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Forgotten Footballers Edition 1: Liam Miller 

The Boot Room

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Born on 13th February 1981 in Cork, Ireland, from a young age Liam Miller was dubbed at the “next Roy Keane”, a fellow Cork boy.  It couldn’t have gone any differently really could it?

At the age of 16, Miller was handed his first professional contract, at Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic. He didn’t break into the first team until 2001, at 20 years old, when he made his debut but didn’t stick around and was loaned out to Danish side AGF Aarhus for the remainder of the season. It wasn’t until the 2003-04 season when Miller would break into, and stay in the Celtic side. A top season in Scotland, competing in the Champions League as well as winning the SPL title. He smelled the glory, and when Manchester United offered the youngster a contract, he left Celtic and moved south to one of the best sides in world football, due to the Bosman ruling. This only added to his “next Roy Keane” tag, and he couldn’t shake it away. Would he be a success at United? He scored early on in his Manchester United career, in a league cup tie against lower league Crewe Alexandra, but never made a real impression on the Premier League, making just nine appearances, and becoming one of the laughing stocks of the league. Despite this, Miller managed to get himself into the Irish national team at this point, making his international debut against Czech Republic in March 2004. After a loan spell at Leeds to try and resurrect his career, Miller found himself on the way to Sunderland after Sir Alex Ferguson called a halt on his United career.

This would prove to be another tough chapter of Miller’s career.  Joining Sunderland, and teaming up with Roy Keane, the man he was supposed to replace would prove too tricky for Miller. His inconsistent performances followed by a falling out with Keane say him placed on the transfer list on 27th February 2008, after two years at the club. It took nearly a year without playing and a change in manager at Sunderland for Miller to finally leave the Stadium of Light. He joined QPR on a 6 month deal until the end of the season in January 2009, and after 13 league appearances, Miller was released and that was the end of his career in England. This would also see the end of his international career, with 21 appearances to his name, Miller didn’t get close to the 67 Roy Keane amassed in his career. Very few people know where Miller went after this, and what he did with his career.

After offering his services around, Miller found himself facing a return to Scotland, but not with boyhood Celtic, but this time with Hibernian. Having offered his services around, after 2 and a half months, Hibernian were the only interested party and signed himself a two year deal. His first season back in Scotland went well, and many wondered how a player playing so well couldn’t make it at Championship level down in England. His second season was a totally different story, and when Hibs’ form dropped , manager John Collins lost his job and new manager Colin Calderwood brought in three new midfielders and Miller, once again, was shown the door. August 2011, now 30, Miller was on the move again.

Australia. An emerging league now, but three years ago is was empty. Miller joined Perth Glory on a two year deal, but injured himself in pre-season and only made 49 appearances across two seasons. He failed to earn himself a move back to England despite trials in numerous League One and Two teams, and ended up signing a two year deal for Brisbane Roar, the club he still plays for now. Despite coming towards the end of his career, this is probably the most successful spell of his career, earning himself a spot in the inaugural A League All Stars squad and starting against Manchester United, the side which ironically could have changed his career. Now 33, Liam Miller insists he never regretted joining Manchester United and that he was just one of many who didn’t live up to expectation. He currently has no plans to retire and is enjoying life in Brisbane, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?

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Crystal Palace

Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente would be the perfect addition for Crystal Palace

The Spaniard still has plenty to offer in the Premier League.

Josh Kerr

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Fernando Llorente
Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur striker Fernando Llorente is among five players expected to leave the Lilywhites this summer as manager Mauricio Pochettino prepares for a summer clear out.

According to The Mirror, Pochettino is ready to listen to offers for the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Dembele, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko.

The 33-year-old has undoubtedly struggled in his time since joining Spurs from Swansea City in 2017. The former Spain international has scored just one Premier League goal and five in 31 appearances, in all competitions, following the move.

Elsewhere in London, the incredible resurgence of Crystal Palace has been orchestrated by the outstanding Roy Hodgson, who has earned plaudits from all corners as his Eagles side finished the season sitting pretty in 11th in the Premier League table.

The former England manager was able to guide the London outfit to safety, despite the team sitting bottom of the league without a win and even a goal after seven games. Avoiding the drop was also achieved without the support of misfiring striker Christian Benteke.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The Belgian’s miserable form could leave Hodgson searching for further attacking options in the summer and Llorente would prove the perfect addition at Selhurst Park.

The Spaniard was monumental in his first season in England for Welsh outfit Swansea, firing 15 league goals during his short spell in South Wales.

It could be a real coup for Palace if they play to Llorente’s strengths, and he could be the signing that gets the best out of Benteke, knowing there’s a direct replacement for him if he isn’t meeting the required standards.

The former Sevilla striker was limited to few opportunities under Pochettino, starting just one league game for Spurs. His next move must prioritise finding a manager who believes in his ability and suits the striker’s style of play.

Llorente’s prowess in the air is difficult to match and with Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend supplying the Spanish forward he could be a real goal threat next season.

At the age of 33, Palace would not have to break the bank to add an established attacking option. For a potential small fee, Hodgson should undoubtedly swoop.

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Eight appearances, zero goals: What’s next for failed Tottenham loanee Georges-Kevin N’Koudou?

The 23-year-old has struggled since his move to the Premier League.

Max Cohen

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Georges-Kevin N’Koudou
Photo: Getty Images

When Tottenham Hotspur winger Georges-Kevin N’Koudou signed for Burnley on loan in January, there were high hopes that the 23-year-old attacker could finally prove his worth in English football.

However, N’Koudou has tremendously struggled for both playing time and form during his brief time at Turf Moor, and it appears there is no future at White Hart Lane for the Frenchman.

The winger has made just eight appearances for the Clarets and has registered a grand total of zero goals and zero assists.

Frustratingly, Sean Dyche has selected Georges-Kevin N’Koudou in the starting eleven only twice during his loan spell.

The disappointing reality that most of his appearances have come as a substitute is a major factor behind the winger’s ineffectiveness, as it is exceedingly difficult to make an impact on loan when starts are hard to come by.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Things were beginning to look up for N’Koudou in late March and early April when he made consecutive starts against West Bromwich Albion and Watford.

Both matches ended in victory for Burnley, and the winger caught the eye with lively performances full of direct running and pace.

However, when Johann Berg Gudmundsson returned from injury, N’Koudou found himself dropped out of the matchday squad entirely for three matches straight, encapsulating his inconsistent season.

Although the Spurs loanee has returned to make two substitute appearances in Burnley’s recent matches against Brighton and Arsenal, his months at Turf Moor have overall been a frustrating failure.

Signed by Mauricio Pochettino in August 2016 amid much fanfare for £9.4 million pounds, the winger penned a five-year deal in anticipation of a fruitful Tottenham career.

Just under two years later, the challenge of adapting to England seems to have proved too fearsome for the young N’Koudou.

With no future at White Hart Lane next season, a transfer back to his native France might provide the best move for the promising yet ineffective Georges-Kevin N’Koudou.

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West Ham’s decade-long lack of goal scorers summed up by startling figure

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

During West Ham United’s scoreless draw with Manchester United on Thursday, commentator Peter Drury made an acute observation that revealed the Hammers’ dreadful decade-long goalscoring record.

According to Drury, the last time a West Ham striker scored more than ten goals in a Premier League season was back in the 2006/07 campaign.

That year it was twice-capped England international Bobby Zamora who achieved the feat, bagging 11 goals as the east London club finished 15th.

Yet in West Ham’s ten top-flight seasons that have followed, no Hammers striker has hit the vaunted 11-goal mark, a striking statistic that is a damning indictment of the club’s poor recruitment.

A Guardian investigation conducted in January 2017 found that West Ham had signed an incredible 32 strikers in the seven seasons since David Gold and David Sullivan bought the club.

This list includes massive flops such as Benni McCarthy, Mido, Marouane Chamakh, Mladen Petric, Simone Zaza, and Jonathan Calleri. Shockingly, all of these strikers scored a combined one goal for West Ham.

This season, Marko Arnautovic is on the brink of finally breaking the decade-long duck. The Serbian sits on ten league goals to date, and will have one final opportunity to end the drought against Everton on Sunday.

The fact that it has taken this long to come close to bringing an end to the embarrassing spell is simply unacceptable for a club of West Ham’s stature. The lack of goalscoring strikers is a massive worry for the Hammers that has held them back during their disappointing 2017/18 campaign.

West Ham have scored just 45 goals in 37 matches, an abysmal goal-to-match ratio that has resulted in a poor goal difference of negative 22.

If Arnautovic is to hit 11 league goals for the Hammers this season, then West Ham can finally put a decade of striking embarrassment behind them.

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