Why Elliot Benyon should stay at Torquay United
The key to being a successful striker is having that knack of being in the right place at the right time. In Elliot Benyon, Torquay United have a striker who currently seems to be doing just that. With the vultures circling above the Gulls’ promising attacker, Shaun Murphy advises that he stays put at Plainmoor.
Currently enjoying the most productive spell of his career, with ten goals already this season, Benyon is the main man in the Torquay attack. It was unsurprising, then, to see the forward linked with a host of clubs as the emergency loan window came to an end.
In signalling his intention to stay at Plainmoor, however, Benyon may have shown yet more desirable traits – patience and maturity.
Why should he leave? Currently riding high in 6th place, the Gulls find themselves sitting pretty in a play-off spot as things stand and that is thanks in no small part to Benyon’s goals. Clearly, he is a player enjoying his football and, at this stage of his career, playing and scoring regularly will do him no harm at all.
Benyon’s development has been something to behold. Always a natural goalscorer, doubts over his upper body strength and all-round play caused Torquay manager Paul Buckle to stop short of trusting the striker as a regular starter at the beginning of his Torquay career. But Benyon strived to improve. He refused to be daunted by big and burly defenders. He began to link the play. He worked hard for the team. In short, his overall game improved immeasurably.
Indeed, the thought of Benyon leading the line on his own three years ago was a scary one. Now, thanks to his workrate and goalscoring instinct, the 23-year-old is more often than not the lone attacker in Torquay’s 4-4-1-1 formation.
It is little wonder, then, that Benyon is not short of admirers from across the Football League. Even the well respected Crewe manager Dario Gradi has been known to sing the striker’s praises. The most ardent of Gulls fans accept that Benyon will move on — though his next move is a crucial one.
Benyon should look no further than the talented David Graham, who departed for Wigan Athletic, then a Championship side, in 2004 after a successful three years at Plainmoor. Unable to break up the team’s successful Roberts and Ellington strike partnership, Graham saw himself shunted into an unfamiliar wide role as The Latics sealed promotion. His career subsequently stalled, and Graham now plies his trade for Sheffield FC in the Northern Premier League Division One South.
A move to Southend would do the player no favours, nor, with all due respect, would a move to Dagenham and Redbridge, given that both clubs look likely to be occupying places in League Two next season.
It could also be argued that a move to a bigger club could see first team opportunities become limited at a crucial stage of the player’s development.
An argument could be made for the striker to stay put, then. With the Gulls occupying a play-off spot as things stand, Benyon and Torquay could be playing at a higher level as early as next season, in an environment where he feels comfortable, and as the club’s chief goal getter.
Put simply, another season at Plainmoor could see Elliot Benyon’s stock rise even higher.