Writer: Mikey Delap
Date:Sunday September 13 2009
We're four games into a new season and whilst we have got less points than our performances have actually merited we are now set up to have a decent season with strong home form.
Everything seems a little rosier now we have got our first win on the board and we can all look ahead with renewed optimism to a strong showing in the league with everybody more or less fit.
Granted time will tell whether players such as the excellent David Dunn, the uncompromising Vinny Grella and the power of Steven Reid can stay fit for long but the really good news from the start of the 2009/10 season is from a man who is more or less always fit.
Morten Gamst Pedersen came into English football a prized capture by Graeme Souness and thrived under Mark Hughes during the 04/05 season and the 05/06 season - he gained rave reviews for his spectacular strikes and his sterling work rate. £2.5 million for his signature seemed like a snip.
But something happened after this honeymoon period which affected him. It could of been that all the early success went to his head, it could of been that there was no real threat to his position in the team or he could of just lost his passion for the Rovers. In my estimate it was probably a little bit of everything mentioned that contributed to a dramatic drop in form and a startling inconsistency that has plagued his last three seasons at Ewood Park.
The stunning goals had dried up, in fact only one goal in each of the last two seasons is something of a joke (and not a very funny one) for a man who use to pitch in with twelve goals a season. Add to this that his corner taking became lazy and his set pieces and crossing were a constant disappointment. The jewel in the Rovers crown had gone stale and he had become a liability.
But luckily for us followers of Arte Et Labore something has changed this season. A combination of the fact it is 'contract' year, a kick up the backside from well known man manager Sam Allardyce and new threats to his position in the shape of Elrio Van Heerden and Aaron Doran have given Morten the spur to reclaim past standards. He has a new lease of life at Rovers and he looks like a guy we can depend on to create as well as pitch in with the goals again.
Taking the games against Man City, Sunderland and Wolves as a sample of games this season - Morten has been back to his best. He has that swagger on the ball that he used to have and his crosses looked threatening again with that whip on the ball that he can deliver like few others. Now whilst it is not lost on me that it is only four games played and the more cynical of Rovers fans will moan that it is not a long enough stretch of games to truly judge whether the man known as MGP is certifiably back to his old self BUT the early signs are encouraging.
He has got this season off on the right foot with a good pre-season and a new determined look on his face to silence to the doubters. Throw in the fact that Morten never lost his talent he just lost the ability to apply himself well. If this is what we can expect from Pedersen then the whole club will benefit.
Welcome back Morten, you have no idea how good it feels to say that.
Date:Sunday September 13 2009
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