Date: 7th October 2010 at 6:51pm
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Gerard Houllier has challenged Barry Bannan to become the player his potential says he should and prove the critics wrong who say a wee man cannot make it in the Premiership.

Bannan is on duty with the Scottish U21’s tonight, but Houllier believes it’s the first of many steps and challenges Bannan should be able to easily traverse given his ‘skill, intelligence and desire’.

Houllier certainly doesn’t believe ‘height’ and ‘weight’ are the be all and end all to be a competitive player in the top flight and pointed towards mini World Cup sensations such as Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez as proof.

Speaking on the Official Site our manager said:

‘The Premier League has got more physical, but it is not about size. It is a matter of commitment and physical commitment.

‘Barry is competitive, I had some players at other clubs who were the same size and (they) had wonderful careers. The top level is about skill, intelligence and desire – he is an intelligent player, he can read the game well and adapt well.’

It was a good comparison made by Houllier, as Bannan himself has looked up to (is that right?) the diminutive players who have gone on to succeed in football as a Spur to keep his own belief going that he is capable of making it despite his wee stature.

Speaking about the Spanish team, Bannan said himself:

‘Players like that drive me on because when I was younger I got told I had height issues and would struggle. They’re some of the best midfielders in the world so I take encouragement from them.’

In the chances wee Bannan has been given so far he’s never really let himself or us down, and there are acres of room for improvement once he finds his feet and adjusts to the pace. The loan spells certainly served him well and it looks as though he’s going to play a decent part in our season this year.

He’ll make mistakes and errors as he learns, but I definitely think we have a gem in our midst.

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