NCM Report Cards: #20-29

Last updated : 25 July 2005 By Richard Brown
#20 Kelvin Wilson

Season highlight: Attracting interest from a whole host of Premiership clubs, including Chelsea, Arsenal and West Brom.

Season lowlight: Not applicable.

In a season of precious few positives, one man – namely Kelvin Wilson – has risen like a phoenix from the youth and reserve team obscurity to become, arguably, the club’s most saleable asset.

Now an integral part of the team at the ‘Lane, Wilson raced from the blocks to repay the faith placed on those young shoulders with some composed performances at a somewhat alien right-back berth to the Strelley-born defender.

After a nightmare start to his Magpies career – slicing through his own net on his debut – Wilson has become as cultured a player as has graced the hallowed turf of the ‘Lane in recent seasons.

With youth-defying maturity, an assuring air of plain common sense and ice-cool temperament, the home-grown defender has become an almost instant hit in his pioneer season with the club.

A home-grown gem that is simply destined to shine in years to come. Whether or not Magpies will keep hold of him, however, remains to be seen. Fingers crossed.

Season rating: 8

# 23 Shane McFaul

Season highlight: Breaking into first team before going on to make nineteen starts in, like Wilson, his first full season in the side.

Season lowlight: Being singled-out for special ‘treatment’ by then-manager Ian Richardson away at Darlington before bouncing back to set up one of Notts’ goal in the 2-1 victory.

Whilst the Dublin-born youngster had appeared, albeit briefly, in the 2003/04 as a midfielder, the new season brought fresh hope and renewed confidence for the Republic of Ireland youngster as, in an injury-ravaged side, McFaul established himself as the ‘Mr. Versatile’ of the side.

Equally capable of playing as a midfielder, wing-back or even, at times, centre half, McFaul’s flexibility became one of the contributing factors behind his mini-success story.

From being a youth player in the previous campaign to a senior player this, it is undeniable that the Dubliner still has some way to come before he reaches anything near the standard of some of the more established players here.

But, if he can douse some minor quirks from his game, it would be hard to see why McFaul would not be able to become a first team regular here.

Whilst McFaul has come a long way over the course of the season, the youngster is still very much a work in progress. We await the finished article with baited breath.

Season rating: 5

#29 Ruben Zadkovich

Season highlight: Receiving an international call-up for his native Australia at under-20 level.

Season lowlight: Being released from Loftus Road in a youth team ‘shake-up’.

Having been released by the Queens Park Rangers academy prior to the end of the season, then-manager Ian Richardson swooped to sign the young Australian, described by chairman Steve Thompson as a ‘gem’ of a find, with immediate action.

An all action figure in the latter parts of the season, the youngster was switched almost constantly between left, right and central roles in midfield, performing admirably in his various roles.

The ‘Wizard of Oz’ became an instant hit with the Magpies faithful, with his robust style earning him many admirers.

Such were the performances of the young Australian that he soon attracted the interest of his international coaches, before being selected for the Under-20 Championships this summer for his native Australia.

Season rating: 6