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Niko, what a difference a year makes

When Niko Kranjcar first arrived at Pompey he came with a tag of being 'the next Robert Prosinecki', but he looked some way lacking.

He was overweight, out of shape and well off the pace but he has worked hard to slim down, bulk up and get into shape and the club have done their bit to work on him and turn him into a complete premier league footballer of the highest calibre.

Tracking back did not seem to mean anything to him, but the amount of this he does now is fantastic. His skills, vision and footwork are truly breathtaking at times and it is now easy to see why he is so highly rated in his native Croatia.

Pompey have already had probably the greatest ever Croatian, Prosinecki play for us - a fella that I still class as the best player that I have ever seen play from within a crowd, not only in a Pompey shirt, but any football shirt full stop - but I honestly think that Kranjcar could be even better in time as he has all his qualities and more - defending, tracking back, tackling, were all basically unknown things for Prosinecki, they are embraced by Kranjcar.

There has been a lot of talk praising Kranjcar recently, but it appears that this was pre-empted again as I did write this when I was away last week, but did not have a chance to type up and publish until now.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 4 2007

Time: 8:01AM

Your Comments

They it takes time to settle, not just on the pitch, offit as well. Once all clicks, this is what you get. His style works well with the big Africans. Up Pompey.
storagematt
he was brilliant today, i hade a good chat with a newcastle fan going out the stadium, he thought niko was the difference
PompeyGleamer
Proving to be a class act, he played well again today and showed that it has been worth waiting for him to get used to the game in this country. The new system suits him and he looks like he ie enjoying his game now.
Owenspompey
Yes, he is proving his worth, player of the season in my eyes so far, perhaps suprise package aswell?
PompeyGleamer
Haven't seen much of this guy but heard plenty of good comments about him. Is he that good?
will it ever happen
i swear to you mate - no word of a lie, pompey specs taken off kranjcar is that good and more... to be compared with the great prosinecki he must be good, tbh i reckon he will be better than him eventually...
pompeyrug
i think also that he will be playing for a european team next season aswell : )
PompeyGleamer
I've praised him since day one. I could see his vision and sublime passing even when he looked off the pace. I'm glad he's finally lived up to expectation.
stillthewhizz
If there was one player I WANTED to be good and stay and play for us it was Nico. I wonder if the way things have happened is luck or part of a long/medium term plan by Hal. He struggled in a 442 and was rightly kept out by Matty T, but now, blimey, he looks the sort of player The Arse or Man Ure would buy for a bunch of money and then bask in his greatness! I have to confess that as soon as he arrived, my son bought a shirt emblazoned with his name, so I had an ulterior motive, too, for wanting him to succeed! Play up Nico.
Et_tu_Pompeii
there was something about him when he came to the club. if he WANTED it to get done, then it would just happen. sure, he was a littl lazy, and probably got on too well with mbesuma and the pie eating club, but has since learned that if you want to be the greatest ever croatian, you actually have to put some effort in!
pompeycarpet
hey, dont bring the pie eating club into it! Me and Mbsuma had a good friendship! No totally agree with all your comments, he is without a doubt, a natural talent, and will continue growing! I therefore announce, that, Niko Kranjcer deserves to start instead of Matty, and to contradict myself, is also better than D'Alessandro! There I said it, : )
PompeyGleamer
I agree, given his youth, he really could become a truly great player. The only thing I think he needs to work on his his left foot. In the early stages he fleeced Lucas Neill in the West Ham game every time. But Neill soon caught on to the fact that Nico always cuts inside to keep the ball on his right foot, and Nico didn't get much change out of him after that. But I'm not complaining too much, it's certainly an improvement on the days when we used to play Quashie on the left.... ;-)
NorthStandDan
at the beggining of the season, spurs were complaining about not having any left sided playors. we, on the other hand, have noe pamerot, and his rocket left boot - and herman hreiderson - offically second best defender of october - at left back - and niko kranjcar and matty taylor for left midfield. surely we must have one of the best left flanks in the country!
pompeycarpet
Really impressed with Niko's distribution, ability to run with the ball , and dead ball skills....it's a shame Matty T is stuck on the bench, but Niko seems to be adding an extra dimension to us at the moment. Better than D'Allesandro? Quite possibly yes, as he doesn't ever seem to go missing like Andres did once or twice.....
Tantona
just think if d'allesandro came back too if we could mould him into the complete player that kranjcar is - how frightening would that be,not for us but opposing teams... kranjcar is destined for greatness - to ensure we can keep him we have to keep moving forward, which with his help i am sure we can... ive always rated the fella and bragged to anyone that would listen this would be the season for kranjcar - and i think not to say 'i told you so' it most certainly is...
pompeyrug
haha, yes rug, i have to admit, i didnt like him, but credit to harry, had faith in him, and look how its made off!
PompeyGleamer
harry can just see when someone has talent, and someone doesnt. i remeber writing an article about how some mancheter united guy was complaining about "all the benjanis" who are "no better than any english playor" and who "cant score" at the beggining of the season. i had seen similer ones about kranjcar - it just proves, it may take time for them to settle in, but once they do, "harrys ladz are de best man!!
pompeycarpet
yep, when benjani was scoring at the beginning of the season, tbh i honestly believed that it wouldnt last, but now, who knows, mabye he could get to 15!
PompeyGleamer
dont be ridiclulas - he wont score (nearly) 4 times as many as last season...it'll be more like 20 ;-)
pompeycarpet
Gleamer, you dont like kranjcar? what is there not to like...
pompeyrug
i didnt like him, i obviously like him now, didnt like his hair, looked like his hair either, bit of a pretty boy! dont see the point of him wearing the n.19 shirt and herman wearing the n.7! he should get it, i mean paramot swapped his n.11 for n.16 with munners taking n.11
PompeyGleamer
Great reasons not to like one of the most talented talents we have seen in recent years Gleamer ;) For all I care he could wear no 65 and dye his hair green (ok there are limits) but we are seeing the emergence of one of the best midfielders in the premiership. Nico really is (at last) living up to his potential and he looks as if he is enjoying it too... If he could just work on that left foot so he could swing the ocassional quick cross in (similar to what Matty does) then I think we will see the complete player.
Chix
''Kranjcar could be even better than Prosinecki''...you can compare this two players, it's many reasons for that..prosinecki was played in C.Zvezda when he was 19 years old and 1991. they win Champion L. than prosinecki become best fottball player for that year, after that he played in Oviedo, Barcelona...with Croatia he was 3th in france '98.... and he played in Portsmonth in the end of his carrier. I love Niko but now is different times,,,but one think is true... that is, if niko played football 20 years before he will be one of the best players in the world... we will see what will be hapends in London for 2 weeks England vs Croatia(niko, eduardo da silva, Vedran ćorluka(M.City), Luka Modric, Robert Kovač, Dario Srna, Petric(borrusia D.), that will be very interesting game... I'm very proud of Niko and when he come in Port. i said to you how greate player you get, now my prediction gain is good.
andycroat28
i do remember you saying how good kranjcar was and would be, few doubted you - i know i never did... he is getting better all the time isnt he, prosinecki still remains the best footballer ive ever seen in a pompey shirt, but if kranjcar keeps up how he is going then this could change!
pompeyrug
 

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