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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BBC on Sunderland's Kavanagh's Dominating Performance Against QPR

BBC - Best ouside the Premiership? by Jonathan S - BBC Sport 29 November 2006
When Roy Keane became Sunderland boss in August, one of his first delves into the transfer market was for the Wigan and Republic of Ireland midfielder Graham Kavanagh, for £500,000.
That the grey-haired schemer was available at all must have come as a major surprise to many clubs.
Kavanagh had after all played 42 games for Wigan last season as the Latics stunned the sceptics by finishing 10th in the Premiership and getting to the final of the Carling Cup.
But boss Paul Jewell wanted to improve further and signed a host of new players in the summer, which meant Kavanagh, just a few months ago an integral part of the side, had slipped down the pecking order and on to the bench for the first two games of the season.
Keane made his move, Kavanagh made the switch, and on the back of the 33-year-old's display in the 2-1 win at QPR on Tuesday, it could just turn out to be the Championship buy of the season.
Kavanagh was majestic, turning in a performance that suggested Sunderland could yet have a say in the end-of-season promotion shake-up.
In the first half, as Sunderland dominated possession and bossed proceedings, Kavanagh had almost exclusive rights to the football.
He always managed to find the time and space to play despite the furious action going on around him, creating little angles for passess and always being available for a team-mate.
As the home side fought their way back towards the end, Kavanagh astutely provided a shield for the Black Cats' defence. He sat in front of the back four and organised and cajoled his team-mates as they began to panic at the thought of letting a two-goal lead slip and having to share a dressing-room with Roy Keane.
The great thing about watching a player like Kavanagh on a night like that is just appreciating how well he can read a situation.
He may not be the archetypal box-to-box midfielder, but when a situation calls for a certain type of player, he knows exactly what his job is.
And his knowledge of the Championship is crucial too, especially as he knows exactly how to get out of the league in recent times.
For my money, Graham Kavanagh is probably the best footballer in England plying his trade outside the Premiership.
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts...

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