Date:Monday January 22 2007
After the bad press Stephen Hunt received after his Premiership debut I think the Reading winger has done an outstanding job of making his mark in the Premiership for his footballing prowess.
Hunty has shown remarkable strength in character to come through the incident with Petr Cech and show he does not care what others think about him.
Recently he has come into his own with superb performances against West Ham, Everton and now Sheffield Untied - games in which he has scored or as in the case of Everton, instigated the goal.
Stephen has shown himself to be a true troublemaker on the flanks, and the now fit Bobby Convey is going to have a mammoth task on his hands prying the left wing back from Hunt.
I have to admit; when Convey first got injured I was very concerned. I don`t think I was alone in feeling Hunt would not cut it in the Premiership, and at first it seemed I would be right.
But the Irish winger kept at, with his work ethic and performances that just keep improving; Hunt has come in to his own.
My one concern is that even though quite the innocent party in the Keith Gillespie fiasco on Saturday, if incidents with Hunt keep occurring we may see his status raised to the notoriety of a Robbie Savage type character.
But I think Hunt, just like Savage, would thrive on this kind of pressure raising his game yet another level.
While some critics already question Hunt`s attitude, his team-mate and first goal scorer on Saturday, Shane Long, insists that Hunt is just a teddy bear:
He is unlucky the way things happen around him. He seems to get the brunt of them but he is an honest player and wouldn't want to hurt anyone. He's a little teddy bear really.
'There was nothing to it really and a credit to him for the way he just got on with it and scored. That showed the player that he is. He is confident in himself and I wish him well.'
For now we will have to wait and see if Hunt becomes a pantomime villain footballer, but in the mean time if he keeps giving a hundred percent effort and tip-top performances like he has recently, the only reputation he will be earning is as a match winner.
So raise your glasses and tip your hats - hip-hip-hooray for Hunty!
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