Well our last article on this series showed that Shane Ferguson is regarded by our readers as the future of Newcastle United, with somewhere in the region of 98% of voters declaring him too good to let go.
I have always been a fan of the lad, but was surprised by the level of faith in shown in him across the board from our fans. He is obviously a real talent.
This time we are looking at Haris Vuckic. The vast majority of readers will be aware of the lad and may have heard about his “highly rated” tag, but some may not know much about him so I’ll try and clear it up for you now. Here goes.
This Slovenia international midfielder could well be going places. Signing for the Toon in January 2009, he made his reserves debut in February of that year from the bench against Blackburn – scoring the winning goal. Despite having hardly any top flight experience the 6’3″ attacking player has already been linked with moves to sides such as Real Madrid and AC Milan on a number of occasions. But why?
Well, his first club in his homeland – NK Domzale thought he was such a talent that they defied the Slovenian FA by playing him under age at just 15 years old – and promptly earned themselves a fine as a result. Newcastle snapped him up promptly afterwards and he went on to win a youth tournament in Bosnia with our U18’S. Not only that, but he took the ‘golden boot’ and player of the tournament award for good measure too.
Former youth coach Richard Money once had this to say about him: “He’s got everything really; great size, good athlete, change of pace and he’s very clever and creative with the ball. I think that given the right environment and the right development then he’s got a big future ahead of him.”
A couple of years ago this club probably would not have made the right environment for him to grow, however it now seems there is a real structure falling into place that is allowing the younger lads to actually get a bit of first team football under their belts – provided they are good enough.
So what is his style of play? Well, he is forward thinking and direct. At his height and 12 stone 4 pounds, he is well equipped to deal with burly defenders trying to bully him off the ball. He is not exactly the fastest, but is by no means slow either. I would not describe Haris as the most ‘showboat’ type of player either. He is not full of flicks and tricks. Don’t get me wrong, the lad has skill in abundance. It is just not in your face. His skill in passing by opposition players is based on subtlety, little drops of the shoulder and tricks when necessary built on a formula involving vision, positional understanding and efficient passing. In short, the lad does not need lots of pace or an abundance of tricks because he is so damn intelligent. He grasps the concept of the game beautifully.
I have heard people begin to whisper that Vuckic does not seem to be making the expected step up and he may miss the boat if he does not seize his chance soon. That is madness! He only turned 19 in August. To date he has made 9 appearances for the 1st team, 5 from the bench. However last season he was an 18 year old boy, the year before that he was….well you get the picture. He’s still very young.
In response to those questioning his future – I bet you he will double his appearances for this club by the end of this season with ease and score too. The only reason he has not added to his appearances this season is due to a hand injury that put him out of action for 6 weeks. He had already played for us this season against Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup and made an appearance in the Premier League as a late sub in the win against Fulham – only for the aforementioned injury to cut his game shorter than it already was.
Indeed, this pre-season Haris Vuckic was arguably one of our very top performers. He scored against Leeds and Colombus Crew, demonstrating his attacking prowess with good finishes on top of strong performances. He is valued highly by our current coaching set up – Alan Pardew handed him a five and a half year deal almost as soon as he took over at the club.
Haris made his comeback from injury last Thursday by coming off the bench for his country’s U21 side in a 1-1 draw against Sweden. His side came from behind to salvage a result there and Vuckic is largely credited with being the driving force behind the comeback.
That is welcome news. I am struggling to remember a time when we had so much healthy competition for a place in the Newcastle United midfield and no doubt, Vuckic will be fighting the other lads for a chance to claim a regular slice of the action now he is back from injury. He gives us a different option.
We just about have it all in midfield now – players that between them have intelligence, pace, skill, vision, accurate passes, goals, assists, crosses and defensive tenacity. That gives the club scope for change. The ability to adapt to changing conditions against teams with varying styles and formations – and Haris Vuckic offers his own uniques attributes that can help our cause when he is called upon.
As I have mentioned , the young potential star has intelligence, positional awareness, a good strong accurate shot, subtle skills, neat passes and a will to take the game to the opposition. He is a left footer that is comfortable on his right (defenders will find that difficult) and is a commanding presence on his day. He fits the bill for the technical, continental style of play it seems the club is moving towards. On the negative side – a lad his size should really be better in the air and his tackling could improve. However, he is on the right lines and with a bit of first team experience this season I can see him really kicking on. It will be difficult as the competition he has for a place is fierce…
Personally, I can see Haris playing just off the main strike occasionally too. He would do well up there as he can finish and has the presence. He can also link up the play. I feel this article is perhaps a little biased as I firmly believe this lad will be a very good player in the future – but what do you readers think?
As always we will put this one to a vote and welcome you to share your thoughts on the matter. So, over to you.