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Simeon Jackson - Forcing the Issue at Norwich City

Saturday 8th October 2011
Being a football supporter in Canada can sometimes be a trying experience.

Earlier Friday afternoon we were able to watch at the same time English supporters were when Wayne Rooney melted down live in Montenegro while his English teammates did just enough to secure qualification for Euro 2012 as that match was broadcast live across Canada on a national sports channel.

However the Canadian National Team, playing a World Cup Qualifier away to CONCACAF minnows St Lucia Friday evening was not to be found on TV anywhere in this country. You see the national football stadium in St. Lucia is actually a cricket ground (featured I believe in the 2007 Cricket World Cup) an
d it does not have any permanent broadcast facilities that would allow the game to be beamed back to Canada. Those of us interested in the result were forced to listen to a Canadian Soccer Association PR staffer and a blogger stream an audio feed of the live results and play by play on the internet. For supporters not near a laptop they were glued to their phones monitoring the results via Twitter.

So we all unfortunately got to see Wayne Rooney and his latest act of petulance with the Three Lions at the same instant English supporters did, yet we missed seeing Norwich City striker and Canadian International Simeon Jackson put on a much more positive display, when he scored a hat trick for his country.

On Tuesday of next week Jackson and his Canadian team mates will be in action once again, this time at home in Toronto when they face Puerto Rico. Considering how well he apparently played Friday and how important Canadian head coach Stephen Hart sees him being to Canadian efforts to get back to the World Cup for the first time since 1986, there is no doubt he will feature prominently once again next week before he heads back to the UK. He will undoubtedly be a big part of the Canadian side for years to come. No Canadian striker is playing at a higher level for a club side than Jackson is currently doing in the Premier League.

Norwich skipper Paul Lambert might not have been too keen to let Simeon go on international duty, especially with the distances/travel involved and the possibility of another of his players getting hurt, especially with striker James Vaughan now being out for a significant amount of time with a knee injury. But Jackson is not the kind of person to turn down his country based on the character he has shown so far in his international career.

Now St. Lucia is hardly a talented side. But one does not choose the opponents in front of you and when given the chance to impress Simeon Jackson stepped up with three goals. Whether his international performance will be enough for Paul Lambert to consider using him more going forward than the two short appearances he has made off the bench in the Premier League to date remains to be seen. With James Vaughan now on the shelf for the Canaries there will likely be more chances for him to feature than he has so far and Lambert will get to see for himself if a player that has yet to prove if he has enough ability to make in the English top flight can actually do so.

What I hope most of all is that Lambert will take the time to look at Simeon in perhaps a new light upon his return. Playing for Canada might not be popular but it is the right thing for him to do. It is a statement of character when a player steps up for his country and scores goals even when he gets pressure perhaps from his club to not do so. Hopefully the confidence and dare I say swagger that can come from a hat trick scored for his country in a World Cup qualifier might be just enough to start to see him prove to Paul Lambert and to Norwich City supporters that he has the ability and heart to be able to contribute at the Premiership level.

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Tim Drodge is a Toronto Canada based blogger who writes about all things Toronto FC of Major League Soccer on his site http://viewfromthesouthstands.com . You can also follow Tim on Twitter @bgnewf.
Tim Drodge
Tim writes about all things Toronto FC of Major League Soccer on his blog "The View From The South Stands"

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