Often Partisan

Where’s Valles?

Some time back on a messageboard not too far away, there was a bit of an in-joke made about players being in the squad, but never anywhere near the team – as if they were locked in a cupboard somewhere. The original joke named it the “Jamie Clapham” cupboard, after the erstwhile left-bank, but I think we’ve got a new occupant and a new updated name for a sad old joke – Enric Valles.

Valles, who was signed to a fanfare of “who?” on a Bosman free at the start of last season has made a grand total of two appearances for Blues – both in the Carling Cup. It was a bit of a come down after what was initially a promising start in the pre-season friendlies in China, where I remember some of those out there watching him saying he had potential. It looked last season like he was going to go out on loan to either our last opponents Brighton and Hove Albion, or back to Spain – until he suffered a stress fracture of the foot. At the end of the season it looked like he was on his way at the end of his one year contract, but Blues took up an option and signed him on for another season. Was this year to be the year for young Enric after he finally made it back to the subs bench for Spurs away last game of last season?

Well, judging by the year so far, it’s not. In fact, I’ll have to confess I had to ask around to find out what has happened to our Spanish midfielder as he seems to have been completely forgotten when squad news is talked about. I can share with you now the news that Enric is indeed injured again; and again, it’s a break to his foot. Unfortunately for the Spanish 21 year old, he is still growing somewhat and as happens with some players he’s suffering some major growing pains as that happens. Admittedly, at 21 I’d have expected him to shake off the majority of his growing pains but alas that doesn’t seem to be happening.

With just seven months left on his deal I can’t see him having a future with the club unless he miraculously heals and somehow breaks into the side. It’s kinda weird, but Spanish-speaking players never do well with Blues – the leading Spanish-speaking player appearance wise with Blues is Jean Beausejour (who has played 41 times for Blues), and of the four Spaniards who have played for the Blues Michel has made the most appearances with only 12 – although I fully expect Pablo Ibanez to break that barrier fairly quickly (he’s currently on 6). It’s a shame for Enric, and for me it raises the question why another year was offered for him – as the manager who offered it has now left us for the dark side, I guess we’ll never know.

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