Lee and Davies outshine Redknapp's recruits
Bolton Wanderers 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Monday 05 October 2009
Gary Megson's latest low budget discovery is the rather fine South Korean winger Lee Chung-Yong – a "Park Ji-Sung with skills" as someone memorably described him on Saturday night but not a player who popped up on YouTube, the Bolton manager confirmed, with his usual excellent line in self-deprecation. "We did it properly. We Googled him."
Of course, Megson's assistant Alan Harper went to Seoul to see the livewire, whose efforts against Tottenham left him flat out in the Bolton dressing room as Megson spoke. But the £2.2m investment was still a gamble. "You are going to make more mistakes when you do that than if you spend the money Tottenham have and buy in players at £20m. Then you are getting the ready-made article," Megson reflected.
The manager's critics seem to think that Johan Elmander is the only player Megson has ever signed but his bargains speak for themselves and Fabio Capello, who was present here, can thank him for picking up Gary Cahill from the fringes of Aston Villa's squad for £5m and developing him into a serious international proposition.
How Harry Redknapp must be cursing his recent decision not to make his move for the 23-year-old, whose unhurried presence neutralised the threat of Peter Crouch. "He's a terrific centre-half and I was interested a little while ago," Redknapp said. "I think he's signed a new contract so that's the end of that. He won't cost what he did before now." Cahill might reasonably expect his chance from Capello over the next few weeks, with World Cup qualification providing the chance to experiment.
If only Kevin Davies, a player whose failure to challenge Emile Heskey has been baffling over the past few years, could draw Capello's eye. "People might look at him and think he's not England [material], that's he not fashionable," Redknapp reflected. "But he's a proper centre-forward. I first watched him at Chesterfield. He just knows how to play, he backs into people, he uses his body, he a really good centre-forward."
Capello recently asked Megson about both Cahill and Davies but Redknapp's suggestion that Davies won't fit into a passing side did the player grave disservice. To go with the brave header which restored Bolton's lead was some exquisite interplay. Davies has just learnt to live with the preconceptions. "There were a couple of stages last season when England named expanded squads but I was not used even when there were six or seven strikers missing," he said. "If there are that many people ahead of you in the pecking order there is no point in worrying too much about it."
Crouch, who is one of those "many people" will not have ascended any higher up the order after his three second-half chances came to nothing. It took Croatians Niko Kranjcar and Vedran Corluka to secure a draw for Tottenham, who were behind after three minutes to Ricardo Gardner's stabbed shot. Justice was not served for an impressive Bolton who still seek a home win. But that, as Davies will attest, is football.
Bolton Wanderers (4-1-4-1): Jaaskelainen; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel; Muamba; Lee (Klasnic, 87), Gardner, Cohen, Taylor (M Davies, 80); K Davies. Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Steinsson, McCann, Robinson, Shittu, M Davies.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Cudicini; Corluka, Huddlestone, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Kranjcar; Keane (Defoe, 67), Crouch. Substitutes not used: Gomes (gk), Hutton, Bale, Bentley, Naughton, Dawson.
Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).
Booked: Bolton Cohen, Muamba; Spurs Jenas, Corluka.
Man of the match: K Davies.
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