Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lescott's press conference

There was some interesting comments that came out of the Joleon Lescott press conference yesterday, as he was finally unveiled as a City player.

Firstly, on wanting to move, and the reaction from David Moyes:

"I was upset when I heard what he (Moyes) had said and I don't think the comments were accurate, particularly the way that I was meant to have conducted myself," Lescott said. "Everton didn't want to sell me so I didn't expect them to say: 'Oh, go on, Joleon, you can go.' But I haven't done anything different to what anyone in any other profession strives for. People want new challenges and to better themselves and I'm no different.

"It was disappointing to hear that," he continued. "I don't think that was fair or accurate, but they were all OK with me anyway. Louis Saha came straight out and said I had conducted myself properly, which was nice to hear. Even so, I would like to apologise to anyone who feels let down by me."

"I understand where he was coming from. I just had to make it clear that I wanted to leave. We've all got to move on now. He and I spoke on Saturday when the deal was coming to a close. I said goodbye to everyone at the training ground and we now move on in our separate ways."

And on why he wanted to join City, and what he hopes to achieve:

"I wanted to make the change and I am glad that it is all over now. I'm not saying it was an easy decision, but it didn't take me long to decide to come to City. The ambition here is really big and I want to be a part of it.

"Everybody outside the top four wants to get there and I just feel that City are the best-equipped to do that at the moment."

"It was time for me to make the change, and my target now is to just play as many games as I can this season - you don't join a big club like this and expect to go straight in.

"We want to finish as high as we can in the League of course, and fourth place is achievable when you look around the dressing-room. We've signed players from some of the biggest clubs in the world, and that shows the ambition here.

"I think we're better equipped than Everton to finish fourth. I reached the FA Cup Final last season, which is an achievement. The next step is to win a trophy. I sense that feeling here."

Whilst Lescott (and Gareth Barry before him) took some heat for moving, leaving clubs who had finished above us during 2008/09, the unequivocal fact is that outside of the top four, for players looking to break into the Champions League set up, we do offer the best opportunity to do that. There was probably the feeling that whilst Everton and Aston Villa have been consistently around the top six the past two or three seasons, they may well have peaked in terms of their achievement and to take the next step (Champions League and trophies) may well be a step too far.

Importantly, for the long term, players I'm sure know what the possibilities on offer at the club are. There is no guarantee of achieving any of this of course, but with Lescott (and Barry) of similar age, they are arguably coming into their peak years as players and this move offers the opportunity to be part of something that is being built, and something that has huge ambitions.

Doubling your wages helps too, I'm sure.

Undoubtedly Mark Hughes was always going to be fulsome in his praise of his Lescott, but was particularly effusive regarding his talents, and how good he can become:

"I fully expect him to become the best central defender in the country. He is at the stage of his career where there is further development in him.

"He is at a club on which there is a huge focus. He will have to deal with that. That makes players grow. We have invested a lot of money in him and with that comes a responsibility.

“Joleon can be as good as John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. That is the challenge for Joleon. It will not faze him. He is a driven young man and wants to be the best he can be."

Big praise indeed. I do think he will have to go some to leapfrog either Terry or Ferdinand to become first choice for England, and whilst involved in the national set-up, he isn't fully established and I would argue he is more at an England 'B' level at the moment.

I've talked before about the type of player that Hughes has looked to add to the squad, and most, you could argue, are players who have something to prove, and an ambition to better themselves.

Lescott does have time on his side, and one thing he will have provided is the opportunity to unseat Terry or Ferdinand.

Should he achieve that on merit, then you have to say that the fee, whilst exorbitant, may ultimately look like money well spent.

vote it up!

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