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Big isn't always best for players.

Byline: By John Gibson

Scott Parker should stand taller than the tree tops as a dire warning to all young footballers that everything is not always as it first seems.

Chelsea, gaudily propped up by Roman Abramovich's billions, must seem like Utopia to aspiring soccer stars the length and breadth of our land.

A transfer to Stamford Bridge must look to guarantee huge wealth and untold glamour ( medals by the sackful and enough adulation to feed the most demanding of egos.

The images of Frank Lampard and John Terry as the epitome of success will spring readily to mind.

Ironically, Lampard and Terry were already at Chelsea before Red Rom began seducing anyone and everyone to come within his compass. A better figure to concentrate upon would be Newcastle United's newest signing.

Parker was a sensation at Charlton, a future regular in the England team it was suggested, and coveted by all with ambition.

However, it was Chelsea who cocked the finger and got their man.

Unfortunately for Scott, instead of playing regularly in England's superteam he disappeared completely off the radar screen. A fine career suddenly in the knacker's yard after hitting the buffers.

This week, Shaun Wright-Phillips ( the latest English whiz kid ( could go down the same route. Sign for Chelsea and then what? When all were fit last season, Damien Duff and Arjen Robben were the rampaging wide men and Joe Cole only got a look in because Robben became lame.

In World Cup season, Wright-Phillips may see a transfer to Chelsea as almost guaranteeing his place in England's team bound for Germany. Well, that only comes, my son, by playing regularly and not warming a subs' bench full of racehorses with no race to run.

A move into the supposed big time can do that to a career. Look at David Bellion, a forward of limited talent, who couldn't get out of Sunderland quickly enough using his main asset ( pace ( to scuttle off and join Manchester United. Where is he now? And for that matter where are Alan Smith and Louis Saha?

No, young men with admirable ambition ought to sit down and think of more than the obvious when the big strutters come a'calling. Parker is about to begin his career all over again as a Magpie desperate to soar into the skies, free to dictate his own course.

We all hope, and most believe, he can do that.

But a thoroughly decent young man has wasted precious time chasing a rainbow without an end. Let that be a warning if nothing else.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2005
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