Saturday, 9 June 2007

Like Father, Like Sons

I was leafing through the paper this morning and came across the following article. It's an interesting article about two possible stars of West Ham's future.

Like father, like son as Rob's boy wonders look the part
By Paul Fielder

Just because a footballer has a famous dad it doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to reach the same heights. But if the evidence so far is anything to go by, Rob Lee could be outdone by both his boys.

Oliver, 15, and Elliot, 12, are making an impression at one of their dad’s former clubs, West Ham, with the elder having already played for the reserves at a younger age than his footballing father. "He keeps telling me that I never did it, so he’s got one up on me," said Rob, who was capped 21 times by England. He keeps ribbing me about it. It’s fantastic, he came on for the last 15 minutes. I spoke to Steve Brown, the West Ham reserve-team manager with whom I used to play at Charlton, and he said he did very well and didn’t look out of place. He’s only 15 so he’s making good strides, but there’s a long way to go yet."

Attacking midfielder Oliver has just signed a two-year scholarship at West Ham, while Elliot, a centre-forward, has been with the club since he was seven and is a natural finisher despite his tender years. Rob said: "Elliot’s been there a long time but Oliver was a late starter. He’s about to leave school, but he’s got his scholarship so we’re very pleased with him. Ninety-nine per cent of young boys and girls these days want to be footballers, but he’s taking his first small step really. West Ham are really pleased with both of them. Oliver’s a tall athletic midfielder player. He passes well and can get about the pitch and score the odd goal and, as a midfielder, he’ll be the one that’s compared to me the most."

Rob enjoyed his best period at Newcastle where he played in Kevin Keegan’s free-flowing side that thrived on the goals of Alan Shearer. The former Newcastle team-mates are still great friends and Rob sees something of the legendary England striker in his son. Rob said: "Elliot’s doing very well. He’s just a natural goalscorer. He reminds me a lot of Alan Shearer. Alan gives both of them advice and rates Elliot highly, but Elliot’s favourite player is Wayne Rooney. He plays similar to Rooney, in that he is strong and holds the ball up and he’s got a knack of being in the right place at the right time, which is a very hard thing to do. If he runs into the box 10 times, then eight times out of 10 the ball’s going to come to him. When I used to do that it used to be two times out of 10!"

For all the talent the boys possess, both have a long way to go if they are to avoid the trap of being another footballer’s son to have failed to live up to a famous name. The list of those who have fallen short include Gavin Strachan, Darren Ferguson, Alex Bruce, Kevin Bond, Paul Dalglish, Danny Greaves, Kaspar Schmeichel, Stephen Clemence and Jonathan Gould. Rob is well aware of the potential pitfalls ahead. He said: "It [sons emulating dads] doesn’t happen often. There’s very few, with Frank Lampard being the prime example. Jamie Redknapp is another, but I can’t remember his dad Harry as a player too much — he’ll probably dispute that. Harry will probably think that he’s better than Jamie. "But Frank’s the obvious one who comes to mind, his dad was a good player but Frank has turned himself into a world-class player."

I can testify to the ability of the brothers Lee, having played against both Oliver and Elliot at our weekly five-a-side sessions in South Ockendon in Essex on a Monday night. Unstoppable when in full flight, Oliver packs plenty of power in both feet while having as many tricks as Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, while in 15 years of our regular five-as-sides, no one has come close to matching Elliot’s outstanding haul of 17 goals in one game a couple of months ago. The following week, Rob was due to turn out but he failed to show up. The relief of the bunch of thirty- and fortysomethings that the former England international wasn’t going to torment us was short-lived, however, when Elliot stepped in to fill his boots. "They love it, especially Oliver, because he’s got the skill and enjoys nut-megging people," said Rob. "Elliot’s not bothered about nutmegs and taking the mickey out of players, all he’s worried about is scoring goals. They love playing over there. They enjoy it, I enjoy it and all the lads enjoy it."

Rob had better watch out as, in the not-too-distant future, despite his 21 England caps, he could be just the third best player in his own home.

No comments:


Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari