Adam Le Fondre is a striker. A striker's job, in two words, is: score goals. That's undoubtedly something that the 27-year-old can do and will do at whatever club he plays for.
Despite hardly featuring for the first team this season, the Englishman is the Royals' top scorer with 7 goals, and even manages to add on an assist. Quite impressive for a player who's made 18 appearances, half of which have been in the final minutes of a game Adkins' men are losing.
According to WhoScored.com, he takes an average of 1.3 shots per game and only mkes 0.4 key passes per game. Not statistics that shine him in a great light - but it does highlight his excellent finishing ability. Give him a chance to shoot, he'll more than likely score.
Yet with an average of 0.1 dribbles per game, it shows that he's not a striker likely to make something out of nothing; especially when his passing success average so far this season is only 73.8%. His defensive work isn't great either, with 0.4 tackles and 0.1 interceptions on average. Of course, it's to be expected that a striker won't be making lots of tackles when so high up the pitch, and especially with so many of his appearances coming at the end of games, with Reading pushing high and getting balls into the box.
The question is: does Le Fondre deserve his chance in the first team, or is he being over-hyped by himself and a selection of fans because of the lack of goals?
With this in mind, it's worth looking at his recent comments about playing time (or lack of) and possibly moving on.
It is frustrating for me as a footballer and I want to play games. That is what I am paid to do. I am not paid to sit and watch games.
I want to play games and that is something I have not been doing.
I haven't played for two months now and for someone who is leading the goalscoring charts, to not have sufficient playing time is something for me to look at.
I was meant to get a deal in February last year and that has been put on the back burner for nearly a year now.
So I think the writing is on the wall for me if I read between the lines.
Fair comments; and on other media sites he cites the fact that Robson-Kanu has been played up top as another reason for him to be agitated.
Adkins, however, has other ideas.
I've got empathy with him in respect that he wants to play games of football.
But he's got to respect his team-mates and respect his club.
At the end of the day he's just got to get on with it.
Also fair comments.
Despite his goals, many would argue that Le Fondre simply doesn't offer enough to the team in open play. A danger in the penalty area; but a passenger outside it - and when the team is struggling to create many chances, there's not much point of playing the man nicknamed Alfie.
The most irritating thing about the situation is the fact that Le Fondre has made his feelings known so openly. He's not holding back and is clearly unsettled, but Adkins doesn't strike me as the type of manager who will give in so easily to a player who's making noises to the media.
And let's be honest, his statistics aren't that impressive (except for the goals scored) and he's not the type of player a Premier League manager would take a gamble on. If Le Fondre was to leave, he'd leave to a club on the same level as Reading, or lower.
Probably not what he's after.
And what about you guys? What do you think should happen? @TheTilehurstEnd on Twitter asked the question, and you answered. Here's a selection:
@TheTilehurstEnd sell for about £4mil when owner situation sorted, use the money to get 2 strikers a cb and a lb, maybe a midfielder too
— Hugh van-de-l'isle (@hughvmarxist) January 7, 2014
@TheTilehurstEnd if it's a good offer, let him go. And welcome him warmly if he ever returns with another team
— Colm Murphy (@colm_m) January 7, 2014
@TheTilehurstEnd if the player wants to go and the club receive an acceptable offer then in the interest of all to sell
— Mark Sugar (@marksugar) January 7, 2014
@TheTilehurstEnd Keep him at all costs, the issue is Adkins's system does not create clear chances for Alfie or any striker.
— Gary Woodward (@GaryWoodwar1972) January 7, 2014
Adkins has said that Le Fondre needs to look at himself and ask just why he isn't playing. That's a "show me why you should be playing" challenge if ever I've heard one.
So come on, Adam, knuckle down and sort it out; don't throw the toys out of the pram.
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