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Nigel Reo-Coker gets a fresh start in Vancouver

Feb 22, 2013, 8:12 AM EDT

Crystal Palace v Ipswich Town - npower Championship Getty Images

Perhaps a move across the Atlantic is exactly what Nigel Reo-Coker needs as a “re-set” on a career that never seemed to reach maximum velocity.

For so many years, the actual output has never seemed to match the level of talent when it comes to the former West Ham, Aston Villa and Bolton man. (He’s been elsewhere, but those were his Premier League stops.)

At 28 years old, now a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Reo-Coker certainly has time to lay a few more bricks on the wall.

On the other hand, he has probably lost the benefit of the doubt. (Certainly from me, who watched Reo-Coker eat up a spot on my EPL fantasy team a few years back, waiting … waiting … waiting … for a goal or some other reason to justify his place on my otherwise stellar assembly. But never mind that.)

There have been issues at each club, conflicts with the coach or disagreements with upper managements. And a certain victimization complex never seems far away. Those are all the kinds of things that Whitcecaps coach Martin Rennie does not need at BC Place as he attempts to move the club in the right direction this year.

Here’s a little closer look at the midfield around BC Place, and further exploration on whether Rennie is taking a big risk here.

There is leadership ability in there with Reo-Coker, never mind the notorious hiccups. He captained the England under-21 team a few years back, and later served the same role for periods at West Ham and Villa.

So the man has come to a place where the media pressure will be less intense, and where he can truly get a fresh start. Rennie has talked already about Reo-Coker’s versatility, about getting the most from his talents at right back or somewhere in the midfield.

As to whether the player will take advantage? That’s on him.

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