Writer: Mikey Delap
Date:Wednesday December 9 2009
Nikola Kalinic is adjusting to life in the Premier League just fine - that is the view of Rovers boss Sam Allardyce as the man now known as Niko finally makes some promising steps into the Premier League fray.
His performances after a somewhat horror debut have been very much improved - he has been very strong and athletic for my money in games against Chelsea and Liverpool and Sam knows that his patient approach is paying dividends.
Sam, speaking to Sky Sports said - "You are sick to death of people asking 'when is Niko going to play, when is Niko going to play?
'That always happens at my level when you get anybody, on a free transfer or whether they were bought for £6million.
"We play them when they are ready and we expect the rest of the lads, who are experienced in the Premier League, to make sure we don`t have to throw them in before they are quite ready.
"When they are ready and they go in, then they start getting the confidence they need to play in this league, because it is the hardest league in the world.
"I am not going to throw anyone in too early because they might never come back.
'I use the example of one of the best strikers in the world - Shevchenko.
'His confidence was destroyed because he got used before he was ready for the Premier League.
"The last thing we want when we spend £6million is for it not too work.
'It is not about working today or tomorrow, it is about working for the next four years of his contract."
Sam also took time to mention Kalinic's contribution to the game against Liverpool on Saturday.
Allardyce continued - "He had only been on a short while but when the game has opened up, he has got the ball off Chimbonda, wriggled his way to a chance and obviously he lent back and put it over the bar.
"Sooner or later he will start putting them in the net.
'He has shown he can create a chance for himself when you feed him in the box.
"In the last minute, it is toe-poking it and it is a matter of inches either way.
'Either it goes in and he is the hero or it doesn`t.
"You have to praise the goalkeeper because it is more like a rugby tackle than a real tackle but he has done enough to make him take his eye off the ball and he hasn`t had the opportunity to hit it as clean as he wanted.
"I can`t criticise him too much. He is coming on'.
For my point of view, Niko has a touch of Matt Jansen about him. He is quick and can get in good positions from what I have seen.
It has been annoying not to have seen him a bit more up to now but I think we can acknowledge that Big Sam is handling him in the right way.
Date:Wednesday December 9 2009
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