There are some players who it just does not work out for. Frank Nouble epitomises such a case.
I like Frank. I really do. Amongst the banter had with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, the CL4CK!’s and such, there is a really raw talent within the big striker. For me, Nouble has been stupendously unlucky, never having a solid run in the team – but at just 23 years of age, time is definitely on his side.
He’s 23. Twenty-three. It was on this day that Mick McCarthy spent £20,000 on the front-man, and I was looking forward to seeing him play. His frame and stature makes him formidable, and centre-halves (I’d imagine) hate to see such big powerful forwards coming at them. Look at Lukaku – HUGELY formidable on his day, you just don’t want to get in his way. But Frank (from my view, a fan) lacks confidence.
The talent is definitely there – he can finish (who can forget those first two goals at Portman Road against Crystal Palace; tucked away with panache) (and the ‘banter’ on Twitter before and after the game with Yannick Bolasie – who’s found his way out of Richard Stearman’s pocket and into the Premier League as a talented winger) but when it comes to running with the ball, his head is either down, or his first touch lets him down.
The fans, for me, didn’t help him either. Often stuck out on the right or left wing, you could tell he’s a player who knows when to make a run forward – but it was always that first or second touch, which could send him away, that was lacking. And this frustrated fans, and probably also Frank himself. A real confidence player, he’s definitely worth a punt for any League 1 or 2 side. A man of his size should be more confident going into aerial duels, and stronger when bombarding down the channels. The energy shown in the latter half of last season was commendable, but it was largely from the bench – and the signings of Williams and goalscoring form of Murphy marginalised his opportunities; again leading him to play on the wing.
His career, including U21/Reserve matches hasn’t been as fruitful as expected. Over 42% of his appearances have been from the bench – a HUGE percentage, and something that his talent (in my opinion) does not deserve at all. From what Terry Connor and Mick have said about Frank, he works hard on the training ground, he’s got a good rapport with his squad mates and his time will come.
So best of luck to you, Frank, I’ll be keeping an eye on your progress and I hope you find a club which will give you the minutes you deserve. Get the hunger, the belief and the drive to succeed and reach the heights your potential deserves. For me, improvement areas are first/second touch, dribbling and aerial prowess – be confident in beating the first defender!
Every player who’s worn the shirt and worked hard deserves the best, in my opinon.