Date:Thursday February 1 2007
Why is it that every player who Arsene Wenger loans out either disappeared into obscurity or just disappears?
Well not anymore.
Justin Hoyte always seemed to be just on the fringes of the Arsenal squad, highly rated but he just fell that little bit short of breaking into the first team.
His mediocre performances interspersed with half decent efforts meant he frustratingly never really got a consistent run of games, indeed he never really deserved one.
The ominous feeling that I felt upon hearing Hoyte was to move to Sunderland on loan was similar to the air of inevitability that came across me when players such as Jermaine Pennant & David Bentley were loaned out, never to play for Arsenal again.
The Arsenal loan players seemed cursed. Sent out to learn their trade and make their mistakes for another club, it never seemed to do them any great favours, and subsequently, they were sold.
Justin Hoyte now seems to have broken that mould.
The time he spent defending for his life with relegation fodder would surely see him doomed to the nether regions of the Championship, or at best a move to some Premiership dog fighters.
However, the versatile defender seems to have undergone a miraculous transformation, despite his early season form suggesting otherwise.
I myself struggled to believe he could become anything more than a Carling cup player, but to my surprise, and should I say delight, the under 21's international seems to have come of age.
As Arsenal pass the halfway mark of another injury ridden season Hoyte has already featured in 22 first team matches, and while I'm not overly sure of the statistics, that figure probably surpasses the combined total of all his previous seasons.
Arsene Wenger made sure Hoyte knew he had a future at the club with the sale of fans favorite, Lauren, to Portsmouth, leaving only Manu Eboue above him in the pecking order.
I felt Justin's performance against T*ttenham at the Grove on Wednesday was testament to all the hard work, dedication, commitment, perseverance and patience he has shown.
I sincerely hope that Hoyte continues with his football education and development and becomes the player he now looks capable of becoming.
Nice one Justin!
Date:Thursday February 1 2007
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