|Kevin McLeod - Midfielder|
Kevin McLeod is a good hard-working player; he has skill, speed, and
– the most important factor for a football player – the ability to
read the game.
Over the past couple of years, he has grown into a fine left wing-back. The 2002-03 season probably constitutes make or break for the young player who has spent his entire teenage life with Everton. He must grab his chances with both hands, or he may fall in to the Everton black hole for promising youngsters who are good... but just not quite good enough.
He only has one weakness, and that is within himself when he will sometimes hide in a game if things don't go to well in the first 10 to 15 mins. But, since the start of the 2000-01 season, he was outstanding, and well worth the chances he was given by Walter Smith, with five games as a Premiership sub.
Substitute appearances against Ipswich and Arsenal before another few against Ipswich and Chelsea (home and away) gave the impression that young Kevin was finally on his way. He was Player of the Season for the Championship reserve team of the 2000-01 season – which is a massive credit to him.
But it really didn't happen for him in Smith's final season, with just one Cup appearance to his name (the ill-fated 2nd-Round Worthington Cup tie against Crystal Palace that Everton lost on penalties) despite a solid record in the Reserves.
David Moyes was fully expected to give him a chance after cleaning out the midfield deadwood in the Summer of 2002, but McLeod has found it difficult to reach the high standards demanded by Moyes. His only "chance" — if you can call it that — came in the last minute of the disastrous cup-tie at Shrewsbury; hardly something to inspire the lad with hope for a bright future at Everton!
The kid has got an almost Sheedy-esque left foot — perfect for whipping in crosses to one of our 'bruise brothers'. But he is still quite slight and could do with putting on a bit of weight to compete with the more physical Premiership defenders.
With Moyes unwilling to blood him in Everton's quest for Europe, McLeod spent the last three months of the season on a very successful loan spell at QPR, helping them into the Second Division play-offs, and earning himself a new contract offer from Everton. But he ended up leaving Everton to join QPR in August 2003.
August 2005: After scoring his first goal for Swansea City, Kevin admitted he had under-achieved since arriving from Queens Park Rangers in February.