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To assess Korey’s impact on the 2010/2011 campaign, I guess we first have to look at his impact on the 2009/2010 season. To put it bluntly he played out of his skin. Nobody could have foreseen that he would have been an undisputed first choice – not least because Tom Adeyemi was the promising young gun everyone was expecting to come through first.

Despite Rusty’s departure, it was never going to be easy for Korey what with the signing of Andrew Crofts, David Fox and Andrew Surman to bolster the midfield. Indeed look at the midfield which started the Watford game on the opening day of the season – Fox, Crofts, Surman, Hoolahan – and then look at the midfield which finished the season against Coventry – the same combination.

Korey managed to start 19 league games and come off the bench in 9 more – and for the first half of the season was a regular starter in a side which was firmly entrenched around the play off positions. Without bothering to do any proper research on soccerbase or similar site, I doubt there were many if any 19/20 year olds in the sides in the top six of the Championship who played as much as Korey did (apologies if there were but none spring to mind). To sum up the boy is still doing better than anyone can have expected him to!

Two words can possibly define why his season fell away – Jem Karacan. The nasty little Reading midfielder, who also tried to put Foxy on the injured list, did Korey at the end of the infamous 3-3 draw – and it was for complaining at the horror of that tackle that Lambert was banished to the stands. Korey was, as a consequence, a fitness doubt for the home leg of the 9-2 demolition against the binners – Lansbury played and bar a run of 5 starts around the turn of the year, he never really got another look in.

My dad asked me a couple of times “what has Korey done wrong”. Well simple really, he didn’t do anything wrong – he was left out of the team because we have better players in the same position as him. There’s no great shame in that and hopefully he has learnt plenty whilst watching from the sidelines. He’s not yet the finished article – his passing needs to be sharper and he needs to be more composed when in possession. It may well be he ends up as a holding midfielder – in which case his positional discipline needs work – or he may establish himself as a box to box midfielder – in which case he needs to work on his finishing. These things will come in time – his attitude always appear spot on and his work rate should be a shining example to many who have “graced” our midfield over the last few years!

So what does 2011/2012 hold for Korey? That’s not easy to assess – there can be no doubt that he will stay at the club and it is obvious he is held in high esteem by the management team. But, our current first choice midfield is strong and it would be a surprise if one or two “quality” midfielders/wingers didn’t walk through the door before the Premier League campaign gets underway. So Korey’s role may be versatile squad player, especially with the Premier League rules on home grown players affecting our 25 man squad, but for his long term benefit he may well be best off on loan to a Championship side. But wherever he is called upon, you know what you’re getting; an unending commitment that makes me suspect he’s one of Lambert’s favourites.

by Philip Wright

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