Every week, The Guardian posts a scout report on a player somewhere in the English leagues by pro-scout Steve Claridge, and today, that player is Leeds's Jermaine Beckford. Sadly, the assessment (click here) isn't completely positive. Claridge, though, really hits the nail on the head with his analysis:
"The 23-year-old has had the good fortune to play for two good sides in this division, which always helps if you are a forward. And his tally of nine goals in 29 games last season and eight for Leeds in 17 this season says he is playing his part in front of goal. But when you look at his all-round game you realise he is in a side that can afford to carry him when he is not playing well. At a different club he might make the team-sheet less regularly."
To which we can probably add:
"In a different division, he might not make the team-sheet at all." With Leeds in League One, and with the support of the rest of a very solid team, Beckford is fully capable of being not just our best striker, but the best in the League. Will he be able to do that in the Championship next year? I doubt it, although I'd love to be proven wrong - he just doesn't strike me as a good enough player for a tougher league. Claridge apparently feels the same way:
"At 23 he is still learning the game at this level with only 39 appearances under his belt. Both the games I watched were away from home in a long week for Leeds but he was a major disappointment - but there was enough in small portions to suggest there may be better to come."
Amen to that. Let's hope he really is capable of more.