Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time Is Running out for Bramble

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time Is Running out for Bramble

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

When Jean-Alain Boumsong's troubled time on Tyneside was brought to an end this summer there were few of a black-and-white persuasion who can have been sad to see the back of the hapless defender.

Yet Titus Bramble must consider the Frenchman's departure with a degree of regret for, so bad was Boumsong he made his team-mate look good. It is a rare talent. Since a player who made for a convenient scapegoat left for Juventus, the spotlight has focused on the deficiencies of those he left behind. The man held accountable might have gone, yet familiar problems remain.

None has looked as uncomfortable as Bramble who, even by his own modest standards, has endured a fraught start to his fifth season at St James's Park. Whether he will survive to see a sixth remains to be seen but, should he continue like this his chances will be limited. Considering that the unreliable 25-year-old is now in the final year of his current contract, Newcastle are facing an unenviable dilemma.

Is a player whose career on Tyneside has been characterised by under-performance really worthy of another lucrative deal? And if not, can United afford to allow a man in whom several million pounds been invested leave without the prospect of recompense?

So much about Bramble's future is uncertain but one thing could not be more clear ( if the former England Under-21 international is to ever establish himself as a player of genuine Premiership pedigree, now is the time to do it. Yet time is not on the side of a defender whose vast potential has remained unfulfilled for far too long.

This is a defender still making the same mistakes as when he first arrived in the North-East in 2002. He was just 21 at the time and his errors could be explained. But Bramble is a senior player now and his lack of progress does not bode well. Patience has worn thin for a long time. It is in danger of running out once and for all. …

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