The Scout - Leon Best
After an impressive performance in last night's FA Cup tie between Coventry City and Portsmouth, we turn our attention to Sky Blues forward Leon Best.
NAME: Leon Best
CLUB: Coventry City
The striker is rumoured to be interesting a number of clubs looking to boost their striking options in the January transfer window.
At 23, Best is far from the finished article, but as a traditional centre forward he is certainly a dying breed and a player that will go from strength to strength if given the opportunity to develop his game further.
Having begun his career at Southampton, he enjoyed fruitful spells on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, Bournemouth and most notably Yeovil Town, before joining Coventry in July 2007.
Since signing for the Sky Blues, Best has won three international caps for the Republic of Ireland and has firmly cemented his place in Chris Coleman's starting line-up this term, attracting attention from Wolves, Celtic and Birmingham in the process.
MOST RECENT PERFORMANCE (vs. Portsmouth, 12/01/10)
Best enhanced his already budding reputation with a man-of-the-match performance during last night's cup encounter with the Premier League's basement boys. The striker was a constant thorn in the side of Portsmouth, who were somewhat fortuitous extra-time victors.
Best capped his performance with an exceptionally well taken goal in the 22nd minute, controlling the ball on the edge of the box, before striking it with power on the turn and leaving Pompey keeper Asmir Begovic rooted to the spot.
It was the second time in two seasons Best had hit the net against Premier League opposition, having scored the winner for Coventry in their FA Cup win over Blackburn last year.
While it may be presumptuous to suggest that he is therefore of the calibre to succeed in the Premier League, it is certainly encouraging.
Strengths: As impressive as Best's well-struck goal was, his general play also matched such standards and the striker showed commendable touches, holding the ball up well and always giving his team-mates options.
His link up play was also good and the Sky Blues were unfortunate not to put the tie beyond Portsmouth early in the second half. Best skilfully turned Marc Wilson and pulled the ball for teammate Aron Gunnarsson, only for the Icelandic midfielder to be denied by an excellent last ditch tackle.
Weaknesses: It is always difficult to pick holes in a man-of-the-match performance, but if you were being cynical of Best's game his decision making is at times questionable. He would also do well to improve upon his work rate if he is to realise his full potential.
He may be an awful long way from replicating the magic of his namesake George, but performances of a similar ilk will certainly do Leon's reputation no harm.
With his contract due to expire in the summer and Coventry chairman Ray Ranson last month publicly admitting that he expected to receive bids for him, a new Best may well be gracing the top-flight of English football before too long.
Whether he would prove a hit only time will tell, but he is certainly showing signs of promising development. 7/10
- Gareth Burton
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