What a week for James Vaughn, Everton’s 18 year-old striker. First, he was named Everton’s young player of the year. Then, he was selected to England’s provisional under-21 team that will play for the European championship (I think he’s the youngest member). Then on Sunday, he scored a fine goal against Chelsea. His strike put Everton up 1-0 in the second half, and threatened to end Chelsea’s home unbeaten sreak at 62 matches. However, Chelsea equalized on a controversial goal, thereby tying Liverpool’s record for going undefeated at home. The tie also cost Everton fifth place, but the sixth place finish puts us in European competition next year. It’s a good sign when we can be disappointed not to have won at Chelsea.
A year ago, Vaughn was fighting to save his career after suffering a horrible injury, which would keep him out of the game for 14 months. As a 16 year-old he had become the youngest ever to play for Everton and had replaced Wayne Rooney as the youngest to score for us.
Comparisons to Rooney are inevitable, but Vaughn wisely rejects them. “Don’t even begin to compare me with Wayne Rooney just because I am young and coming through the youth ranks here,” says Vaughn. “He is one of the best in the world, and even our styles are different. I have got a very long way to go to even be talked of in the same breath as Wayne – he’s a fantastic player and I’ve only just started.”
Vaughn is also quick to credit Everton’s other teenage striker, Victor Anichebe, with whom he formed a partnership up front after Andy Johnson suffered a season-ending injury: “Victor has been consistent all the way through and I think he deserves a lot of credit for the way he has played and I will share my awards with him.”
Anichebe is a good young player, but Vaughn’s a bit special.
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