As well as the festivities and seeing in the start of a new year, December has been another eventful month for the Skillequal family. Here’s a look at just what’s been going on…
Starting with some fantastic work behind the scenes, it was revealed that Michael Carrick’s testimonial raised an incredible £1.5million, which will be distributed to the midfielder’s chosen charities through the Michael Carrick Foundation. The match, which took place last June, saw 70,000 fans pack out Old Trafford to watch an entertaining 2-2 draw between a Manchester United ’08 XI and Michael Carrick All-Stars team. Michael said: “To be given a testimonial at this great football club, is something I didn’t take lightly at all. I’m blown away by all the support we received and I’m so thrilled to announce that we raised £1.5 million for the Michael Carrick foundation.”
I genuinely can’t believe my testimonial raised £1.5m, with every penny going to @_MCFoundation. I’m totally blown away and so grateful for all the support I’ve received. To everyone who has contributed in any way, however big or small, THANK YOU ?? pic.twitter.com/XQX2RqSeGu
— Michael Carrick (@carras16) December 22, 2017
On the pitch, Peterborough United striker Jack Marriott has carried on his red-hot form for Posh in League One. The 23-year-old netted seven times throughout the month to take his tally to 21 in his debut season at London Road. By the start of 2018, Jack had been involved in 20 league goals (17 goals / 3 assists), which was only second to Liverpool’s Mo Salah (17 goals / 5 assists) in England’s top four divisions.
In the Premier League, Nick Pope has continued to perform well for Burnley after picking up the club’s Player of the Month Award for November. The goalkeeper kept four clean sheets in December meaning he has reached double figures for the season – a record only bettered by Manchester United’s David de Gea, Manchester City’s Ederson and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois.
Elsewhere in the top flight, Mark Noble has helped revitalise West Ham United since David Moyes took over as manager. As well as scoring in the 3-0 win at Stoke City, the captain also became the first Hammer to rack up 100 Premier League wins in the London derby against Chelsea – a match Joe Cole made an appearance as a Sky Sports pundit.
100 – This was the 100th Premier League win that Mark Noble has played in for West Ham United; the first player to reach this landmark for the club in the competition. Leader. pic.twitter.com/XnGGk7yYZy
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 9, 2017
January signals the start of the transfer window but here at Skillequal we have recently wrapped up a deal of our own with GKS Tychy and Poland youth international prospect Jan Bieganski becoming the latest member of our family. We very much look forward to guiding the midfielder through his footballing adventure.
Talking of new beginnings, it was great to see Charlton Athletic’s Harry Lennon back in action. The defender made his first league appearances in 14 months following injury and most notably helped the Addicks keep a clean sheet at league leaders Wigan Athletic in his first start.
Ipswich Town’s Teddy Bishop also made his comeback from injury but, unfortunately, the 21-year-old is now expected to be sidelined for the remainder of this campaign as he requires surgery on a hamstring problem picked up in his first start of the season against QPR. We all wish Teddy well with his recovery.
We also send our best wishes to Robbie Brady who is also likely to miss the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury. The Republic of Ireland international was in fantastic form for Burnley, helping them reach the top-four in the Premier League, creating 26 chances in 15 appearances.
A team that’s recovered well after an inconsistent start is Portsmouth. The Fratton Park club won four of five league matches in December to put them right back in play-off contention. One of the key reasons for their upturn in form is the performances of our very own Matt Clarke. The defender was named in the EFL’s Team of the Week before scoring the winner against Bury seven days later.
Last month we featured Nathan Jones and his exciting Luton Town team. And after officially collecting his second successive League Two Manager of the Month Award in December (for November), we’re pleased to say Nathan’s side continued to perform, topping the table by four points at the turn of the year.
After a successful month and 2017, all that’s left for now is for us to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year. We look forward to updating you with all the latest news next month and throughout 2018.