There’s a lot to like about Robbie Rogers’ loan to Stevenage – but one fairly alarming element, too.
Rogers wasn’t in the plans at Leeds, apparently. He never really seemed to get a chance as injuries mucked up his time at Elland Road, but them’s the breaks, I suppose.
So his move to a place where he’s sure to get more playing time is the best part of this week’s news. He’ll be at the little ground dubbed Broadhall Way through January on loan, at least.
At Stevenage, he’s sure to get a fair shake from former Colorado Rapids boss Gary Smith. Smith won an MLS Cup title with the Rapids in 2010. More relevant to Rogers’ evolving situation, the manager knows and respect MLS, so there’s less a chance for politics or British football snobbery will curtail potential playing time. That’s sometimes an issue with Yanks abroad.
The bad news about it all: Stevenage toils in England’s third tier. The club finished sixth among 24 clubs last year. So, quite respectable. Plus, Stevenage reached fifth round play of last year’s FA Cup, a club first. Smith’s men fell in that round to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur in a replay at White Hart Lane.
Stevenage is clearly a quality club, relatively speaking. But playing in England’s third tier is hardly the fast track back into U.S. national team graces. The competition just isn’t good enough, so it’s difficult to accurately gauge form. (Well, unless he’s not doing well in England’s third tier; then any assessments regarding national team possibilities becomes something that even a journalist can handle.)
Rogers needs to get his feet under him, make everyone take notice and perhaps get himself back up to Elland Road in January.