Pompey Target Josh Sims !
Friday, 11th Jun 2021 09:36
Josh Sims has always been a fans favourite at St Mary's even though he has not played that many games, but will he still be as popular with the Saints supporters if he makes the short trip along the M27 from Southampton to Portsmouth.
Josh Sims became the forgotten man at St Mary's after a first season when he burst on to the first team scene with a 1st minute assist for Charlie Austin in a 1-0 win over Everton back in November 2016 and followed that up with a great run and pin point pass for Shane Long to score the goal at Anfield that finally made the two leg League Cup semi final safe and sent Saints to Wembley.
At this point he seemed to have the world at his feet and Saints fans were expecting great things.
But as he leaves the club at the end of his contract almost 5 years later it has not quite worked out and that debut would be one of only 4 Premier League starts that he would make in his career at St Mary's and in total he would play only those 4 starts plus another 16 appearances as sub along with 4 starts and one sub appearance in other competitions.
After Claude Puel left he fell out of favour with both Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes and when Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived he was out on loan at Reading where he was unable to force his way into their Championship side and at times even their matchday squad ending with the loan spell being cut short in January 2019 and his return to St Mary's.
Ralph didn't discard him without a chance, he played him in 7 Premier League matches, 5 as sub and the 2 starts being half of his total appearances in the starting XI in the Premier League for the club so no one can accuse Ralph Hasenhuttl of not giving him a chance.
In hindsight his return to the club mirrored his initial start in many respects, he excelled on his debut for Ralph coming on at half time against Spurs and his attacking running resulting in two late goals for Saints overturning the visitors half time lead.
But that was as good as it got, if he thought that he might have a future at the club under Ralph he was wrong and the following season he was cast into a strange loan move to New York Red Bulls where he could only play 8 games before the season ended and then he had to return to St Mary's in November 2919 and train without being able to play in the first team before returning to New York in February for pre season, he managed two games before the season was abandoned due to the Corona Virus.
In the season just gone he spent it with Doncaster starting 20 games plus another 10 as sub in the League One campaign and scoring just one goal.
An outsider looking at the stats would perhaps surmise that he had found his level and they could perhaps be right, undoubtedly he has the ability to turn it on from time to time, but three managers have had him in their squad and none have used him extensively, only perhaps Claude Puel seeing him as one for the future.
They will of course have seen him on a day to day basis and see the weaknesses in his game, his finishing ability perhaps being the main one, there are those that even now would say they would prefer Sims to Nathan Redmond, but Redmond's scoring record and also assists still trumps Sims even in this season and that perhaps tells you something.
I had truly hoped that Josh Sims would succeed at Southampton, but if I'm brutally honest he didn't show the consistency that is needed at the highest level, he has the talent, but to be a Premier league player you need to do it every week not just every now and then, yes there have been the highlights I have mentioned, but they are just three or four games and the other 20 or so are forgotten, people will remember Everton but not his start against Newcastle in 2019 where he was taken off at half time.
This is not to rubbish the player or his ability, just to emphasise the point that as much as we might like some players and hate others, the ones we like are not always as good as is needed, at Southampton we love a flier down the wing and that can often flatter to deceive.
But for me Josh Sims will always be remembered for that goal at Anfield where his run and pass left Shane Long through on goal and he didn't miss.
So what now for Sims ?
Doncaster Rovers where he spent last season on loan seemed keen to sign him and that seemed to be his destination, but they have said they cannot afford Sims wages and now look to be out of the picture.
Sims will be hoping to attract some interest from the Championship, but in the meantime another lower division club has shown an interest, Portsmouth are a club who unlike Doncaster who have spent some time in the Championship, go into this coming season celebrating their 10th consecutive season in the lower half of the league system.
To put that into perspective there is no one still at school who will remember Pompey as a Championship club let alone one who played in the Premier League.
But they still have ambition and they are looking at bringing in Josh Sims and it has been reported that Pompey head coach Danny Cowley has made enquiries about taking Sims to Fratton park.
It would be a shame if Sims did sign for Pompey , as it would mean a lot of good will from the Saints fans would evaporate, if he went to any other club we as a supporter base would be willing him on to succeed and looking for the results of his new employers and hoping that he would go on to perhaps play in the Premier League again, but if he went to Pompey that would of course be impossible to do.
But Josh Sims is a professional footballer and he has to do what is best for his own career and that means getting the best club he can and the best salary.
So I still wish him all the best in his career whether it is at Fratton park of anywhere else, I like many others will just be able to do so with a lot more pleasure and interest if it is "Anywhere Else"
Photo: Action Images
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