UPSON KEANE TO BE LIKE SCHOLES!
THERE are few more iconic midfield partnerships in the history of English football than the marauding Manchester United duo of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane – and both have left their mark on Yeovil’s Ed Upson.
Having proved himself the man for the big occasion during last season’s successful play-off run, Upson wasted little time announcing his arrival in the Championship last weekend by bagging the winner on the opening day at Millwall.
The 23-year-old’s 88thminute strike was the club’s first goal at this level, securing them their first win in the process and adding another line to the midfielder’s already lengthy chapter in the Glovers’ recent history.
It was, after all, Upson whose late header defeated Sheffield United in the playoff semi-final last May to take them to Wembley where they beat Brentford 2-1, while as a 15-year-old schoolboy with Ipswich he came off the bench to score the winner in the 2005 FA Youth Cup final against Southampton.
Yet success has not always come so easy for the former Tractor Boy, who was shown the door by his hometown club five years after upstaging Theo Walcott and Co with then-manager Keane leaving him in no doubt where he stood.
“Roy Keane sat me down and said I was at the age where I needed to play firstteam football if I was to develop.” said Upson. “I needed to go out and find some games and he couldn’t give me any.
“He told me just to find somewhere else to play and see how far I could get and it was probably the best advice anyone ever gave me.
“It was one of the biggest things that has happened to me in my career and I’m where I am now because of that decision.
“It was hard because I’m from Bury St Edmunds and you always want to stay with your local club.
“I definitely hoped when I was coming through the ranks that I would be playing there every week and scoring goals and being a hero for Ipswich, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that. I had to move on and buy myself a car with low mileage!”
It was Terry Skiverton who persuaded Upson to make the 225-mile journey west in order to put himself back on the map.
Skiverton also had the idea of showing Upson a module on Paul Scholes, so he could study video clips of the 11-time Premier League winner. That helped him find find his shooting boots, scoring five times in the 2011-12 season and six last term – though that wasn’t all he picked up.
“Terry was manager then and we looked through some clips of Paul Scholes and other players who played that way,” added Upson, whom Skiverton wanted to ‘dominate’ games like Scholes. “Mind you, I think that was the season I picked up 15 bookings!
“Scholes is one of my foot- ball heroes and I try to model my game on his because he was the best in the world. It wasn’t just Scholes there were other players as well and I just wanted to pick bits up that could improve my game.
“It’s a bit of everything, a bit of technique a bit of positioning. You don’t just want to copy someone else, you want to be your own player but it would be foolish to think you can’t learn from a player like Scholes.”
In earning promotion to the Championship last May, Upson achieved the target he set himself on leaving Portman Road in 2010.
Now, having broken new ground on the opening day Upson has started to catch the eye and the order from manager Gary Johnson is to flaunt what he’s got.
“In the play-off games last year the gaffer told us everyone was watching and our reputations were on the line,” he added.
“It was a great chance to make a name for ourselves and it is the same in the Championship.
“I didn’t get the chance to play at Ipswich but I’ve had that chance with Yeovil. I want to go as far as I can.”
HELPERS: Roy Keane and Paul Scholes WHAT A START: Yeovil’s Ed Upson celebrates with Sam Hoskins after scoring the late winner against Millwall Inset: Upson scores