Considering the column inches that surrounded the departures of Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba from Manchester United, Zeki Fryers’ farewell was somewhat subdued in comparison.
But things have not exactly gone according to plan for the left-back since he opted not to renew his contract at Old Trafford.
He left the club for Belgian side Standard Liege, where he made just seven appearances before returning to England with Tottenham Hotspur.
But the player tipped by some to replace Patrice Evra at United struggled to get game-time at White Hart Lane.
In an age when more of the best players are breaking through in their teens – fellow left-back Luke Shaw one such example – Fryers had to make do with a string of appearances for Spurs’ under-21s.
When Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas with the promise of giving youth a chance, it seemed Fryers’ time would come. But while the likes of Nabil Bentaleb and Harry Kane impressed, Fryers enjoyed mere cameos.
By the end of last season the 21-year-old had made 16 appearances for Spurs in all competitions, but had started just eight games.
Considering the ongoing question marks about Spurs’ left-back position, next season is a huge one for Fryers. And in Mauricio Pochettino, he may just have found the man to make him shine.
Fryers is a supremely gifted young footballer. Indeed, while Sir Alex Ferguson may not say as much, you can be sure he was hugely disappointed when the youngster opted to leave.
The player may have most regularly featured on the left, but he was – and remains – a more than able centre-back with the stature, composure and passing range to succeed there.
Pochettino showed with the young players at Southampton that he was willing to give them a chance. And the same will surely happen at Tottenham.
But while some of the young stars have already been blooded in preparation for the bigger battles to come, you sense that Fryers’ time is imminent. And if he plays to his full potential, he could be one of the North London side’s top performers for years to come.
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