JENAS: The goldfish needs a new bowl
A sense of dejua vu with this one. It's a question repeated countless times by the Tottenham faithful and one that I covered in detail here.
What should we do with Jermaine Jenas? If we get a tasty £10M offer for him do we bite their hands off?
I was actually, at various points this season, sympathetic towards the midfield enigma believing that with Redknapp at the club - and the dawn of another new dawn - with Palacios bossing the midfield, JJ might finally blossom into the player we all hope he would became. Alongside Wilson he showed us glimpses of a man who had suddenly found freedom after years of repression.
Jenas, some would say, is a luxury player in that he has to be in the right team with the right team balance to be capable of turning it on. Others will quickly state that a true 'top 4' midfielder wouldn't need to rely on the people around him in the same way JJ needs General Wilson. And someone at the back will whisper that we are not a top 4 club and compared to other teams outside of the elite, Jenas is possibly as good as anything they've got. Or is that another delusion?
Give him another chance, one more chance...is the groundhog day opinion that will not go away. Isn't it about time the day just ended and we woke up to a brand new one?
If Harry believes Modric should be played down the middle with a winger (Ashley Young perhaps?) taking responsibility on the left - Jenas would suddenly find himself benched long term, surplus to requirements downgraded to squad player rather than first team regular.
I'm not going to run through another in-depth analysis of the player (the conundrum series covered it in detail). Everything that's been said has been said. Fans are split and indifferent to the lads form and end product. Managers and coaches seem to rate him very very highly. Which means either fans can't see what the professionals do or Jenas is a criminal mastermind responsible for digging up dirt on everyone in the game in the greatest mass blackmailing in history.
I can only go on what I know and what I see. As I'm sure you too have an opinion on this.
When we speak of potential in a player, it's the hope - based on current abilities - that they can grow and develop and improve their game. It’s a question of finding that extra 10%, 20%, 40% or whatever from somewhere, usually from the experience of one season on top of the next. Jenas might have the ability. We see it when he is at his box-2-box best, but usually against lesser opposition. And it's here where we cite potential as the excuse. If he can destroy Hull or Derby and he can sometimes do it against Arsenal then the next stage of evolution would be to perform at that standard every week and show signs that his in-game weakness are gradually being eliminated. But he never quite grasps the opportunity or indicates that he has overcome his demons (the ones that suffocate his confidence).
The fact he is not performing at a high standard every week means its not so much 'he has the potential to do so' but more the case of 'he just isn't good enough to get there'.
Imagine if the lad had the same mental strength as Frank Lampard. He'd be very good. He'd be exceptional. And that's what we hang on to. That extra 20%, 30% or so that's required from him to finally make the grade. But what we ignore is that football is more than just the ability to play it physically. Composure, decision making...are also fundamentals, but if you're not 100% in the head then that can be the difference between being good and reaching world class status.
JJ doesn't have that arrogant swaggering belief that's required and his perpetual search for a heart, stuck on the yellow-brick road all alone and lost, is never-ending. There is no potential to come to the rescue. The Wizard has shut shop.
Going back to the Lampard analogy, saying that if Jenas did have the mentality of the Chelsea midfielder he'd be outstanding is a bit like saying imagine if Joey Barton didn't have a temperament problem. Some people are built in a way that does not allow for change.
So I guess we either have to except this is it and that the player is as good as he will ever be and we simply compensate for his deficiencies because - for all that is frustrating about him - he's still a decent footballer. Or we except its time for him to move on and allow another club and manager to take the responsibility of being the Wizard.
I think it's time Jenas moved on.
And yet I find myself looking in the mirror and seeing M. Night Shyamalan staring back at me as I think to myself...I'd be gutted if we sold him.