Sears Loving Life At The U's
U's striker Freddie Sears has been going some way recently to halt the critics he has faced ever since emerging onto the scene as a teenager at West Ham United.
Then aged eighteen, Sears scored against Blackburn on his Premier League debut to make an immediate mark on the first team picture having been prolific for both youth and reserves in the years previous.
However, in the four years that followed before signing on loan for the U's last season, Sears managed just two more goals and had to face criticism of both his goalscoring ability and failure to live up to the promise shown.
Speaking to the BBC, Sears reflected on that period of his career, saying: 'I had a long spell at West Ham where I was playing maybe one game every two months, and to get judged on goalscoring then is very difficult.
'I've played the last few games and when you get the consistency, that's when you should be judged on your goalscoring.'
Freddie really began to show the promise he still holds in pre-season where he notched goal after goal as the U's stood up to tests against West Ham, Ipswich and Derby, amongst others.
The now 23-year-old looked like a real livewire and was set to be crucial to the U's side this campaign but, again, found his chances limited with the side struggling.
Despite starting the first six league games under John Ward, the chances weren't quite falling for the former England U21s international, and the U's sank to the foot of the League One table with just two points from their opening eighteen, and only four goals in those games.
A string of appearances off of the bench followed, until he was handed a start at Northampton in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy where he put in a Man of the Match performance and capped it off with a goal for the side now managed by Joe Dunne.
Again, Sears had to wait another six games before being handed a start, this time at Crewe, where he scored again. The following week, and a goal against Bury gave him three goals from his three previous starts.
Five successive defeats without a goal for the striker left Sears without any minutes on the pitch until Scunthorpe came to Essex in mid-January, where he came off the bench to link up excellently with George Porter, bagging the U's consolation and injecting energy into the side; he hasn't looked back since.
An identical feat followed in the next game, as Sears once again came off the bench against Walsall to fire in a goal for the U's, before being handed another start at Portsmouth. In a front four alongside Gavin Massey, George Porter and Jabo Ibehre, Sears tore Pompey ragged and bagged another goal as the U's raced into a 3-1 lead.
Roll onto last Saturday, and Sears notched his fourth goal in five games as he secured the 1-0 win over Preston, continuing to quash the criticism given his way as he fits perfectly into the attacking system deployed by Dunne.
'It's definitely the best run I've had,' he continued to BBC Essex. 'But it's also the most consistent run I've had.
'I'm happy at the minute, I'm enjoying my time here and I'm getting the benefits of playing regular football.
'And, at the moment, I can't wait to get onto the pitch and I can't wait for Sheffield United on Saturday.'
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