David 'Junior' Hoilett 22 Midfielder Queens Park Rangers
David Hoilett, best known to Premier League fans around the world as "Junior", is an international man of mystery. He was born in the Canadian province of Ontario and is eligible to play for Canada, Jamaica and the United States of America, but has indicated a preference for England, where he took a place in Blackburn Rovers' youth system at the age of 13 and remained at the Lancashire club until their relegation from the top flight earlier this year.
He would be in with a chance, too. Roy Hodgson has deployed wide players in a variety of ways since taking over from Fabio Capello as England manager in May, and with Hoilett shining through the darkness of Rovers' unedifying self-destruction of recent years - Hoilett was identified by FIFA as a player to watch at the beginning of this year - it would not be out of the question for the Canadian to make a surprise impact on the national team in his adopted home. There have certainly been calls for him to do so.
Unfortunately for Hoilett, his preferred international route is believed to be blocked for the time being. Even under a relatively recently relaxed agreement between the home nations, the Queens Park Rangers winger cannot currently play for England. The wording of the agreement was changed two years ago to widen the eligibility rules from five years of schooling in the local FA's territory to five years of education up until the age of 18.
Hoilett, were it not for two years spent learning his trade on loan in Germany, would meet the revised requirement. His case arguably has the potential to force another revision.
One can understand why Hodgson might be intrigued. Hoilett is energetic and dynamic, translating his attacking verve into a disciplined and hard-working approach without the ball, characterised by his willingness to track back. On the ball, he dribbles well and can be a venomously tricky opponent for defenders, his abilities often evoking a bygone time when wingers were all the rage and full backs could be forgiven for developing a victim complex.
He can shoot from distance - not with any great consistency, admittedly - and can be deployed as an unorthodox striker or forward, as he has already this season for QPR. His best performance of the first couple of months of the Premier League season came in a loss against Tottenham Hotspur, a match in which he played just off target man Bobby Zamora and did a fine job in giving Spurs' defence plenty to worry about.
That he landed at Loftus Road after extricating himself from the chaos of Blackburn is the biggest indicator of his shortcomings. Like so many, Hoilett at his best is a pleasure to watch and a genuinely exciting player, full of drive and fizz and capable of hurting the opposition, and yet despite murmurings of interest from loftier rivals it was QPR who put a contract in front of him.
The move had an intriguing effect on his Opta statistics for this year. Up until November 1st, Hoilett's pass completion rate remained steady at 80-81% after his move, but other areas of his game have dropped. His chance conversion rate has more than halved to 10% at QPR, while his cross completion is down to just 6% from 25% at Blackburn. Perhaps there's something to be said for playing for a team that's fighting for its life - we could see him step up again next year on the same basis.
In some ways Hoilett is something of a highlights player, the kind of player who puts in a phenomenal performance every now and then but frequently looks the business on Match of the Day. He doesn't make a mark in every game, and when he does it is rarely for the whole game. If his influence were more consistent, one has to imagine that more of the clubs said to be interested this time last year would have bitten the bullet come June.
Before having any shot at England, no matter how unlikely, Hoilett needs to make his mark at Loftus Road, and manager Mark Hughes isn't making it easy for him. Perhaps the most difficult obstacle in Hoilett's early season was bouncing back from the disappointment of being inexplicably excluded from the Rs' game at home to West Ham United.
Despite defeats, Hoilett had won plaudits for fine performances against Tottenham and Reading in his two previous games - including a thumping goal to open the scoring in the League Cup loss to the Royals - but spent a Monday evening riding the pine as Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ji-Sung Park got the nod in a toothless Rangers performance. The calls for his reinstatement were as swift and fullsome as the confusion as to the reasons behind his omission.
It wasn't his first of the season - in fact, Hoilett started only half of QPR's first six Premier League games, a situation no doubt unfamiliar to a player who started 34 Premier League matches last term, and certainly unexpected. Hoilett's star was on the rise and QPR seemed a reasonable move, but with playing time limited so far it is difficult to argue that Hoilett has taken anything other than a sideways step when compared to last season.
"Gradually growing in influence at Loftus Road after Mark Hughes' questionable selections earlier in the season. A surprising move to QPR but Hoilett is growing by the game. Consistency is the key in 2013." - Chris Nee (The Stiles Council)
C- Popular with the fans, not relied upon by his manager
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