The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

DEAN Saun­ders says Lee Fowler has wasted his tal­ent, which is prob­a­bly true. Craw­ley’s new mid­fielder has never pos­sessed the graft to go with his craft.

But the 31-year-old has also been very un­lucky – never more so than when Saun­ders in­ad­ver­tently shafted him.

Hav­ing flour­ished un­der the for­mer Liver­pool striker at For­est Green and Wrex­ham, Fowler leapt at the chance to join Saun­ders at Don­caster in 2013. Then fly­ing high at the sum­mit of League One, it was a chance for a Con­fer­ence jour­ney­man to prove his cal­i­bre un­der a manager who loved him.

Fowler signed on Jan­uary 4. He starred as a sub­sti­tute two days later. Then, on Jan­uary 7, Saun­ders was lured away to man­age Wolves. Fowler would play just three more games, all as a sub­sti­tute, be­fore be­ing jet­ti­soned back to Non­League.

Since then he has gone nowhere. The New Saints, Cefn Druids. Games in Cw­pan Word (yes, that’s Word) Cup.

By Au­gust of last year, Fowler was man­ag­ing a Sun­day side – he played for the White Bear in the Dee­side Sun­day League as re­cently as a cou­ple of weeks ago while on non­con­tract terms with Nuneaton in the Con­fer­ence – and coach­ing kids, fir­ing off ap­pli­ca­tions for man­age­rial jobs whilst con­tem­plat­ing the end of his play­ing days.

Lit­tle won­der that when he left the pitch af­ter scor­ing a spec­tac­u­lar de­but win­ner against Pre­ston, Fowler jok­ingly made Saun­ders prom­ise he wasn’t go­ing to bug­ger off again.

Now he’s got one last chance to prove that Saun­ders was right to call him the most nat­u­rally gifted player in League One.

If Fowler can run the show as he did for Wrex­ham (and he un­doubt­edly can), his best years yet lie ahead. For a bloke who’d ba­si­cally re­tired six months ago, that would be some re­sult.

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