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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

He Should Do Well: David N'Gog (Liverpool)

Excuse our indifference but we’ve been through this before. 

No matter how hyped up the transfer of David N’Gog is, it is hard to get excited.  Any flattery lavished on the French sounds far too similar to the praise devoted to the likes of Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama Pongolle before they joined.

Both were ultimately disappointments at Anfield, even if Sinama Pongolle subsequently re-discovered his form in Spain kicking off arguments that a longer stay at Liverpool would have seen him do likewise in England.  A similar fate awaits David N’Gog, or at least that is the over-riding feeling.  That he is seen as blocking the path of two young strikers already at the club, Daniel Pacheco and Kristian Nemeth, hasn’t done him any favours either.

Those reasons, along with the expectation about the much more keenly anticipated potential signing of Robbie Keane, have watered down the excitement that traditionally accompanies any transfer, especially as it keeps getting highlighted that N’Gog only scored one goal in nineteen league appearances for Paris St. Germain and that he is the cousin of Jean Alain Boumsong, with the tacit implication being that he isn’t any good.

As if a player of his age –nineteen - could be expected to have featured more prominently or scored more proficiently.   In Paris, his path to the first team was blocked by club legend Pedro Pauleta and French international striker Peguy Luyindula.  Add to this the disastrous season endured by PSG where they only managed to avoid relegation on the last day of the campaign and you start getting a feel as to why N’Gog was used relatively sparingly and why he failed to score more regularly.

It certainly isn’t because of any lack of talent.  Those who have likened him to Nicholas Anelka (and Thierry Henry) didn’t have to tax the originality department that much seeing that his main characteristics are speed, technique and ability with the ball.

In particular it is the first element of those three that immediately catches attention.  It is also why often he was used on the side of midfield, using his acceleration to get behind defences.  It is not a tactic that is alien at Anfield, seeing that it was exactly the ploy adopted for Ryan Babbel throughout most of last season.

A similar period of marginalization possibly awaits N’Gog as well until he adjusts better to English football.  At least for him there isn’t the risk of being called up to the French Olympic team which increases the potential for an early debut, even though N’Gog has already been at the heart of an international conflict.

The son of a Cameroonian father and a French mother, he was strongly courted by the Cameronian national team in order play at senior level but eventually opted for France as have many others before him.  Within the country there is also the feeling that it is a question of time before N’Gog does make it to the national team, such is his potential and quality of play that he often puts on show for the French junior sides.

The trick now is getting Liverpool fans to have the same belief in him.

COMMENTS

magnumopus

Good article for those who wish to be pessimistic!

Anon

I wholeheartedly agree. Am sick of so-called fans getting on the backs of players they haven't even seen play just because they haven't read the name in the press as the next big thing. That's what scouting youngsters is all about, you buy them before they're known. If Ngog is anything like Pacheco and Nemeth, then we could have a very fine player in a year or two.

Bill

Yes he's French but give the guy a chance, personally I'd have given him a few months in the reserves to get used to the English style of play and to toughen him up a bit. But hey what do I know. saying all that we've got to get a good one from France sooner or later

Psg Fan

good article

I am a Paris St Germain supporter and N'Gog was considered as the most skilled among our young players, with record amount of goals scored for youth category, both with PSG and Youth french national teams . This player already caught the attention of Arsene Wenger last year at the Emirat Cup as a very interesting player for the future. But the coach of PSG last season did not really give him the chance to show, even though the few brides of games he played did not enlight what was expected. With the lack of confidence for his coach, N'gog decided to refuse to extend his contract and left PSG with no other solution than transfer him.

I think Liverpool has made a smart bet with this player, who still has work to do but has all the skills to become a good player, specially if he earn confidence.

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