Cardiff City Season Review: McNaughton
2: KEVIN McNAUGHTON:
If I were feeling particularly lazy, I could easily dig out the 2007-08 review for Kevin McNaughton and I`m sure it would be perfectly applicable. I haven`t read it in a year but I`m sure words such as consistent, high work-rate, determination and impressive all featured heavily. Super Kev has again been a key player for the Bluebirds, tying down the right side of our defence with some gutsy and assured performances.
There are more eye-catching right-backs in the Championship, the likes of Angel Rangel (Swansea City) or Kyle Naughton (Sheffield United) spring to mind but few Cardiff City fans would swap McNaughton for any other right-back outside the Premiership. The fact is he is balanced, agile, pacy and extremely efficient. McNaughton is always on the move, covers well for others and despite his young age he is a mature and calm influence on the pitch.
Dave Jones does like his full-backs to support in attack, and McNaughton is always willing to link up and overlap. However, for lengthy periods this season he has been afforded little cover by Whittingham (always drifting infield and avoiding possession) or Paul Parry who often gives away possession just at the wrong time. McNaughton`s final ball has not always been the best, and he will be disappointed not to receive the ball on many of his forays forward meaning he did not score this season.
It's difficult to pick out individual displays over the course of the season, simply due to the consistently high level of performance. However, strangely enough his perfomance in a 3-0 defeat stands out as virtually immaculate! Down to 9 men and a goal down against Sheffield United, McNaughton was shifted to an un-natural centre-back position and was superb. His awareness, reading of the games and execution of headers and tackled were brilliant. Without Kev, it could have been a massacre.
Yet again, Kevin McNaughton has put in a very good season. The likes of Roger Johnson, Ross McCormack, Joe Ledley etc have all courted attention for some time and regularly appear in gossip columns - however, McNaughton never seems to draw this speculation and long may that continue…
Season Rating: 8