Probably the most famous case of this is Matt Le Tissier the mercurial player who spent his whole sixteen year career playing at Southampton and ended up with just eight England caps despite being one of the finest players of his generation. It is often said that a move to the likes of Liverpool or Manchester United would have seen ‘Le Tiss’ become an England regular.
The reason I ask the question is because I was slightly surprised to see that West Ham midfielder Scott Parker has signed a new long term contract with the club that will keep him there until 2014.
It was a not too closely guarded secret that Harry Redknapp wanted Parker at Tottenham to help his side in their Champions League campaign this season. You would have thought that a move to a top four team and playing in the world’s best club competition would be a better prospect than another season of probable struggle at Upton Park wouldn’t you?
Speaking on the West Ham official website, Parker said,
“I always knew this was where I was going to be. I really wanted to stay here, give it a shot and see what can happen. I just want to do my best for West Ham. With the transfer window there is always a lot of hype. The owners spoke out last season and I am more than happy. And the fans mean a lot to me. The most important thing is feeling welcome and appreciated by the fans, and that is the one thing I do feel.”
Is this just a case of a player showing the sort of loyalty that we are constantly told doesn’t exist in football any more, or is there more to it?
Parker had a small taste of what life could be like at a top Premier League club when he spent a season at Chelsea. He made just fifteen appearances for them and never established himself as a first team regular.
Apart from that time at Chelsea he has always been a star man at Charlton, Newcastle and, since 2007, West Ham. As he says, he is welcome and appreciated at Upton Park and he feels that is important.
Parker’s performances at West Ham have earned him rave reviews with him seeming to almost single-handedly keep them in the Premier League last season. Despite that, and the interest shown in him by top clubs, he has earned just three England caps and didn’t make the World Cup after being one of the few who missed out from the initial selection.
Some players need to challenge themselves at the very highest level and take the risks that are associated with doing that. Others choose to stay where they are comfortable even if it means not reaching the heights they may be capable of reaching.
What do we think, is Scott Parker simply being loyal, or has his experience at Chelsea meant that he just wants to stay where he is guaranteed a first team place and feels loved?
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