Roll of the Dyche: Troy’s Story and The Flying Scotsman

Dan Davison selects six British players at random from the Premier League and assesses their performances from the weekend.

#1 Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace)

Andros Townsend was flying down the wing and Roy Hodgson was barking instructions on the touchline…. well, tweeting them maybe (you know, because he looks like an owl?!). You could have been forgiven on Saturday for thinking you had fallen into a strange time lapse back to 2013. But slowly, you began to regain your sense of reality – as you realised Hodgson’s team were winning 3-0. That can’t be England! Palace have improved dramatically under the guidance of ex-Liverpool boss Hodgson and few will benefit more from his presence than Andros Townsend, who was excellent in the 3-0 demolition job of Leicester at the King Power Stadium. Riyad Mahrez for Leicester on the other hand, was awful. PFA Player of the Year? Overrated mate.

#2 Troy Deeney (Watford)

Troy Deeney is like that slightly unhinged mate we’ve all got. “He looks angry, is he gonna smash something?” “I heard he was out last night, do you reckon he’ll turn up to work today?” “He’s the captain of a Premier League football team, do you reckon he’ll get sent off in the first half of a very winnable home game?” Deeney has been regularly left out of the starting line-up since the arrival of manager Marco Silva, and the way he let his team down on Saturday will do little to persuade his manager he deserves another chance. Ex-Hornet Jonathan Hogg did his best to level things out for his own team by getting sent off too in the second half but the damage had already been done – Huddersfield were already 3-0 done. The Troy Story will continue, but it turned out to be a horror show for Hornet’s fans on Saturday.

#3 James Collins (West Ham United)

As a man with hair colour of the orange variety myself, it’s always great to see the man nicknamed ‘Ginge’ by his West Ham teammates representing our people on the Premier League stage. Not the most naturally gifted footballer in the league admittedly, James Collins was very solid in West Ham’s surprisingly comprehensive win against Stoke City at the Britannia on Saturday. West Ham are a much-improved side under another member of the Ginger Brethren, David Moyes, and will be looking to climb up that table over the Christmas period. Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic are getting a lot of deserved credit for their performances offensively, but it was the likes of James Collins and previous ‘Roll of the Dyche’ choice Aaron Cresswell building solid Iron foundations at the back. You keep doing what you’re doing ‘Ginge’ – you’re an inspiration to us all!

#4 Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)

Here’s a new idea for a song Spurs fans: “We’ve got Alli, Dele Alli, he’s going to do absolutely nothing of use for the entire match apart from occasionally act like a petulant little boy.” It’s got a bit of a ring to it that, you’ve got to admit. Perhaps it took this magisterial Manchester City side to show us on Saturday that Tottenham Hotspur and its players still have some way to go before they’re going to be winning any titles. Alli was a passenger in the middle of the park, Kieran Trippier was even worse against his old club in defence. Kevin De Bruyne, on the other hand, continued to be world-class for Manchester City – almost effortlessly good. That’s the bar Dele, now see if you can jump up and reach it. Maybe ditch the secret handshakes and work on your positioning. It’s a World Cup year lad.

#5 Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion)

Secret-agent Ben Foster did his utmost to make sure his old employers Manchester United emerged victorious at The Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon. Sent on a mission by then-Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2011, Foster is still under instructions to resemble anything other than the calm, stable presence that a struggling back four needs behind it when playing against Manchester United. Despite flapping at crosses like a blind man trying to swat a fly, Foster wasn’t however at fault for either of United two goals. Secret agent Jonny Evans didn’t get the memo and played quite well. Fergie, who is essentially M from James Bond, will be sure to summon Evans to his office at Carrington soon.

#6 Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)

And finally, the token Scotsman. When Jurgen Klopp signed left-back Andrew Robertson from relegated Hull City in the summer, there were no Reds fans clawing at the gates of Anfield, desperate to see their new idol attempt a few keepie-ups. You won’t find many seven-year-old scousers wearing LFC shirts with ‘Robertson’ on the back. But, after initially not being deemed good enough for the starting line-up by boss Klopp, Robertson is really starting to prove his worth – bombing down the left flank and providing a great overlap outlet. Robertson caused Bournemouth problems all game, alternating between overlapping and underlapping and providing fantastic decoy runs to provide space for the fantastic Philipe Coutinho. Pacy, questionable defensive qualities – that sounds like a legendary Liverpool left-back in the making there. Watch out, Alberto Moreno.

About the Author

Dan Davison
Born in Scotland, raised in England, now living in Seville, Spain. Still convinced that one day a scout will watch me playing five-a-side and realise I am what their team needs to take them to the next level. In the meantime I'm writing. Support York City and Hibernian (don't ask).