Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Marc Pugh can be delighted with his season

Some may have thought that Marc Pugh would not get as much game time in the Premier League as he did in the Championship. There’s been no guarantee that Marc would keep his place and yet I believe the fans are overjoyed that he is being rewarded for his long service to the club and the special goals he has scored to keep the Cherries in the Premier League. He grabbed another goal at Everton at the weekend and he still may get some more goals yet.
The season could have started very differently of course. Eddie Howe signed Josh King and Max Gradel in the summer and he has had Junior Stanislas and Adam Smith eager to spend time on the left wing, especially since the Ryan Fraser was sent on loan to Ipswich. But there is a bit of genius in the feet of Marc Pugh, whether he is boxed in at the corner or dashing to get on the end of a through ball from Charlie Daniels and to get his cross in. He is one of the reliable performers I suppose who you can see giving his all whenever he puts on the number seven shirt.

“Pugh!” We scream from the stands as he races by and torments a baffled defender before beating him all ends up. Wingers have always been very important at Dean Court and Eddie Howe has designed his team to be extremely fluent with the flying wingbacks overlapping and whizzing past on the break.  

The value of Marc Pugh is not simply his finishing or his trickery though it’s his partnership with Charlie Daniels. They lean on each other and get the best out of each other and the team simply does not look as balanced when the two are not paired up on the left side of the field. 
When Junior Stanislas was having such a good run in the team and Marc picked up an Achillies problem it seemed that the Bacup-born winger may have to wait some time before getting back into the team. That would be to underestimate the determination of Pugh though who came storming back with goals in the FA Cup against Portsmouth and another special twister of a goal against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

So what more is there left for this family stand favourite to do? I am sure he has looked back and thought life doesn’t get much better than when scoring against Bolton Wanderer’s to get your team promoted to the Premier League or a hat-trick in the 0-8 demolition of Birmingham City last season. But then he scored a typically special goal at Upton Park for his first goal in the top flight.

That is Marc Pugh though – he gives everything to the cause. What I think fans like about him more than anything though is that he is just a fabulous straight talking, regular guy and a strong family man. He’ll be happy to talk and listen to you about what you are doing, as much as telling you about his favourite game and I wonder whether the Cherries have a team of excellent listeners and whether this is really half the secret to their success. Some players can take things onboard when they are told to play in a certain way and others find it hard to adapt. But Pugh is one of those who can listen and improve. He’s done it season after season, and somehow I think he still has a few more tricks to learn.

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