Robert Earnshaw – Profile From Across The Pond
Robert Earnshaw Player Profile
Before I kick off this Robert Earnshaw player profile I’d just like to make you guys aware that it’s not written by Tim but by me – I’m David the editor of sports tips site cheekypunter.com. When I saw the news that Earnshaw had signed for Toronto FC I contacted Tim and he invited me onto the blog to write an in depth player profile so all you Reds fans can get a close up and personal look at the player you’ve just signed.
Did you know? – Robert (Rob) Earnshaw is one of the only players in history to have scored a hat-trick in all four divisions of the English League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and also for his country.
Height: 5ft 8in
International Caps 58 (16 goals) for Wales
1998-2004 – 183 – 86 – CardiffCity
2000 – 3 – 2 – Greenock Morton (on loan from Cardiff)
2004-2006 – 43 – 12 – West Bromwich Albion (Signed for £3m)
2006-2007 – 45 – 27 – Norwich City (Signed for £2.5m)
2007-2008 – 22 – 1 – Derby County (Signed for £3.5m)
2008-2011 – 98 – 35 – Nottingham Forest (Signed for £2.65m)
2011-2013 – 19 – 3 – CardiffCity (Signed free transfer)
2012-2013 – 10 – 2 – Maccabi Tel Aviv (on loan from Cardiff)
2013 – 1 – 0 – Toronto FC (Signed – Fee Undisclosed)
*Years, appearances, goals and club.
From 2000, the young Earnshaw played a key role in helping Cardiff secure rapid promotions throughout the English league system, scoring goals aplenty in what is now League Two, then League One and finally the Championship. In all competitions, he netted 103 goals for Cardiff in five years and earned himself a big money move to Premier League West Brom in 2004.
Since then Earnshaw has enjoyed a varied career, although his time at West Brom was by no means a failure, he struggled to hold down a regular first team spot at the Hawthorns and after less than two years, joined Norwich City back in the Championship. At Carrow Road, Earnshaw scored 27 goals in just 52 games, earning himself a second chance in the Premier League at DerbyCounty for the 2007-2008 season.
Life at PridePark however was Earnshaw’s low point of his career; two goals in 25 games saw him sold on to Derby’s fierce rivals NottinghamForest. In his first two years at the City Ground, Earnshaw scored 17 goals in all competitions, before his output dropped to just nine goals in his third season.
A free transfer back to his first club Cardiff followed in 2011, but Earnshaw struggled to make an impact on the team and in 2012 was loaned out to Maccabi Tel Aviv, before earning his most recent move; a permanent switch to FC Toronto in February 2013 to try his hand in MLS.
Earnshaw’s key strength is, at his best, he is an excellent instinctive finisher. His speed and quickness of thought, allied to strong positioning, allows him to react to situations quicker than defenders and a lot of his goals have come from situations where he has had little time to react, but manages to squeeze his shot past the goalkeeper and into the net.
Early on in his career, Earnshaw’s pace was a real asset but as he has aged, this is less prevalent now and instead, Earnshaw likes to play on the shoulders of defenders, looking for clever balls to set him clear into space allowing him to shoot past the keeper.
What has been notable in Earnshaw’s career is that when he feels confident, he tends to find his best form. His spells in the Premier League, when he was in and out of the side for both West Brom and Derby, saw his confidence and form suffer as a result. A confident Rob Earnshaw is certainly a much more dangerous striker than one lacking confidence.
Over the years, he has also improved his link up play. His time in the Premier League and international experience with Wales has helped this aspect of his game in particular. His first touch and awareness of teammates has also improved with age and experience too.
Due to his relatively short stature, Earnshaw has never been a strong header of the ball. He has tended to play well alongside a stronger, more physical striking partner who is able to win headers which allows Earnshaw to feed off the scraps.
He is also not ideally suited to playing the lone-frontman role as his skills require him to use his energy in the box scoring goals, not making decoy runs into channels or harassing defenders.
Arguably though, his biggest weakness over his career has been his tendency to miss the easier chances. As an instinctive finisher, Earnshaw is excellent, but when he has time to consider a finish, or a relatively simple chance, he can be wasteful in front of goal.
If you guys have any questions about Earnshaw or my player profile then just leave a comment or drop me a line via the Cheeky Punter facebook page here: http://facebook.com/cheekypunter