Fan Danny B made the following comment in our Cody Arnoux post late last month.
Danny B’s comments, “I am an Evertonian, and I have to admit I have a fondness for Americans, particularly with the previous signings of Joe Max-Moore and Brian McBride on a loan spell, and now Tim Howard and our new recruits from MLS.
Thanks Danny. That’s now 3 different U.S. strikers that will showcase in the Toffee line-up in a decade if Arnoux can find his way onto the pitch for at least some mop up time in 2009.
A lot has changed since Joe Max-Moore made history with a stunning start for Everton in 1999.
Chiefly, in regards to striker play, is the introduction of stronger and more physically and offensively gifted defenders in the EPL.
Max-Moore and Cody Arnoux are virtually the same stature, both standing nearly 5’9” and tipping in at about 160lbs. Those are some slighter dimensions.
However, Arnoux will be going up against fullbacks such as Kolo Toure, Brede Hangeland (gosh, imagine if we got him on the USMNT instead of his Norway allegiance), Nemanja Vidic among others. These athletes are comparatively bigger than their yesteryear counterparts.
I dare say a player like Gary Neville, a technically proficient defender in his day, would hard pressed to lock down a starting role in today’s game. (I’m sure I’ll get feedback on that comment).
Conversely, I think this is why you see players–specifically those with Iberian peninsula roots–like Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo himself departing to play in leagues where they don’t have to get ground down on a game by game basis by physically imposing defenders. I’m sure Ronaldo also wants the pomp, circumstance, food and women of Spain as well, but don’t think for a second that he doesn’t want to deal with less knock downs on a weekend basis.
Getting back to Arnoux, I think for this to work for him, he’s going to need to prove and learn to play against a much stronger defender. At Wafe Forest, Arnoux was crafty and smart with his runs. If he can’t take a hit in the EPL, he’s going to do just fine.