Friday, June 17, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 70 and 69

70. Dirk Kuyt- Over the years, Kuyt has forged a reputation as one of the most underrated players in English football, a work horse who is willing to give everything for the cause, and more often then not comes up with the goods.

Kuyt came into the 2010/11 season off the back of disappointment in the World Cup final, and perhaps it showed a little bit as both club and players struggled during the first part of the Premier League season. However, come the second half of the season and Kenny Dalglish's return to the club, the Dutchman sprung into action scoring goals galore, and helping the Reds on their way to a terrific run of results.

There is no question which performance headlined Kuyt's season, scoring a hat trick against Manchester United is always special, but doing it for Livepool at Anfield is just something else. Kuyt was at his very best that day, poaching three goals and sending Manchester United to a defeat which in the end was not severe enough to prevent them from claiming their nineteenth league title.

Kuyt is a man supremely dedicated to the cause, and you can be sure that next season he will be back at Anfield and prepared to fight for the Champions League place which Liverpool surrendered two years ago.

69. Leighton Baines- Over the past twelve months, Leighton Baines has become a consistent member of the English national squad; a more than capable replacement for Ashley Cole.

Gifted with ability in attack as well as in defense, Baines is a typical modern full back, constantly marauding forward, but also solid at the back. Baines' crossing has caused defenses all kinds of problems this season, and his talent at scoring free kicks and penalties has provided Everton with some useful goals.

After being cut from Fabio Capello's World Cup squad, Baines rebounded very well, and was by far Everton's best player of 2010/11. Five league goals from the full back position is very impressive indeed, and add another two FA Cup goals to that and you realize what kind of attacking threat Baines poses; although the vast majority of those goals did come from free kicks or penalties.

Baines has been linked to all the top clubs in England as well as German behemoths Bayern Munich, though talk of a move has cooled over the past few weeks. Baines seems happy at Everton, but most rising stars desire Champions League football, and that lust could drag the talented Englishman away from the Toffees.

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