‘Summer’s most wanted’ – Leeds’ Jermaine Beckford

Scoring the winning goal at Old Trafford in an FA Cup match is likely to create headlines for the player concerned. It did just that for Jermaine Beckford, and more. Prior to the match against United he was being talked about, during it he was talked about and certainly after it the talking continued. The concentration was along the future of the player, is he likely to end up at the highest level next season?

Beckford’s qualities and performances have come in to more focus, not only at Old Trafford, but also in another FA Cup tie against Tottenham. With all due respect to League One matches, there was greater scrutiny on Beckford to see if he could perform in grand venues such as the aforementioned ones. There can be no doubting that he will want to test himself in the Premier League and his Leeds contract expires this summer so it is likely he will end up leaving Elland Road. Among the clubs to express an interest in Beckford are Aston Villa and Everton. The latter club has a manager in David Moyes who knows how to turn a lower-league player in to a complete performer, just witness Tim Cahill and Phil Jagielka.

So for the prospective clubs that are interested in signing Beckford, what sort of attributes does he possess? His pace is seen as vital for his qualities because he can retrieve the ball in situations where it looks like it is beyond him. This actually comes from a negative aspect where it is said that his first touch is costing him. Along with his ground pace, his speed of thought is impressive. This is because he has scored goals that are either spectacular ones or poachers’ finishes, and reacts to situations quickly. He plays in such a way where he has the belief that he can make things happen. This is what makes him noticeable- he seems to have the ability to produce a magical moment out of nowhere.

Even though Beckford would love a move to the Premiership, it did seem in January that Championship outfit Newcastle were in for him. Two bids had been previously rejected by Leeds. The fact that they missed a chance to sign him in the latest transfer window, for a reported £3m, probably means they can try again should they be promoted to the Premier League at the end of the season. When the summer comes around, Premiership managers interested in Beckford will have had a whole season to assess him.

Beckford is now 26 so a move to the Premiership is probably best for him at the end of the season. He is reaching his peak levels and prospective clubs will want to sign him in the summer. When manager Simon Grayson was talking about a prospective move to Everton for Beckford, he said: “If he bangs in another 20 goals, there might be bigger teams than Everton coming in for him.” Whether a bigger team than Everton will come in for him is unlikely, but Grayson works with him on a daily basis so obviously rates his qualities very highly. In the end a club like Everton, or ones challenging for Europa League places, seems like Beckford’s most realistic way of establishing himself as a Premiership player.

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