1 May 2012

Arsenal legend insists: Midfielder is not 'top draw' enough for LFC. Agree...?

With Lucas Leiva on the long-term injury list, and Steven Gerrard regularly missing through injury, Liverpool's midfield has lacked real quality this season, and this has shown in the club's league results. Jay Spearing has done a creditable job covering for Lucas, but Arsenal legend Martin Keown is not convinced that the midfielder has the quality to be a long-term solution for Liverpool.

In a recent issue of LFC Magazine, Craig Bellamy enthused about Spearing's abilities:

"There will be some players who might just miss out [on regular starts] like Jay Spearing, but when you see him in training, he's outstanding"

Reserve team coach Rodolfo Borrell is also an admirer, and after the Reserves' 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland recently, Borrell raved:

"Jay Spearing was outstanding, and the effort and attitude that he had and how he communcated with the rest of the lads was magnificent"

Arsenal legend Martin Keown clearly doesn't share their enthusiasm though. Speaking to ESPN on Sunday, the former defender specifically zeroed in on Spearing, suggesting that the young midfielder is not good enough for Liverpool's first team:

"They [Liverpool] have missed Lucas, and Spearing is not really top draw in that midfield. When Gerrard makes his runs in the cup final, going the other way will be Frank Lampard, and who's going to be dealing with that?

"There are definite concerns in the team. Liverpool are inconsistent, and that's what Kenny needs to address, you get that consistency with top players, and the quality of the players at Liverpool is not quite good enough throughout the squad".

I totally agree that the quality of the squad is 'not quite good enough' at the moment, but there Spearing is the least of Liverpool's midfield problems. He might not be the flashiest player, but Spearing has proven to be a solid understudy to Lucas, and I don't recall him making too many costly mistakes.

If you look at Spearing performances, you can see where he's having an impact; it's easy to pinpoint what he actually brings to the team. The same cannot be said of midfielders like Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing, both of whom have contributed next to nothing in the league this season.

I don't think Spearing is the long-term solution, and unfortunately for him, he'll probably never be more than a back-up player for Liverpool. The club will need better quality players to progress in the future, but Spearing definitely has an important role to play in the squad.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Is Liverpool FC good enough for Spearing?

  2. Pls send him to another team, as he not good enough for Liverpool. 

  3. Keown used the word 'draw', so I'm just replicating his quote.

  4. The problem has been that although Spearing has been doing an OK job, the fact Lucas who has been out since November has STILL made more tackles than any other Liverpool player this season shows the difference in what Lucas does to Spearing. Spearing is ok as a squad player but i do not think he should be a regular starter for Liverpool.

  5. i'd rather shelvey played. with 3 midfielders ie. gerrard, shelvey and henerson, we dont necessarily need an anchoring player because in particular shelvey and hendo have the legs to cover the ground. spearing and another completely overrated player flanagan have to go next season, and carragher as well for that matter. i wish people would stop holding onto delusions about homegrown players. we already made mistakes buying british players for way too much but theres not much can be done about that now. if rumours are true, we are looking at players like rasmus elm, gaston ramirez and luuk de jong among others and if we can get these kind of players im optimistic about next season. but seriously a lot of deadwood has to go. add cole, aqua (just because i know kk clearly doesnt want him), aurelio, adam, kuyt, maxi (even though he deserved better this season) and jones to the three local players i mentioned. a total overhaul is needed and reserves like sterling, suso, silva, morgan and coady should be in and out of the match squads (ie on the bench at least) throughout the season. progression people! downing has been hopeless but we will never recoup enough money for it to make any sense, and carroll and hendo have shown signs they have what it takes to make it regardless of the extortionate amounts we paid. we already made so many mistakes like selling insua and mavinga who could have replaced carra and aurelio perfectly as backups, but we cant do anything about that now. finally i still think pacheco can do a job for this club as many people have forgotten about him. we only need a really storng first team with youngsters like him for europa league and as backups. a bit of an essay here but theres so much wrong with lfc right now.

  6. Spearing's a very, very limited player. I know a lot of fans like him but let's forget he's Scouse for a minute and judge him on his abilities. He can't do anything particularly well and is just average. Midfield is Liverpool's weakest area. I can't believe how many average/bad midfielders are on the books. 

  7.  Pacheco has been selled mate

  8. wrong again . Henderson  does a job as a defensive midfield player better than spearing. Easily. I said this before, Henderson problem is he is poor at the moment with creative ideas.It will come with confidence and time.
    I like spearing but he is too short, covers not enough area of the fielld defensively unlike lucas who can also cover  full backs  positions. and he is too slow hence he cant stand on his  feet foe a tackle, hence you see him diving. I would  loan him out next season with a view to sell or just keep him for cup competitions,

  9. i can t believe how many moaners we ve got as fans....go 2 hell and support y mother y fu....ynwa

  10. some good points. pach should be sold, he has not stepped up/ insua cant defend and more importantly is too short and  has slow recovery when  beaten.
    agree with gerrard, shelvy and henderson. the youths should only play in the easy cup matches till they are ready to step up.

    good post

  11. im not certain about the deal, but i think atletico have an option to buy and i havent heard anything of them taking up that option yet. he is currently still loaned to rayo from atletico, but owned by lfc. i dont get it but officially hes still ours until atletico decide to buy him permenantly which im not sure if they will.

  12. Jamie you always forget to mention Adam, who is more of a liability and a worse player than henderson, downing and spearing. how can you like such a useless waste of space who gives the ball away every 10 minutes?

  13. There is no doubt that Soearing has not the quality to a top 4 team!
    But then again, who does in the midfield at present?
    Henderson has not shown the quality of a 16m player!
    Downing has been way below oar, not to mention the 20m spent on him!
    Lucas was head and shoulders above the rest! He controlled that midfield and has made the biggest impact in the midfield than any other player!
    I also believe the sending Aquilani out again was a huge mistake!
    He is extremely creative and has the the skill to create enough chances for our strikers! All in all, none of the new signings except for Bellamy have made an impact to the club!
    Enrique I think has fallen off the face of the earth and gone backwards as of late!
    If only!
    Mata instead of Downing!
    Higuain instead of Carroll!
    Erikkson instead of Henderson!
    How different the league would have been!

  14. Theycallmemrburt1:17 pm, May 01, 2012

    Jay Spearing isn't a holding midfielder.  Spearing once said 'Rafa wants me to be a defensive midfielder'. Well I once wanted my pet dog to be a monkey! When Spearing played for the reserves he played off the striker or in a play makers role.  We have tried to convert him because of his tenacity.  Steven Gerrard also has tenacity but is one of the worst holding mids I have seen as well. Spearing as he demonstrated last season plays well ALONGSIDE a defensive midfielder, but he will never have the positional sense of Lucas because our reserve team set up produces tactically inept players.  

  15. Spearing has been excellent at times this season. Excellent range of short passing, keeps it simple and can hearing talking all the time which is vital in that holding role. Jay Spearing is tactically astute so can easily do a job as squad player no doubt
    Every faith in him if he is selected saturday, all the hype over Fat Frank pissing me off!!
    KK will play Spearing and Shelvey holding central midfield and play Gerrard in front and 2 wide (Downing and Bellamy to get at Bosingwa!!)

    Oh and the same Martin Keown who claimed few weeks ago Swansea are like watching paint dry!!
    Clueless wolly who makes Keegan and Barnes sound interlectual!!
    And thats saying something!!!!!!

  16. If fans think Spearing is good, it just shows that many have accepted the decline of a once mighty club. Really, would Jay Spearing even get a look in against Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard, Molby, Souness or any of the other great players to have graced the midfield? No he wouldn't. The fact that he not only gets a look in but also has some fans convinced that he's good enough just shows how far LFC have fallen.

  17. couldn't agree more mate........ our midfield is a laughing stock compared to the rest of the top clubs... what kenny seen in henderson and charlie adam is beyond me..... i sincerely hope that charlie adam is not a liverpool player next season, he is absolutely rubbish. wee need top top players this summer, or we are in for another landslide down the table, other teams will be strengthening, and therefore we have to aswell.... only we need it alot more than the other teams do..... i think some people at the club are happy being mid table sometimes with the decisions that they make :/ 

  18. well said... charlie adam is the worst player in our first team.. absolutely shit

  19. One point I really like is that top players bring consistency to the team. Henderson, Carroll, Downing and Spearing will have a good game here and there, but they are not top players that do it consistently. In other words they will never be star players; but Carroll, Spearing and Henderson are young so they can still change that. Hopefully. 

  20. We knew that b4 Keown said it. Spearing, Henderson, Downing r average at best. The only plus point is that we have not spend any money for him like for the other two. God nearly 40 million for two average players. Sad thing is that they r there to stay cos he won't get rid of them and maybe nobody will want them. Or maybe we will have to pay somebody to take them.

  21. We have fallen behind over the past few years, mainly due to them Cowboys we had in charge. When we lost players like Alonso, Rafa didn't replace him, but spent nearly £20m on Aquilani and he hasn't had a look in. When we sold Mascherano, we was only able to spend a a fraction of the money we had on Poulsen. We have to accept that we have fallen behind and push on. Lucas has been out for a large portion of the season and we have missed him a lot, but is getting on young players back like Spearing going to help?

     It's not his fault that we haven't got as good of a squad as other sides, but he is doing a good job regardless. He may not be the best, but he has played well in near enough every game he has played for us this season. He has been one of the only players who puts 110% into his game, even when players around him are not. He deserves a lot of credit for the job he is doing. After all, he isn't the reason why we have let in stupid goals, especially since the Carling Cup final and he isn't the reason why we haven't been able to convert the vast amount of chances we have had this season. 

    He can't be made a scapegoat for the failings of others. we are rebuilding. We have stability in the Board room, we are making money off the pitch and we have made it to 2 cup finals. We aren't doing great in the League, but I would take what is happening now over what was happening just over a year ago any day. We nearly did a Rangers and we have come back from the dead. It will take time.

    looking at past Greats and the Glory days isn't going to help. We need to move and look into the Future and using those Greats as a yard stick is very unfair on the young players who are doing their best for this Club. We are not a Great side anymore so it's about time we realize that and look to push for future greatness by getting behind them, not slating them because they are not a Carbon copy of Souness, Mascherano or Alonso.

  22.  I think we must give Henderson time most times he is played out of position and besides older more experienced players often take a season to fit in.
    As far as Spearing goes not a superstar never will be but does as good a job as most of our new recruits transfer fee zilch and that is the bottom line.

  23.  For all those *If's* to work you need if only someone selse instead of kenny

  24. If I am in a group of first class players then it can be said "I am in the top-drawer" ; also if I am a top asset player that people want to come and watch then it can be said "I am a top draw" so perhaps he meant that in his quote.

  25. I think that he has the determination and ability to become a better player I mean when Lucas first came he was poo but he has improved a lot and we have missed him hugely but having said that I think that with time spearing will only ever be a good squad player

  26. In a Liverpool team of a few years back, he wouldn't have had a chance - Gerrard, Alonso and Mascharano but in this current team Spearing has played with a lot of passion and has played better than most in their positions.

    If the club signs 3 or 4 better quality players, the standard will pick up and he won't feature as much. Spearing would be a good player to have on the bench. Don't forget he's come a long way and from the academy.

  27. Fu,ck off jamie ya Pric,k

  28. Theycallmemrburt6:13 pm, May 01, 2012

    Ooops.  What Irony you spelled intellectual wrong.  It was a reasonable post up until then.  Thats kinda like bearing down on goal after beating three men and the goalkeeper and then hitting the post. lol

  29. you're all here blubbering about how bad Henderson, Spearing, Adam are all bad and praise Lucas the same guy you were criticizing now you think he's the best why don't you also give other guys the time to come good one year isn't enough for anyone to settle in a new club especially the young ones. even CR7 struggled in his first season at Man U. Sometimes you all talk as if you can play football. Give the team support instead of criticizing everyone or else look for a better club.

  30. Now this  is a good debate and one that is splitting a lot of fans in Liverpool!

    Personally I gauge a player by would they get into the rival sides teams (or even rival sides squads) as a good marker to whether they should be in the Liverpool side. Jay Spearing would not get into the Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea or Spurs SQUADS let alone team! I think sometimes we give people localish lads (Spearing from the Wirral which is over the water but still in Merseyside) an easier ride just because of that very fact.
    Also when players point they are hiding! Spearing points all the time.

    when put under pressure when he's in possession of the ball he panics and on a few occasions this year has gave away goals because of this. His heart is in the right place however he's nowhere near good enough for Liverpool!

  31. We broke Insua  contract ( took a loss ) last summer  and then he joined  Sporting Lisbon and had great season reaching Europa league semi final scoring 6 goals and 7 assists .
    We suprisingly renewed Aurelio contract for a year and yet did not play him .
    Yet , we say no back up for Enrqiue !!
    Total mismanagement .

  32. who cares about spearing, theres about 6-7 players not good enough for liverpool. worst liverpool team, as in the word TEAM i can remember.

  33. I really fail to understand why Kenny keeps starting him, our season has gone from bad to worse; so why not cut our losses and give some PROMISING youngsters a chance? Though the simple answer could be that while we do have a number of CM's on the books and due to injuries and loans he is the what is left at the bottom of the barrel. Though my comment is scathing in nature I do applaud Kenny for signing English players, in theory they wont pull an Aquilani and be utterly inept in the EPL. I think we have been genuinely unlucky this season, particularly when Carroll and Henderson - signings I was optimistic about - have been far from on firing on all cylinders. 

  34. Totally agree!
    Spearing - not good enough for the team
    Adam - not good enough for the team
    Downing - not good enough for the team
    Kuyt - not good enough for the team (any more)
    Carragher - not good enough for the team (any more)
    Hendo - we'll see, loan him out next season!
    Maxi - sell, not good enough Next season.
    Aurelio - not good enought for the team (any more)

  35. Are you serious? What a useless post. Who cares if he doesn't spell something correctly? This is da interwebz. Anyway, I disagree with that dropkick Keown and agree with skallyryan. Spearing shows alot of promise and for heaven's sake, he's a kid! Same as Hendo, same as Shelvey, Flanno and even Carroll. Just wait till next season. Not saying we're going to win, but you'll see far better performances out of these, Adam, Downing et al.

  36. But if he was 'speaking' as you've said, how can you tell since they are homophones?

    Not having a go, but if you are just transcribing what he said, then drawer is the correct one.

  37. Definitely worth a place in the squad, for endeavor alone, but shouldn't be above 3rd choice.

    Terrible tonight in particular.

  38. Theycallmemrburt5:19 am, May 02, 2012

    If your weapon of choice is to insult someone elses intellect then at least show the intellect to spell intellect correctly or it makes it seem that your intellect was the intellect being questioned.  I'm sure you are intellectual enough to understand.

    I make that 6.............

  39. You're what's wrong with the internet. Such a douche.

  40. When he had good players around him (Lucas, Gerrard, Xabi etc) he looked ok, but last night, when it was up to Spearing to get a grip of the game, he was mince. 

    Bearing in mind they were playing for Cup Final places, the only player to come out of the game with any sort of credit was Doni.

    I guess that tells you everything about the modern footballer in general. So long as they got paid, eh.................?

  41. and you're what's wrong with the nation....

  42. Joannegreenhough059:53 am, May 02, 2012

    well said mate,

  43. This is where LFC differ from the "top" clubs nowadays. The Manc clubs and Chelski have two outstanding players for every position, something Mourinho always insisted upon at Chelski. We don't have that. No back-up left back; no top quality central midfielders after Gerrard & Lucas; no top quality strikers after Suarez and er......Suarez.

  44. Mate you need your head read Henderson is a joke footballer, defensive midfielder what's he made 4 tackles all season open your eyes mate Spearing is much better than Henderson in that area. Oh by the way Jamie i have tried to change my user name three times and can not seem to do it still waiting for your reply to my e-mail.

  45. Andrew  i must say what you said about Spearing is great i too can see that he gives everything all the time he leaves it all on the oval. My only problem is that a lot of people say that we are in a rebuilding process, fine but FFS KK had 100mill to start the project and wasted it because know matter how people want to sugar coat it, Hendo, Carroll, Downing, and Adam will not be good enough to take us back to where we want to be. H could have bought three world class players for 30 mill each, a striker to partner Suarez, a midfielder  and a winger. Before people start with oh we ain't in CL who will want to come, Well money does talk this is a business they would have.

  46. leaguewinners2013/411:52 am, May 02, 2012

    Spearing does the job he is sent out there to do and this season has been one of our better and most consistent performers (alongside Skrtel and Agger). True he probably wouldnt have played as much if Lucas hadnt been injured - but the fact is he has been and the SQUAD isnt strong enough to cover such a massive loss. Yet.
    Who else 'should' have played in the middle with Gerrard and Lucas missing so many games though?
    Aquilani? DOESNT WANT TO BE HERE so reds need to get over that. Undoubted quality but no desire = liability.
    Hendo? still a bit raw to be in the middle week in week out but is very likely the long term replacement for Gerrard.
    Adam? far too slow and loses ball too often giving free kicks away all game.
    Shelvey similar to Hendo in that very raw but very talented. We have 2 quality midfielders for the future there in these 2.
    Spearing still the better of these options.

    However - Adam's form, don't forget, suffered drastically once LL got injured. Same goes for Enrique - the confidence a player can get from always having a player available for a short pass seems to be lost.

    It's unbelievable how narrow minded some 'reds' can be and how they seem to have developed short memories too. Lucas early performances were awful for a good while but he slowly got to be first name on the team sheet. Are the people slating Speo the same ones who were calling for LL to go? With LL back next season and possibly further additions I dont think he will get as much game time but he is still a very handy squad player.

    The club is in transition. We are not a great team at the moment but will always be a great club. It will take time to get back where we belong, won't happen overnight and therefore I'd still take 8th (or even 9th) and a couple of cup finals over 5th in the league.
    In fact I'd also take any trophy over being pleased at finishing 4th just to get CL football at the moment. Sure the money would be good but ultimately should we be happy at 4th league and no cups? The answer is no and to get back to challenging for and winning leagues will take time - this season was always the first step towards it.

    To those saying KD should go - you need to give your heads a wobble. The difference he has made to the club from roots up is immense. Foundations are being laid for the long term future of Liverpool Football Club by people who care about it

    The new owners are doing things the right way it would seem and will be there for the long term. Nobody will be kidded into thinking they don't want to earn money but they are sensible and are aware of the time both league and eventual continued CL success will take.

    on signings -  I think Downing will be quality long term, Adam wont be there beyond next season as things stand, Hendo will be top drawer (!) Enrique has a lot of work to do, Carroll is finding his feet, Suarez needs to be far more clinical in front of goal and also more consistent as match goers will know he has not been great - just better than the rest!
    Next signings - Adam Johnson first choice, Huntelaar or possibly Luuk de Jong with Ramirez are the attacking reinforcements. The rest of the new additions should come from within - several from Sterling, Suso, Coady, Wisdom, Ibe, Ngoo, Amoo, Morgan etc should be first team squad now. Pacheco can again do a job from the summer and I also think Joe Cole will have a role to play next year as nobody will buy him on the ridiculous wages he gets!!

    Sorry for the lecture but doom merchants do my head in!!

  47.  Spearing is an average player at best, but he's been the best midfielder we've had this season among the likes of Downing and Henderson. Both utterly useless and ridiculously expensive. Shelvey is not bad, again not the quality a club of liverpool's ambition should have. Zero creativity from these midfield this season. Fact! How can you blame Carroll or Suarez for not scoring enough then, when they are always feeding on scraps.

    We should be aiming at players the calibre of Robben and Sneidjer.

    Really disappointing season.

    When Kenny admitted he was behind the purchase of these british players ahead of cheaper and more talented european players, I lost all trust in his recruitment skills.