Perhaps more noted for his slightly psychedelic pronouncements on Soccer AM than his end product on the pitch, Lee Croft was meant to be an England winger – he still holds the record for England Youth caps, with 40 – but since leaving Manchester City in 2006, his career has stalled somewhat. He thought he had evaded League One when his Norwich City teammates were relegated there in 2009, but after his unsuccessful sojourn to Derby, that’s where he’ll be playing next season, with Lee Clark’s promotion contenders, Huddersfield Town.
Croft goes down as arguably the least successful of Nigel Clough’s signings to date and having pretty much disappeared from the first team picture in October of last year, he will not be missed. He still has two seasons to run on his contract at Derby, but with no future here, he will now be hoping to earn a longer-term deal with the Terriers, or elsewhere. At least it can be said of Clough that once he realised that Croft wasn’t what he was looking for, he moved on quickly and decisively. Further, Croft was a free transfer, so unlike many other costly failures of recent seasons, the club hasn’t taken too much of a financial hit.
It would be wonderful if the player who was loaned in to replace him, Michael Tonge, reappeared for next season, but in any case, we will need a new right midfielder. Nigel has mentioned the possibility of bringing back the Arsenal youth player Gilles Sunu for a few months loan, but after his fitfully promising spell here last season, it is clear that he is ‘one for the future’, rather than a player who can be relied upon to come straight into the team and make an impression.
Best of luck for the future, Lee.