Alan Smith is an example to all footballers

There was once a time where Alan Smith was a lethal and clinical striker. He had it all. A set of trendy bleach blonde hair, the cocky confident stroll of a 90s Premiership player and he was becoming one of the best goal strikers England had seen in a long time. The turn of the centaury saw the talented young boy sparkle in the Champions League and earn himself a £7 million move to the most illustrious side in the world; Manchester United. Smith is now currently negotiating a contract with League One side Milton Keynes Dons.

The memories of Smith’s talents have withered away leaving nothing but a defensive midfielder with Premiership experience and a devoted love for the game. Perhaps it was injuries that were the crucial element in the 31 year olds decline down the football ladder or perhaps it is luck. Michael Owen, once another prolific goal scorer is currently a free agent and is likely to find another team with a high reputation. Owen has finished his contract at Manchester United in which his season consisted of 1 appearance, no goals and a hefty wage bill. I am sure Alan Smith would have fitted this role. 

But Alan Smith was on loan at MK Dons from Newcastle, the club in which he joined from United and once again made little contribution to the team. The question is how has a once Premiership class striker turned into a League One standard defensive midfielder. It was at Manchester United where falling behind Van Nisterooy and Rooney that Ferguson molded Smith into the player he is now. Smith had the desire and passion to fit the role, he lunged into challenges, raced around the pitch and put everything he could into the single minutes he had on the football pitch. But this was all he had.

At Newcastle he was more fitted to the Championship level but still never a first team player in his new position. Alan Smith has successfully tried and failed as a defensive midfielder, yet due to his perished and abandoned goal scoring talents it is all he has to fall back on.

I stand proud of Smith and his grit and determination to play football, since the days of Leeds and Manchester United it has not been about the wage alike many football players but the role he can play in a club and getting 90 minutes each week. He has been kind to football unfortunately the game has not returned the favor, at the age of 31 his pace and talents are never coming back and I can’t see a higher level than League One for Smith.

But maybe he is the example football needs, a player simply enjoying himself. Enjoying the beautiful game no matter what circumstances are thrown at you. Alan Smith may have cost the football world £13 million, but his spirited and determinate performances are priceless to the generation of young English footballers growing up in a time of diving and money grabbing.

Liam Kurtis

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