My fellow blogger Frank Heaven and I are often prone to debate the merits of players labelled “ball playing centre halves”. It’s a term pregnant with meaning- and a slight damning with feint praise is never far from the equation. For just as Glen Johnson’s attacking attributes from full back are often highlighted only to stress his defensive inadequacies, centre backs who can “play a bit” are usually sniffed at for similar reasons.
Rio Ferdinand, despite all the accolades and a position in the MVP XI of the World Cup in 2002, has never quite attracted plaudits in the same way as John Terry: a far less complicated and less talented defender. Hence, the latest Manchester United kid to come from the Ferdinand mould will be watched with keen interest as he commences his career at the other end of the M62 in Hull.
James Chester comes with rave reviews garnered from a highly successful loan spell at Carlisle United and John McGee, creator of the erudite CUFC blog, Bring Me the Head of Keith Mincher, penned an effusive piece on the youngster’s talents for Man Yoo blog, Stretford End Arising. Short for a centre half, the Warrington born 21 year old has produced a bevy of unruffled displays for the Cumbrians. That he’s the second man in a highly functional back line to quit Brunton Park this season after Ian Harte will only depress the locals.
John is without any doubt at all that Chester will be a prime acquisition for Hull and recently having witnessed their committed but occasionally kamikaze back pairing of Kamil Zayatte and Paul McShane in action, a lad with the ability to put his foot on the pigskin will be most welcome; especially given the Tigers have never really recovered from the sale of Michael Turner to Sunderland. Whether Chester is the new Rioferdy5 or the new Chris Casper remains to be seen.