As Crewe Alexandra’s momentum away from the League One relegation zone continues – their victory over Fleetwood last Saturday made it three consecutive victories – Jamie Ness enhances his growing reputation game on game. The midfielder, currently on loan from Stoke City, has produced a string of quality performances that have been at the heart of the Alex revival.
The 23 year old Scot began his career at Glasgow Rangers and made his debut for the first team aged just 19. His progress however was hampered by injury and he became a free agent when the club went into administration. He joined Stoke City in 2012 on a four year deal but struggled to make an impact, and after a brief loan spell at Leyton Orient he went on loan to Crewe.
Under Steve Davis, Jamie has flourished and has become integral to the Alex midfield. He is almost the perfect midfielder; he can tackle, pass, head and score, although the latter category is the one which he is in most need of improving if his current progress is to be maintained. Although Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill was witness to his table-toppers going down to a blistering Ness drive before Christmas.
Although two-footed, Jamie has a wand of a left foot that can execute anything from a 40 yard cross-field pass to a delicate chip that can take several opponents out of the game in an instant.
Perhaps his greatest asset is his vision. Against Yeovil on February 10th, he played a brilliant ’round the corner’ first-time pass that would not have been out of place in the Premier League. Running that vision very close as his prize asset is his desire to play a killer pass every time he gets possession. Too many modern midfield players wait until they have the ball before they decide on what to do with it. Jamie Ness is different. He has a picture in his head of what he is going to do with the ball as it comes to him and more often than not his pass reaches its intended target.
Although blessed with an abundance of midfield skills he is not afraid of putting in a shift and his work rate makes a significant contribution to his work from box to box and turning defence into attack.
The Crewe team as a whole, is benefitting from Jamie’s work in midfield, but benefitting especially is Alex striker Nick Ajose. Although his eighth goal in 11 games, in the win over Yeovil, wasn’t down to a Ness assist, the striker, currently on loan from Leeds, paid his own tribute to the Scot. Ajose says.
“Jamie has helped me immensely. He is a really good player. Obviously he comes from a Premier League club and he can definitely play in a higher league than League One.”
After 9 caps at Under 17 and Under 19 level, Jamie Ness has made two appearances for the Scottish Under 21 team. If his goal tally gets anywhere near the quality of the rest of his midfield skill-set then he might just return to Stoke City a more complete midfielder, ready to be unleashed onto the Premier League stage.