2011/12 Season: The rise of the little guy!

RvP: "You feel so tiny in my arms Theo"

Once upon a time in England some bright spark decided that if you wanted to become a professional footballer then you would have to be of a certain size. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess of how many times a coach said to a young player “sorry son, you just haven’t grown and are too small to make it” – a truly sizest statement. It meant hundreds of people 5’9 or under were released on to our streets angry after the rejection, rocking around with a severe case of short man syndrome (SMS). This is obviously not true, but the fact we shunned talent in this country for so long based on size is ridiculous and we are now paying the price – look at Barcelona. Luckily Premier League teams recruit on ability nowadays and the smaller men are taking the Premier League by storm this year…so here is our round up to the top best smaller players so far this year.

10. Theo Walcott – Arsenal – 5ft 8ins
After an up and down start to the season, Arsenal have finally settled and found a bit of form and so has Theo Walcott. Still dispatched as a winger, he has managed to chip in with 2 goals, but a little more disappointingly only 1 assist which he will no doubt be looking to improve on. We all know the talent Walcott possesses and with Euro 2012 just around the corner the winger will want to keep up some of his early displays and make sure he makes the plane.
9. Stéphane Sessègnon – Sunderland – 5ft 7ins
Diminutive 27-year old Stéphane Sessègnon is now in his second full season in the Premier League and has made a positive start to this season. Sessègnon has already chipped in with 2 goals and 2 assists as the playmaker looks to make his mark on the Premier League. At one stage Sessègnon was widely regarded as one of La Ligue best and now he has had the time to adjust to the pace of the English game, big things are expected of Sessègnon from Steve Bruce and the Sunderland fans this season. He could be a surprise package if his early form continues.
8. Junior Hoilett – Blackburn Rovers – 5ft 8ins
Hoilett has been the shining light this season for Blackburn, chipping in with 2 goals and 3 assists already in this struggling side. Canadian born Junior Hoilett rose to prominence last season when the 21-year old turned in some fine displays which bought him to the attention of some bigger Premier League clubs. Defiantly the jewell in Blackburn’s bottom of the league crown at the moment and he won’t be there long if Blackburn’s bad run continues.
7. Javier Hernandez – Manchester United – 5ft 8ins
Hernandez aka ‘little pea’ has had an encouraging start to the season after a highly successful debut last term. Hernandez offers Manchester United the ‘fox in the box’ option, a smaller striker who can be a perfect foil to a bigger man and bag goals. And bag goals he has, having scored 4 already with 1 assist. Despite the slender frame of the 23-year old he still competes with his clever movement that avoids physical tussles with Premier League defenders. He has impressed so far, hence signing a new 5-year deal with the club and if he gets more games, the goals will follow.
6. Luis Nani – Manchester United – 5ft 9ins
We all know what Luis Nani can do, over the seasons we have seen flashes of individual genius that could be compared to that of national teammate & former Manchester United colleague Cristiano Ronaldo. Nani has had an indifferent start to the season finding himself on the bench for a few games, having to come on late and struggling to get in to games. Despite this, he has still managed to pick up a healthy 3 goals and 3 assists as he looks to establish himself as one of the Premier League’s best players this season.

5. Juan Mata – Chelsea – 5ft 6ins
Juan Mata sums up the typical Spanish midfielder; small in stature, but big in presence and has amazing technique and composure on the ball. Mata is in his first Premier League season and will take time to fully acclimatise, but he has still managed some impressive stats early in his career with 2 goals and 4 assists already for Chelsea. He seems to have effortlessly slotted in to the Chelsea midfield and become the player that many said they were lacking. He can only continue to get better and I am looking forward to seeing more of the creative midfielder as the season progresses.
4. Ashley Young – Manchester United – 5ft 9ins
Ashley Young has had a steady rise to success, but this season should cement him as one of the Manchester United’s and the Premier Leagues most potent attacking threats. Young has got his stats on the board early with 2 goals and 5 assists already, if he can continue these kind of figures there will be no doubt he will be on the plane to Euro 2012. He does need to make sure he keeps his performances levels up, but with his pace, crossing ability as well as delivery from set pieces, things should keep getting better for Ashley Young.
3. David Silva – Manchester City – 5ft 7ins
Arguably the Premier League’s top midfielder so far this season and with 3 goals and 6 assists already, few could argue with his prowess. Silva is a player who could fit in to any team in the world, it is lucky Manchester City have him as he is the type of player ready made for a side like Barcelona. Obviously not a big player in size, but now in reputation as his form in the Premier League has helped establish him as one of the world best. If Manchester City carry on the way they have started, then success will not be far away and neither will the accolades for Silva, an easy early candidate for player of the season.
2. Rafael Van der Vaart – Tottenham Hotspur – 5ft 9ins
Spurs seem to have a midfield the size of Barcelona with Van der Vaart playing just off the striker, backed up by Scott Parker (5ft 7ins) Luka Modric (5ft 8ins) and also speedy winger Aaron Lennon (5ft 5ins). Van der Vaart has impressed again so far this term, he has already notched 6 goals in his last 6 games and chipped in with 2 assists also. The diminutive midfield at Spurs is perfect for them to play football the way they want to play it with a lot of possession, passing and moving, and now they have Parker to clean up the mess they look a real force. If Van der Vaart can continue his form and Modric et al can start chipping with a few more goals and assists, who knows where Spurs could end up. 
1. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City – 5ft 7ins
Aguero is a man small in stature but big on talent having arrived from La Liga rated as one of the best strikers in the world, a statement fully endorsed by none other than Diego Maradona, perhaps the best smaller player of them all, standing at only 5ft 5ins. If England needed any reason as to why being smaller in football can be a massive positive, then Maradona is the only example you need. Aguero has been a revelation since his arrival at the Etihad Stadium and had simply been on fire this season with 9 goals and 3 assists. He came with the big reputation and has only enhanced it with his performances for City, he has literally been unstoppable. If his form continues then there is no reason why the mini, but mighty, pairing of Aguero and Silva can’t lead Manchester City to the title this season.

We may have missed a few naturally, so let us know some little men doing big things at your clubs. Remember to like our facebook page and share this with fellow football fans, if you want to that is!

All sizes used are approx as we can only go on information available on the internet from trusted sources.

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