By Arun Nair – (@Nair_39)
While Liverpool remain firmly encompassed in a battle for Champions League football next term, 24 year old Jay Spearing has been plying his trade at Bolton Wanderers, on a season long loan from the Reds.
Brendan Rodgers praised Spearing soon after his arrival as new Liverpool manager in the summer, describing the youngster as “a very good player with great qualities” as well as having “the soul of the club in his heart.”
Spearing played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 first leg win at FC Gomel, came on in the return leg, and started the narrow 1-0 victory at Hearts, but with Steven Gerrard, new signings Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin(loan), the returning Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey all ahead of him in the central midfield pecking order, opportunities seemed limited.
Amid reported interest from Premier League trio Aston Villa, Southhampton, Queens Park Rangers, as well as Wolves, Spearing ultimately joined Bolton on a season long loan on August 31st. Then Bolton manager Owen Coyle was delighted to bring Spearing to the club:
“We have been in the market for a player of this kind for a long time, and Jay is someone that we have always had an eye on,” Coyle told the club’s official website.
“He was previously never available and, indeed, played the majority of games in Liverpool’s first team last season in the Premier League.
“We did everything we can to bring Jay to the football club and so we are thrilled to bring in a player of his calibre.
“He is a young player that is driven, who is a terrific passer of the ball. He has a real desire to do well and has all the attributes that we crave at Bolton Wanderers.”
Spearing explained the reasons for the move:
“We[Brendan Rodgers and Spearing] had a really good chat about how we thought the season was going to go and we both decided that it would be good for me to go out, get some experience and play some football.”
When asked if he felt he could make an impact on his return to Anfield, Spearing added: “I don’t see why not, but at the moment I’m with Bolton.
“I want to try and produce for Bolton and get us back into the Premier League. It’s a massive club with a massive support and I really think we can do it.”
The dimunitive Merseyside born midfielder is something of a forgotten figure amoung many of the Anfield faithful, but has proved an important player for the Trotters as his temporary side look to avoid the ignominy of successive relegations after their exit from the top flight last season. Here’s an update on his progress.
JAY SPEARING: Season 2012-13 Stats – Bolton Wanderers
Appearances: 25 starts, 1 sub appearance
Spearing has been fairly impressive so far during his stint with Bolton, although the side currently find themselves languishing in 20th place in the Championship table, just 3 points above the relegation zone. After making his debut in a 3-1 defeat at Hull, the Reds loanee began to establish himself at the heart of the Trotters midfield, scoring his first goal for the club with neat finish from a Kevin Davies through ball in Bolton’s 3-2 win over Bristol City in October. Owen Coyle’s depature towards the end of the same month saw Dougie Freedman arrive, but Spearing remained an integral part of the Bolton side, and one of the first names on the teamsheet racking up 26 appearances thus far.
Bolton fans have lauded the 24 year old for his hunger and committment, as well as for making the holding midfielder role his own whilst excelling in breaking up play and dispossessing opponents. However, the criticisms of his game have been his lack of creativity and guile, as well as poor distribution, giving the ball away frequently, and with possession being a hallmark of Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool, it seems unlikely that Spearing will return and earn a regular place under the Northern Irishman unless this drastically improves.
Jay Spearing will never be found wanting in pure effort and wholeheartedness, but is he good enough technically to succeed at Anfield? Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.