MLW- After Japan/Korea 2002, many (including myself) thought C Mathis was headed for great things. Personally, I figured he was a lock to be starting up front in 2006...we all know what happened.I will admit that I thought Eddie Johnson was a good acquisition for Fulham, but now I think that it was a waste of funds. Johnson made a splash in the MLS, but he is clearly not ready for major international play.
In your mind, what player who is playing well at present, seems to be a sure things, has the potential to implode and not even be named to the roster in 2010?
IVES- The thing with Mathis is that even after the 2002 World Cup there were already signs that things weren't all great with Mathis, so the rapid demise of his career wasn't a complete shock.
I think Eddie Johnson is the easy candidate for this one. Here's someone who showed some flashes at an early age, keeps getting chances on the club and national team level, but continues to disappoint. You keep waiting for him to flick a switch and suddenly be a star, but it wouldn't shock me at all if he's completely off the national team radar come 2010.
The issue for me is not his skills, for he has them and he has displayed them on occasion. My problem with Eddie Johnson is his work ethic on the field. He apparently showed something to Roy Hodgson and Bob Bradley in training in order to get the starts, but he has never displayed the talent and work ethic of someone like Clint Dempsey or Michael Bradley. Without Cristiano Ronaldo-level skills (which Johnson surely does not have), he has to put in much more work on the field than he has in order to justify his position.
In some ways, although I wish it were not the case, relegation for Fulham might actually be the best thing for Johnson. He will not get picked up by another Premier League side, so if he is to remain in Europe, he will have to stay with Fulham in the Championship league. That may push him to work harder on and off the field and perhaps get a loan opportunity next year.
Like Ives, unless Johnson doesn't improve his work ethic quickly, he will be lucky to survive the first round of World Cup qualifying with Bob Bradley. If not, Johnson's international career with the U.S. is over by the end of this year.
Then there was this question:
MALDONADO- I heard on the bbc gossip there has been intrest in michael bradley from manchester united. Do you see any possiblities in that happening?The worst thing in the world for Michael Bradley right now would be going to Manchester United. He would be riding the pine and if he saw minutes with United it would be few and far between. There are simply too many talented midfielders at United to the move to be of benefit to him.
IVES- Is there interest? Yes. Is it something that will happen? I wouldn't bet on it. There is at least one other high-level club with more interest in Bradley than Man U and if signs with that club you will certainly hear shockwaves. Regardless of what happens, I see Bradley signing with a top five club at a top four league (England, Spain, Italy, Germany).
A better possibility might be Chelsea. All indications point to a mass exodus of players this summer from Stamford Bridge and I think that Roman Abramovich and the next Chelsea manager (Avram Grant won't be the manager next year even if Chelsea win the Champions' League) will be looking for dynamic central midfielder who can score goals here and there. Bradley has the tools and with the guidance of a better manager, will develop into a solid Premier League starting midfielder (although probably not in his first year).
I think the Premier League is the most like spot. Bradley is tall, strong and quick. He is used to physical play and can dish it out as well as take it. Germany is also a possibility. I think Spain and Italy are lesser choices.