Could Hesketh Be The Saviour In The New Year ? Wednesday, 31st Oct 2018 09:30
Jake Hesketh was so far down the pecking order in the summer that he was sent out on loan to Burton Albion in League 1, but suddenly he is starting to get noticed, could he be worth a recall in January.
It's hard to believe but Jake Hesketh made his Premier League debut and subsequently his only Premier League appearances almost 4 years ago when Ronald Koeman gave him his debut back in December 2014 against Manchester United, a few days later and he was in the Starting line up at Burnley, although this debut would be cut short early by injury.
It would be injury that would blight his progress but two years ago he scored against Crystal Palace in the League cup run that would eventually lead to Wembley, but this was literally the last we would see of him, injury again cropping up.
This season is perhaps a crucial one, in that the 22 year old really has to make his mark, if not at St Mary's then perhaps somewhere else, given his undoubted talent it was perhaps surprising that when he went out on loan it was to a League One club in Burton Albion rather than a Championship club as some of his contemporaries such as Harrison Reed etc.
Indeed few Saints fans perhaps registered were he was this season until suddenly he popped u at Fratton Park to score a goal that was reminiscent of Matt Le Tissier in is prime, beating several players in a mazy run before smashing the ball home from a tight angle.
Last night he scored again to help Burton put out near neighbours Nottingham Forest in the League cup and suddenly the local media and indeed the Saints fans pages on social media are proclaiming that he could be the saviour of the club, that would probably need to be postponed to the New Year at least, most loan deals tend to have clauses inserted so that the player can't be snatched back at a crucial time leaving his temporary club in the lurch.
I liked Jake Hesketh as a player in the few times I saw him, but let's get realistic here, scoring against lower league teams such as Portsmouth is a long way from the Premier League and with Hesketh having less than an hour's playing time in the top division in his career and indeed only 15 games on his CV so far, most of them for Burton, it is a bit early to start hailing him as the next big thing.
But in our current predicament it is easy for Saints supporters to look for a saviour, but it has to be said despite his undoubted talent as he approaches 23 injuries accepted he hasn't shown enough for Saints to think he was going to make the breakthrough this season and at the present time 2 goals for Burton Albion in 8 League games and another 3 in the League cup is not a goals per game ratio that makes him stand out, at least not yet.
So better for him to stay at Burton in the meantime and let him finally get some meaningful game time in competitive games, we should monitor his progress slowly, one swallow does not make a summer and a goal at Fratton Park is not a goal at Old Trafford.
So to answer the question, could Hesketh be the saviour in the New Year ? of course he could, but the odds are against it, Hesketh is a flare player, if this season pans out like the last one then it isn't the flare players that will be needed it is the grafters, but then again he does seem to have a spark about him that we are lacking in a creative sense, so although I'm not holding my breath just yet, stranger things have happened.
I remember the likes of Moran and Danny Wallace when they started. I know it’s different times but their youthful enthusiasm and energy lifted the team which included greats like Keegan and Channon. I feel our club has been missing this over the last few years. Hesketh needed to bulk up a little but he has the skills. Until we blood the players like Hesketh and Reed within our own squad, we are going to look and feel like a stale loaf of bread.. Gallagher can’t be any worse than Long and Austin..
I have to agree that the slack defensive qualities are self evident in the lower league, given that much time I reckon even Long could get on the score sheet. Sadly, I don't think Hesketh has the physical attributes to play at a higher level but, on the other hand, Reed looks as though he could become the player many of us hoped he might be.
I still maintain the club has completely lost its way. I’ve given up believing this squad is PL quality because if it was I don’t three successive managers would have struggled with it. We have too many overpaid underperformers. Maybe the likes of Hesketh, Reed and Gallagher are the answer. What I don’t understand is how there is not more talent coming through from the youth team. If you think about it back when we had the likes of Bale, Walcott, Chamberlain, Lallana and Shaw every parent across the country with a half talented youngster wanted to get them into Southampton to see them blossom as these youngsters did. Given that time period you would expect a number of youth team players to be coming of age now, so why isn’t this the case?
I’d still like to believe we can pull off a massive overhaul of the current failing regime and start over playing exciting football under a decent coach and find another multi-billionaire to replace the current crook we have from China.
My view is that the club has over-indulged in trying to build its infrastructure and that our failure to blood young, talented players like Hesketh smacks a little of "we know best". The club has been trying for a number of years now to replicate the 'big clubs' and I think this has led to an over-reliance on foreign and domestic imports, backed up by flawed statistical analysis. This breeds a fatalistic, unimaginative approach to team management.
I accept that the EPL has indeed changed over the years, but I remember many examples of successful teams which blooded a mixture or experienced players and trainees in the name of team structure and spirit (not to mention club identity and supporter satisfaction). Sometimes these young players had technical flaws, but the impact on the team was greater than the sum of the parts. Alex Ferguson did this all the time and frequently played young players who often didn't go on to great things - because he knew that a club and team mentality was a vital ingredient.
Some recent examples of the club thinking a bit above itself/forgetting reality/its roots: - failure to play Martin Caceres for half a season because they believe he couldn't keep up with the EPL, despiet a huge CB crisis. Look at his subsequent World Cup... - persistent and unrealistic attempts to secure the likes of Tachel or Emerai as 1st team manager - links with a host of Champions League players such as Bonnucci, Alcacer or even Quincy Promes who are highly unlikely to sign for the club, yet much more likely to use our interest as leverage for discussions elsewhere - not so much as emailing Matt Targett when he was on loan at Fulham last year to see how he was getting on - perennial use of the same substitutes, none of whom could be characterised as flair players or able to change a match's course eg two CB's on the bench for our last game
It all suggests a lack of imagination or real belief that the club can do something remarkable like Leicester, or just different to the modern landscape. Meanwhile, other fans and other clubs/the press have noticed - which is why someone recently wrote an article titled, 'What is the Point of SFC Anymore?'
They have only 1 goal scorer (Ings), who needs a big partner but somehow that doesn't even warrant giving Gallagher (a player Pochettino loved btw) ten minutes here or there. They have no No.10 to feed the ball to Gabbiadini, but Hesketh doesn't get so much as a minute, Bertrand and Cedric are the first names on the team sheet no matter what they do, despite the fact that each has a young deputy in the shape of Targett or Valery who are mostly unused; and Reed and Sims must be close to despair at their lack of chances. Slattery, anyone?
I would argue that this arrogance/insecurity even extends to some of the players that they don't sign: After all, why bother with the excellent, proven EPL player Ben Gibson, when you can spend a fortune on a foreign import like Vestergaard who is now 4th choice CB?!
Sorry. Rant over. But i'd rather go back to being the underdog who is everybody's second team and mostly lose, than I would follow a club which seems to be just going through the motions...
"Hesketh is a flare player". Is he indeed - well, he certainly lit up Burton-on-Trent last night. He was arguably the best player on show and that goal - how many of our current first team has that skill? Nobody I've seen.
"Saviour" might be a bit strong, but certainly Jake has put together a good run of games for Burton and netted a couple of classy goals. To be realistic there is a big difference in levels but at the same time Burton do seem to be playing better as a unit.
It's still October , but if we see Jake starring in more games with assists or goals, he would be in a good position to get some game time - if he were to come back earlier.
However, coming back from loan doesn't guarantee anything , as we see with Matt Targett and Sam Gallagher, who find it tough make the first team bench , let alone get minutes in the Prem.
"Encouraging - certainly YES, but there are still 2 months till The New Year.
I think Nick has a very good point with this question about Hesketh - which is actually proven by some very good answers in the comment section. SaintBrock´s response is not one of those. I really miss the days where our team had a good segment of homegrown players in the match squad EVERY week. It means a lot to team spirit, fans and not least the development of those very players in question. I like Hesketh and wellcome him back sooner rather than later.
Both Jake H. and Harry Reed are making a showing at their loan clubs, whereas Alfie Jones is suffering in his stint with St.Mirren (currently) bottom end of SPL, but tough luck on Sam McQueen who got ACL injury at Boro that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
These lads were the best of the (U23) bunch last season, but it remains to be seen if their loan spells will bring them closer to real Prem game time. As was pointed out at Fans Meeting..any youngster looking to come into the side will most likely have to replace an international player in order to get game time. Long term ..Jake looks a good prospect.