Last weekend, in his post-match interview as seen on Match of the Day, Mick McCarthy confirmed that Emmanuel Frimpong was joining Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan until the end of the season, in a deal that the Wolves boss described as, “fantastic” adding that he was, “delighted because he’s a terrific young player.” For Emmanuel Frimpong it will provide the much-needed Premier League experience that has so far been limited to 3 starts, most recently in the 2-1 away victory over Aston Villa , and two sub appearances.
Sent off on his full home debut, in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool , Emmanuel Frimpong immediately grabbed the attention of the viewing public with a “spirited and tenacious” performance, as Arsene Wenger’s interviewer put it, with the Frenchman choosing to put his sending off for a wild challenge on Liverpool midfielder Lucas, down to “a lack of experience” and a “big heart.” His performance up until the sending off was “impressive” according to Phil McNulty, but his sending off marked a change in momentum, with Liverpool breaking down a resilient Arsenal midfield, now a man short, and scoring twice to record a 2-0 win at The Emirates.
However, the combative midfielder is only 19-years old and much like Alex Chamberlain and Francis Coquelin , Frimpong’s contemporaries, the Ghanaian England youth international was chucked in at the deep end, blooded in the harshest of ways against the best the Premier League has to offer. It did the youngster no harm, however, and since his red-blooded debut, he has gone on to start in two games that led to victory against Swansea and Aston Villa. An abundance of midfield players, a luxury that couldn’t have been further from the truth when the midfielder made his debut, has seen Arsene Wenger use 11 midfielders so far in the Premier League this season, and with Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby close to returning, the Frenchman has chosen to send out Frimpong in a team where weekly “spirited and tenacious” performances will be needed.
Much like previous loans of Arsenal’s, such as Wilshere’s to Bolton and Alex Song ’s to Charlton , The Professor has sent a central midfielder to a club that will be battling week-in-week-out for points, and it’ll be here where Frimpong’s style, “he is a fighter and he is a winner” (Arsene Wenger told Arsenal.com) will be honed and channeled into the performances regularly churned out by Arsenal’s current #1 holding midfielder, Alex Song .
Song is held in high regard by Arsenal fans and coaches at the club alike, “He is one of the players who surprised everybody. You wouldn’t expect what he delivers at the moment,” said Wenger, “He had periods when he had doubts in his mind, when people would say he was a bad buy or things like that. When you are a young boy that is difficult to take, but he’s got over that.
He went through some difficult periods.” Arsenal fans are no longer criticising the purchase of Alex Song, who having broken through at the age of 21 making 48 appearances in Arsenal’s midfield, is now attracting interest from some of Europe’s finest with a £15m fee circulating around his bleach blond head.
Emmanuel Frimpong is hoping to emulate the successes of the Cameroonian international, “that’s what I want to be doing in a few years,” said Frimpong in 2009, before he endured a dogged 18-months of successive injuries culminating in a 9-month lay off due to a damaged anterior cruciate ligament, “ in the last couple of years Alex has showed everyone what he can do. He went on loan to Charlton and came back stronger. Everyone wondered if he would be a good player for Arsenal , whether he would establish himself in the first team, and I think he has proved that. He is playing really well at the moment.” Now, it is Frimpong that hopes to go out on loan and come back stronger.
Wolves fans can expect to reap the rewards that the last team to feature Frimpong regularly did: Arsenal’s u-18s during their 2009 FA Youth Cup run, which ended in triumph over Liverpool with a heavy 6-2 scoreline, in which Frimpong featured throughout the tournament but went off injured 20 minutes in during the first leg of the final. Steve Bould, who took the u-18′s on their march to FA Cup success, was “delighted” with Frimpong’s offering during the competition and the main focus was to harness the undoubted talent of the Ghanaian.
The midfielder, who is nine days younger than England international Jack Wilshere , regularly produced displays of superb shifts, acting as the engine in the team alongside Coquelin , who featured in the Arsenal team that beat Aston Villa on December 21st next to his midfield partner through the age ranks. The 19-year old can be expected to churn out tireless performances in the Orange shirt of Wolves, doused with “ferocious long-range efforts” and match-winning defensive displays, which Frimpong highlights as his main strength, “I enjoy making tackles more than anything because it helps the team to regain the ball and of course that is when [Arsenal] are dangerous,” and hopefully Steven Fletcher can be the danger that Van Persie is when Frimpong wins the ball, “Obviously when [a team] go behind it is always hard to come back but we know that we are always capable of doing so, [it] shows character.”
Now it is time for Frimpong to inject some much needed “character” into a Wolves team, that are without Jamie O’Hara and, yet again, have a relegation battle on their hands for the second half of the season. For Wolves, this may just be their most important signing in their quest for another season in the Premier League.
Written by Jordan Florit for This is Futbol
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