League Insider - Bostock

Rob Parrish takes a look at the talking points from the Football League in our new feature.

Bostock: One for the future

Much of the focus prior to the opening weekend of the Football League season was on England's World Cup goalkeeper David James as he made his debut for Bristol City, but it was another player who had stepped down from the Premier League who hit the headlines for the right reasons on Saturday.

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While 40-year-old James endured a torrid debut with the highly-fancied Robins being handed a harsh reality check with a 3-0 home defeat by newly-promoted Millwall, talented teenager John Bostock was introducing himself to the Hull City faithful in stunning fashion.

Talk of Bostock being bound for Barcelona after making his Crystal Palace debut under Neil Warnock as a fearless 15-year-old back in October 2007 may have been somewhat fanciful, but there is no doubting the gifted midfielder is a talent who needs to be nurtured to help him realise his full potential.

His opener for the Tigers on his debut after completing a season-long loan move from Tottenham in the 2-0 victory over Swansea was simply sensational. Receiving possession some 40 yards from goal, Bostock controlled the ball on the inside of his left foot, allowing it to run between his legs as he turned away from his marker before unleashing a thunderbolt strike which left Dorus de Vries grasping at thin air as it ripped into the top corner of the net. Click here to watch for yourself.

While James, who was one of the few England players to return from South Africa with even a shred of dignity intact, is now unlikely to appear for the Three Lions again as Fabio Capello dispenses with many of his old guard, Bostock gave a glimpse of what the future could hold and has already been capped at Under-19 and Under-17 level.

The opportunity for Bostock to feature regularly again will be pivotal to his development as, after emerging onto the scene with Palace, he made an acrimonious move across London to Tottenham in the summer of 2008, citing his desire to further his career by training with the White Hart Lane first-team and featuring for their reserves.

Sadly, Spurs elected to shelve their second string last term, electing instead to operate a 'tailor-made games programme' combined with sending their younger talents out on loan, with Bostock heading to Brentford where, despite bagging a brace on his debut in a 2-2 draw with Millwall, he was unable to hold down a first-team berth, before bemoaning his lack of opportunities with Tottenham.

Palace fans remain bitter over his departure from Selhurst Park and will point to the fact that the gifted 18-year-old, who came through their youth system from the age of seven, would have enjoyed far greater opportunities with the Eagles over the past two seasons. They certainly have a point and Bostock can expect an interesting reception on his return to South East London on 11th December.

But for the good of the game in this country, players with ability such as Bostock need to be given every opportunity to flourish, develop and help lift the malaise which has enveloped the nation after a World Cup which exposed so many flaws.

Favourites

It was an unhappy weekend for the pre-season bookmakers' favourites in the Championship, League One and League Two this weekend, with Middlesbrough, Southampton and Bradford all suffering opening day defeats at the hands of Ipswich, Plymouth and Shrewsbury, respectively.

Supporters across the three divisions will hope that many of the unexpected results from the weekend can be continued throughout the campaign to ensure maximum entertainment from the forthcoming 45 fixtures.

Stevenage

A final mention must go to Stevenage who finally made their Football League bow this weekend - some 14 years after they were denied promotion in 1996 with their ground deemed not up to standard.

Peter Vincenti claimed a little piece of history with their first-ever goal at this level to give them a dream start against Macclesfield, only for the visitors to threaten to spoil the party before Charlie Griffin bagged a last-gasp leveller in a 2-2 draw.

Next up is for Graham Westley's side is their debut in the Carling Cup and a home meeting with 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth in front of the Sky Sports cameras.