ITV Wales‘ Rob King gives his view on the Jay Bothroyd debate and he believes the Cardiff City star should play for England again
By Rob King
It might have happened almost two weeks ago but Jay Bothroyd’s England debut and the reaction to it is still provoking plenty of debate, so here’s my own contribution!
First of all, I have to say that as someone who’s been watching Cardiff City for more than 50 years – I was very, very young when my Dad first pushed my pram down to Ninian Park – he’s right up there with the best strikers I’ve seen in the blue shirt.
I just missed Trevor Ford, but that’s still a list that runs from the likes of Gerry Hitchens, Derek Tapscott, Mel Charles, John Toshack, Brian Clark, Alan Warboys, Adrian Alston, Tony Evans, and Phil Stant up to Earnie and Chops in more recent times.
You could of course add others to that list – the great John Charles usually played at centre half by the time he came back to Wales – but you get the picture.
Anyway, the point is that Jay offers something special, in that he combines so many of the qualities of all of the above. Big, good in the air, strong on the ground – where he still ends up a little too often, to be fair – a lovely first touch, real pace for a player of his size, the ability to beat his man, good vision, and a good finisher.
So good that I’m still scratching my head at the chances he missed against Forest.
In short, a very, very good striker indeed. It’s widely agreed that only the attitude and temperament problems of his younger days, to which he now readily admits, have prevented him realising his massive potential for so long, and so much credit must go to Dave Jones for bringing him to Cardiff and helping him to flourish.
All the manager needs now is to find a way of playing without him – City are clearly half the team they should be when Jay’s not there. I remain convinced, for instance, that the Bluebirds would have beaten Blackpool, good though they were, without his early departure at Wembley.
As to his England future – who would presume to read the mind of Fabio Capello? Jay Bothroyd certainly deserves another England opportunity, and although whether or not he gets it isn’t something which keeps too many Cardiff supporters awake at night, perhaps it should be.
Clearly, his chances of further international recognition would improve if he played in the Premier League, and I believe that’s where he’ll be next season.
Hopefully that will be with Cardiff, but as we all know, he’s out of contract in the summer, and I simply can’t see him staying if City miss out on what must be their best chance in forty years of a top-two finish.
The best-case scenario would see Jay Bothroyd sign a new contract in the near future, probably containing a clause allowing him to be sold for a stipulated minimum fee if the Bluebirds fail to achieve promotion.
Then again, why should he? That raises the real possibilities of January transfer bids from clubs in the middle and lower reaches of the Premier League, which you’d hope the Cardiff Board would have the courage and vision to resist.
So, yes, I feel Jay Bothroyd will wear the white shirt of England again. The most important point is that after he does, he then comes back to wear the blue shirt of Cardiff City.