of foreign talent at Chelsea, the midfielder Ruud Gullit once rated on a par with Paul Ince in his prime ended nine years at Stamford Bridge with a free transfer to Birmingham last summer. It looked just the chance for the 27-year-old former England Under-21 international to kick-start his career but he arrived at St Andrew's short of fitness and is still waiting to establish himself. Has made only two starts in the First Division and none since October.

Matthew Spring

Luton Town

THE ESSEX-BORN midfielder turned 20 only last month but is already into his second full season as a first-team regular at Kenilworth Road. Town's Player of the Year for 1998-99, Spring's combination of tenacious tackling and accurate, intelligent passing has not gone unnoticed elsewhere and First Division promotion contenders Ipswich Town are reckoned to be particularly keen. The Hatters, though, will want at least pounds 1m if they are to let him go.