Jenas - he's got bags of potential

Wishlist for the 2009/2010 Season

Inspired by this here article located over at the All Action No Plot towers, I've decided to churn out a wish-list for the season ahead. Topics I'll be covering (in no particular order) include:

The Magic of the FA Cup
The next Lilywhite prodigy
Jenas - he's got bags of potential
Fortress Lane
Defoe the Prolific
5-0 wins please
Relentless and Ruthless
Top 6 challenge (no bottom half of the table antics)
Huddlestone - The Immovable Object
Love-in for Wilson and Luka

Will try and blog the majority of them between now and Sunday.

And first up, it's JJ.


Jenas - he's got bags of potential

There's only one Jermaine Jenas,
Only one Jermaine Jenas,
He's got bags of potential,
But he's rarely influential,
JJ's so bloody inconsequential.

He's the player who splits Spurs fans in two like a mad man with a leather face and a rusty chainsaw going to work on a screaming kid who had the audacity to wonder into an eerie isolated farm house. What does Jermaine Jenas do exactly? It’s the infamous question we are ask ourselves every season. And we're never quite sure how to answer it. You'll have heard all the following sound-bites before, from me or from the person who sits next to you at the Lane or perhaps you've said them yourself:

  • He's a good player who works hard that's why managers rate him so highly
  • We just don't notice the work he does
  • He has no confidence
  • If he had confidence he'd be a great player
  • He scores important goals
  • He can't tackle and gets by-passed in central midfield
  • He doesn't do box-to-box running often enough
  • On form he destroys teams
  • On form he destroys the little teams
  • Doesn't dominate against the big teams
  • Goes missing too often
  • He doesn't go missing, he just does the work for the team you don't instantly appreciate
  • He's an aplogetic mess of a player

And so on.

The simple fact is that Jenas isn't an arrogant piece of work who believes himself to be better than everyone else. A shame really, because if he was he'd be twice the player he is. He has a decent engine and has proven he does posses the decision making and composure and footballing brain but his roller-coaster confidence results in draining inconsistency. His decision making and composure deteriorate to non-existent levels and suddenly we have a player who looks lost and isolated almost trying to hide in the shadows of other players to protect himself from the moans and groans and the bad bad men in the stands saying bad bad words.

It's almost a catch 22. You get the feeling that a boo here and a hiss does have a detrimental effect on JJ. He starts a game buzzing, nicks a goal, the crowd love him and he loves it and suddenly he's all over the pitch like a man possessed, with intent and purpose. If he struggles to get into a game, the crowd turn on him and it becomes eternal (well, for the 90 minutes).

But if he's more inconsistent than consistent, does that mean he's nothing more than an average player who now and again manages to excel?

The fact is, JJ won't ever defeat his confidence demons. At least not based on what we've seen since his days at Newcastle. And with whispers that he might not be starting that often this season (I don't actually believe this) he might ask for a transfer if by January he's warming the bench. But it's doubtful. He will play. It's whether he takes full advantage of all the protection and tidy-up work our Honduran panther does in the middle of the park that will prove his worth. To us and to him as an individual. Because there's a full season ahead with a geninue midfield enforcer bossing the area between the defence and midfield, so to not take advantage of this new founded freedom would be criminal. We got a preview of this in parts last season, and JJ looked good. Not fantastic but a glimpse of something here and there.

Then again, I'd look good alongside Palacios. Knowing you have a monster smashing the opposition to pieces should give you the confidence to pull your pants down and play naked, as free and pure as the day you were born. Instead you'll more likely to find Jenas shielding himself with a blanket, clutching onto his teddy bear and whispering gently for help.

It's true. Alan Partridge ghost-writes my analogies.

There is no doubting it. This is the season he has to shine. If he doesn't, and he frustrates and infuriates then it will also prove to be his last in a Lilywhite shirt. A footballer cannot survive on 'he'll be a great player if he finds that little bit more confidence'. It's like saying Joey Barton would be an excellent addition to our squad if he wasn't a mental case. He is and will never change. It's in him. It's part of his genetic footballing make-up. It's tragic that JJ doesn't have that self-confidence the likes of Lampard and Gerrard ooze.

Can he flourish and grow in stature by being consistent and forceful? Strong mentally as well as physically? Never bullied, always biting? If you're 21 or 22 years of age it's understandable if you've yet to find a balance and tempo to your game. But at JJ's age? Perhaps what we see is the only thing we will ever get.

There are not too many Lampard's and Gerrard's about and what we have in Jenas might be the best on offer outside the Top 4, at least from an 'English' perspective. He's a likeable bloke so I hope rather than split us down the middle he unites us like a newly married couple stuck together after a mishap concerning lube and superglue.

I wish he would step it up a level and never look back.


The Wishlist will continue soonish...