Can, Emre Can.

EC1 WPThis end of season player review was written for
The Tomkins Times.

Not Jackie or Charlie. Emre. The German midfielder of Turkish decent.

Before joining Liverpool in 2014, he’d played for Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, all before reaching 20.

So good were his formative years, his four year contract with Leverkusen was only 25% completed before a release clause activating offer of 9.75mGBP smoothed his journey to Anfield.

But a starting berth in defence under Rodgers became a midfield place with compatriot Klopp, and the Kop saw a transformation from young adaptability into potential midfield hero. 

His debut season was not one of petulance from being played out of position, but one of praise for versatility. While this versatility went by the wayside in 2015/16, we saw a young man growing into a midfielder of great potential and making groß strides in the position of his preference through surging runs, perfectly timed sturdy tackles and never-say-die will against the very best opposition in the Premier League.

Throw-in his Merseyside derby antagonism, and he was bubbling up as a cult favourite. Soon the continuous stream of praise from compatriot Klopp saw all this mature in to widespread admiration for a determined young player with class and intelligence, yet not afraid to stick a boot in; his regular bookings confirm this.

Can is making the number 23 his own. He’s not being weighed down by its history, he is forging a new narrative, but it’s instilled with the same work ethic of its former owner.

Let’s not be coy about Can; we have Henderson, Lallana, Allen and Coutinho all with a first team role to play – a great position for our manager to be in. It’s not a first XI and subs, but a first XXII. A transitional set of players to work to each other’s ability.

If Lallana doesn’t look like offering his usual menace after his Nivea application, in steps our growling, leather bound future Grundgestein, already pure class with his polished deep mahogany looks, so sleek I’m sure he’s made of real panther as he prowls around the pitch, snarling. His menacing glare threading fear through the opposition; and he hasn’t even got the ball yet! 

EC2 WPCan’s passing is on a par with Henderson, Lallana and Coutinho, all around the 80% mark (-/+ 3%). With this consistency our midfield can keep possession. Others may score more goals, Phil for example. While a few more isn’t a bad idea, it isn’t his role to do so but assists can be as vital. His tackling success rate is high (87.3%); he does exactly what it says on the tin.

These are key areas for the role he plays, he can win the ball and pass it to a team mate, or he stops an opponent making progress, leading to an alignment with Michael Ballack.

Many a Kop heart bled as he lay injured in the goal against Dortmund, but 21 days later, wounded hearts began to throb with news of a place in the squad, to be usurped by a ferocious beating as Can was named in the starting line up. As if to fulfil the European fairytale the colossal Can offered an imperious display of all his worth, enough to cover his missing weeks, and then some, well into to next season.

This recent comeback from injury shows his robustability. Being able to heal quickly and successfully is a real quality, back it up with a great medical team he is less likely to be out with niggles and twists.

Can was one of Liverpool’s best performers over the 2015/16 season, both in his onfield presence and visual performance through to boiled down stats. Add goals and he’s pure gold. I have very high hopes for him, his unique attributes in the squad give him desirability. Add this to the other players who carry the same worth, he’s a vital cog in the future. A player like Can is paramount to keep.

Many will use past heroes to endorse our new chosen ones. And while Ballack and the Pig Climber are a valid Teutonic fit, Can’s neither. He’s the Emre Can. So good he has his full name on his shirt.

This review and many other Liverpool FC articles can be read on The Tomkins Times.

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