Kirsten has been kind enough to let me cover for her on this week's pocket player. She's probably stuck in a law library somewhere with thoughts of Bazza dancing in her head, so while she's gone, I'm going to take only the second Villan in this series: Stewart Downing.
I don't quite remember when my obsession with the fleet-footed man on the left began, but I know he was close to becoming my favorite player by week one. And by now, in a season of dreadful offensive performances, Stewie stands out as one of the rare bright spots with a team-leading four league goals.
But, even a new fan knows that it hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows with Stewie. I've heard enough about how he was one of the most disappointing players on the squad last year to know that this choice will likely meet with some criticism. If you'll permit me, however, I'd like to offer a few rebuttals:
- He's an adorable man. At 5'11", I realize he may not quite fit in my pocket, but he's got one of the friendliest faces on a team full of friendly looking youngsters. I'd argue that only Bazza looks more huggable.
- Stewie is actually quite good. He's incredibly speedy and he can put in a cross when he needs to. Yes, he has to work on accuracy a bit, but he's getting there. And when he's in front of the net, he's dangerous.
- He had a hand (foot?) in "The Goal."
- He's a regular soccer sniper. (What do you mean that might have been edited? Pshaw!)
But really, I don't imagine I'll get another crack at this player in my pocket thing, so I have to take Stewie. He's my favorite Villan, and I'm just as irrational about him as Aaron is Eric Lichaj, Kirsten is Barry Bannan, or Gareth is to Gary Cahill. Welcome to the pocket Stewart!