10th December, 2011
Blackburn boss, Steve Kean, is giving Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegeni the licence to be lazy â€“ and his gamble is paying a goal-den dividend.
Kean is succeeding where many other managers have failed by letting the big Nigerian striker stick to what he does best and not worry about upping his work-rate.
Yakubu has banged in 10 goals this season – a great return from a player who was exiled at Everton last season and ended up going in and out of the first team at Championship side Leicester while on loan. He was an out of favour player in the Nigerian senior national team after he missed a crucial goal during the Super Eagles’ match against South Korea in the South 2010 FIFA World Cup.
â€œIt depends what role you want him to play – if you want him chasing the ball down into corners or saving his energy for the width of the box,” explained Lean.
â€œWeâ€™ve got players to do that [chase the ball into the corners], but they donâ€™t have the eye for goal that he has.
â€œIt is about making sure we get Yak into the areas where he can score, and giving him the service,” Blackburn manager told Mirror of London.
Kean brought in Yakubu at the end of the summer transfer window, almost as an after-thought.
He had few rivals for his signature, but the 29-year-old is making a case for being one of the buys of the campaign.
The Scot said: â€œI saw a Premier League player, if you look at his stats – get him on the pitch and he will give you a goal every other game. Heâ€™s way above that at the moment.â€
Blackburn can climb out of trouble with a win at Sunderland on Sunday, and under-fire Kean is enjoying seeing the spotlight trained on his opposite number Martin Oâ€™Neill, who takes charge for the first time.
â€œTheir fans will think the season is about to improve,” he said, “so the pressure is on them.â€