At any other club, a player who contributed hugely to a promotion campaign, to Premier League survival and an unprecedented FA Cup run would be cherished.
|(C) Daily Star|
That isn’t the case for David Meyler at Hull City despite those achievements. He’s had a few detractors since he joined the club and that has grown into a clear divide of opinion.
I’d hoped to get a few people to succinctly explain their derision for the “Lion of Cork” (no-one has ever called him that I just made it up) but sadly most went unusually quite so I’m grateful to James Yorke who kindly produced the argument against Meyler.
“David Meylers lack of quality was evident more than ever last season. Fans that fell in love with the Irishman in his first two seasons for his non-stop competitiveness throughout games soon grew tired with Meyler’s lack of forward runs/passes, with a lack of creativity (not just down to DM) severely costing us last year and ultimately, was a big factor in our relegation.
The key to a possible, yet unlikely, return to the top flight is a midfield that will score goals, create chances for our forward and put a foot in when needed. Unfortunately I see Meyler as a player you would bring on away from home to protect a lead, that’s it.”
I’m not going to suggest Meyler is a great passer of the ball because I’m not blind to his faults. His distribution is sometimes sloppy and rarely inventive. He’s a functional passer of the ball at best. It isn’t fair to suggest that he’s incapable of making attacking runs though. His link up with Elmohamady on City’s right hand side was one of the features of the play as The Tigers established themselves as promotion contenders. Even last season he’d exploit gaps on the opponent’s right hand side and carry the fight to the opposition.
It is fair to say that Meyler’s main role in the past two seasons has been one of discipline and responsibility. It hasn’t been his job to rampage into the final third and make things happen. Like James, I’m mystified as to whose job it supposedly was but that’s by the by.
Meyler does the dirty work in the team – the work that is often unseen and never appreciated. He gets back to protect full-backs, he hunts second balls on the edge of our box, and he battles for headers in the centre of the pitch and chases thanklessly to press the opposition. He covers miles in every game, puts himself in harm’s way with regularity and does everything with an urgency that puts others to shame (and is the reason he passes poorly sometimes).
Last season he suffered a horrific eye injury against Arsenal when someone stood on his head. And he finished the game despite being unable to see out of one eye.
When he came to Hull in November 2012 there was an uncertainty around him as the result of two serious cruciate knee ligament injuries he’d had that restricted him to 31 games for Sunderland in almost four years. A situation not dissimilar to the one that’s plagued our recent signing Ryan Taylor. For all our fears – Meyler has proved himself one of the fittest and most willing players in the team.
He will never be a great passer of the football and he’ll never score goals with constancy. But what he will always do is consume the work most people aren’t interested in (mentioning no names) and allow others to play to their strengths. He’ll lead by fine example, protect the players around him and never accept that any game is out of our reach.
David Meyler is the bravest member of our squad. In both the way he plays the game and the way he’s resurrected a career that most feared was dying. He’d be the first name I’d write on the team sheet every week.