At 31-years-old Francis Jeffers is supposed to be playing regular football in the Premier League. He is supposed to be an England international potentially rivalling Michael Owen for the starting berth in the national side and eventually pushing on to become one of England’s greatest ever goal-scorers.
But as one former Everton trainee went to number five outright in the all-time goalscoring list for his country the other was finalising a deal to play his professional football in…Malta.
Jeffers career has spiralled since he moved for £8 million pound from Merseyside to North London with Arsenal in 2001. His date with destiny was continually put on hold as he struggled with injury and poor form at Highbury. He returned to Goodison on loan but fell out with David Moyes and was sent back to Arsenal with his tail between his legs and that has been the story of his career since. He was released by Sheffield Wednesday after disciplinary problems caused his position to be untenable and spells with Motherwell and Newcastle Jets and never recovering from a severe ankle break caused by Ryan Shawcross (hmm?) in 2007.
Considering his international career it is a shock to see the way his career has actually panned out in comparison to his potential. He scored 13 goals in just 16 appearances for Englands under-21s making him the sides joint record scorer, in illustrious company with Alan Shearer. He made his England debut in the same fixture as Wayne Rooney again continuing the alter-parallels of the two Evertonian’s careers. He even scored joining names such as David Nugent to enjoy the goals-per-game ratio of one-in-one for his nation.
However the Everton prodigy, who seemingly had the world at his feet, will now play alongside former Reading defender Aaron Brown, Liverpool keeper Tony Warner and Carl Tremarco of Macclesfield Town fame under the tutelage of former Southampton and England centre-back Mark Wright at Tal-Irish as they chase a 26th national league title.
What do you make of the career of Francis ‘Franny’ Jeffers?
image: © zachleat