He appears, on the surface, to have an awful lot of the attributes which would attract you to a player. He's quick and very neat; his first touch is good and immediately after we signed him I enjoyed watching his tidy recirculation of the ball. Here's a player who's sound in possession and technically solid, I thought, and I was also encouraged by my previous memory of him. He came on as a substitute against us for Mansfield a couple of years ago and completely changed the game, running through our defence, setting up a goal and winning a penalty as The Stags came from behind to claim a point
And that's the problem. Scouts and managers go to games, see good technical attributes and perhaps catch a player on a good day, and buy them based on that potential. Indeed, there is something there, but the fact is that potential is a capricious mistress. Just because a player might be capable of putting everything together and devastating opponents doesn't mean they actually will do it consistently.
Brown had the qualities required but a glance at his career record-just 28 goals in 162 matches, roughly one every six games-suggested he didn't use them often enough.
Saunders has had to be harsh with players that he might be tempted to accommodate, and he's making the right calls, it seems to me. If only Little, who jettisoned players who had been performing, had done the same.