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Toronto FC Top 36 Countdown: Number 27 - John Bostock

A skillful young player with big name teams in his past. He looks quite good. Oh wait, no he doesn't. He was 2013's Alen Stevanovic, at number 27, it's John Bostock

If only this was some kind of 'Earthquake Splash' finishing move, we'd have at least had something memorable from Bostock.  Alas, no.
If only this was some kind of 'Earthquake Splash' finishing move, we'd have at least had something memorable from Bostock. Alas, no.

Average Ranking: 25.59
Highest Ranking: 11
Lowest Ranking: 36

Duncan: 22. Doing this for 3 years now, there's a bit of a pattern emerging. The first week or so gets taken up with those who didn't play enough to really be able to say too much about, perhaps young players just starting out that you'd feel a bit bad being mean about, or good players brought down by injuries or drama, where it's all wistful what might have beens. But eventually we get to those who did get a few games in, and within that category we'll eventually get to players who contributed, but before that, we get to judge those that were just crap.

Which brings us to John Bostock. *Stretches arms, cracks knuckles* Alright let's go.

As pre season drew to a close, the roster was still woefully thin and so Ryan Nelsen dug out his little black book of emergency contacts and arranged a few emergency loans. John Bostock was a name that came up, youngest player ever to play at Crystal Palace, and after an acrimonious transfer he achieved the same at Tottenham Hotspur where he garnered talk as one of the hottest prospects in England. How exciting. Of course he'd never really made it at Tottenham, not even in a brief Rohan Ricketts kind of way, and had spent time on loan at less impressive English clubs, and found his way to TFC via a failed trial at San Jose, so erm, yeah, maybe not all that exciting. But only a loan, easily abandoned if necessary, it seemed worth a shot.

He didn't sign up until after the first game so made his debut at the skydome, and it was promising. Playing on the right wing, he did some good things, winning a penalty mainly. Let's enjoy that again, the stepover, the fortunate bounce, the cutback, the flamboyant dive to sell the slight contact, the grimacing clutch of the knee to justify the dive. And then of course Earnshaw's goal and the 2-0 lead. Lovely.

Aside from that though he had an odd tendency when he had a chance to take his man on down the line to cut back in, as if trying to draw contact and win a foul. Must not be fully fit and instead using his smarts to win a free kick was my optimistic take on things. That's a bit distasteful for sure, but can serve a purpose, the reality turned out to be worse, merely that he apparently can't kick with his right foot, so didn't want to go down that wing.

Over the next few games we saw him again and again cutting inside on to his left foot, passing up good opportunities and generally being very ineffective. Right wing clearly wasn't the place for him, but when he got a bit of time on the left wing, or in the central attacking midfield spot (remember the start of the season when Nelsen had us in a 4-5-1? Seems so long ago.) he was just as unimpressive.

His last league start came against FC Dallas, it was defensively unimpressive. Dallas' first goal, a free kick into the box was cleared but it fell to Andrew Jacobson, unmarked because Bostock was cheating up the pitch as if looking for a friendly bounce and a breakaway. Their 2nd? Well, again looking for a breakaway after a Dallas free kick, he got the ball from Bendik and did manage to get past one player in a bit of an out of control run that saw him quickly lose the ball, at which point he just stopped, and watched as the counter counter attack was launched and they scored. All this while wearing gloves.

He came on as a sub a few times and played the full 90 minutes in both Voyageurs Cup games in Montreal, where he did at least show some feistiness if not actually any productivity, and then he was gone, his loan agreement officially ended on May 24th, an experiment ended to make room for one of the mid season experiments.

A skillful player from a big club who teased then failed to deliver before being sent back home, 2013's Alen Stevanovic. Meh.

Dave: 23. If playing Football Manager for many years is where all my knowledge of players comes from then it would explain why I was so excited about the arrival of Bostock and filled with the hope that TFC might just be the place where he finally starts to live up to the promise that he showed before moving to Tottenham as a teenager. Alas, that never came to be and he just proved to be frustrating to watch as he constantly relied on trying to cut inside and draw contact. He showed a few moments of promise but never anything consistent enough to prove he was finally developing into the player people thought he would become.

Armen: 21. Giving him a higher ranking than Ephraim for his more adept touch and passing skill. Still unproductive, though.

James: 32. Glimpses of greatness followed by a lack of effort - sums up his career nicely, a shame.

Kristin: 22. Bored Bostock. That's how he seemed by the end. Prone to pouting and lazy plays (as well as the occasional show of temper), Bostock showed why pretty much every of his many teams drop him after the initial enthusiasm. Frustrating because he's clearly talented, just doesn't seem to care. Maybe his time in Belgium will sort him out.

Elusivecart: Flashy, but did nothing, Rey is better

Henry for PM: Really enjoyed watching him, wish he was still here.


Jon Spratt: How about that Dome opener game! Oh, and the rest of his games…yeah, right. He's probably pretty good in the Belgian second division, where he is now.

Killinghurst: After getting cut by Tottenham, he has found himself at a second division Belgian club. Just about where he deserves to be.

Mark_HSV: I thought he was a decent player, but kind of a one-trick pony. Could only pass/shoot with his left foot, so it was predictable where he would go. Maybe could have had a few more games.

MichaelVee: When John Bostock arrived at TFC everyone believed we'd gotten a steal of a deal. San Jose had him on trial where he impressed greatly, but couldn't warrant the use of an international slot. TFC gladly brought him in, and he immediately impressed. He was creative, Nelsen was fairly familiar with him, and though Nelsen admitted his right foot was "only for standing on", he was signed up on loan. He had a good "home" debut against SKC in which we witnessed the ankle-breaking power of a technically gifted winger against MLS calibre fullbacks - something he continued to show in two or three matches afterward. After games against Montreal, LA, and 73 minutes against Dallas, Bostock's starting place was less assured. Waning minutes against Philadelphia and Houston raised questions amongst the fanbase about why he was here (and why Reggie Lambe was still getting minutes over him), and how long he was staying. Minutes decreased and decreased, and eventually he was gone.

Although he certainly impressed, there were no stats in the Goals or Assists columns. There were several calls to move him central and let him be creative, and hanging on to a 21 year old with that much potential seemed like a good idea. He was far and away the most creative player to play for us this season, and probably the best 1v1 player TFC has ever had. His play in the Belgian 2nd Division has drawn attention from both Scotland and Trinidad and Tobago for International Duty. Royal Antwerp are sitting just shy of promotion and Bostock has fast become a favourite there.

Prizby: Finally someone who has played more than a handful of games, and other than the first home game at the Dome against SKC, Bostock looked lost on the park. I don't think the guy was a winger and I was pretty desperate to see what he could do if he was playing the hole behind a striker as the #10; alas it wasn't to be and after numerous of poor performances his contract wasn't picked up, loan was terminated, and he was sent packing

The Yorkies: Attitudes aren't changed by crossing an ocean.

Tim: Completely disappointed in the future of England. Poor England.

Tyler: Remember that one thing he did. Ya that was fun. That puts him ahead of Ephraim.

Yohan: Once highly rated as a teenager, Bostock was another player played out of position too often by Nelsen. An attacking midfielder by trade, he's shown he's got decent technical ability, but just couldn't show it on regular basis. Now plays for Antwerp in Belgian 2nd div.

Number 26: Stefan Frei

Number 28: Danny Califf

Full Top 36 Countdown