COMMENT: Kaloczi is just like Ram, only better

James Kaloczi has a shot at goal. Picture: Leigh Page

James Kaloczi has a shot at goal. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

James Kaloczi is better than Ram Marwa.

Ram Marwa, with kit manager John Feneley, picked up players' player of the year. Picture: Leigh Page

Ram Marwa, with kit manager John Feneley, picked up players' player of the year. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

There, I said it. Some fans may disagree with me but I’m sticking to my guns.

Anyone who has spoken to me about St Albans City will know how highly I regard Kaloczi, and how shocked I was that he was loaned out, not once but twice this season.

The managers know James a lot better than I do and I’m sure they had their reasons to let potentially their best player spend nearly four months of the season in the Ryman Premier Division, at Wingate and Finchley, rather than help the Saints push for the play-offs. It’s a minor gripe now that he’s back in the team and arguably the best player on the pitch – the loan looks like a master-stroke.

“Best player on the pitch.” It was a phrase constantly anointed to Ram, too. It started out with saying he does the unsung work that nobody notices. Then people started to take notice and it was obvious how good he was.

His touch was magnetic, he didn’t lose headers or second balls and he allowed James Comley and Sam Corcoran to do what they do best. Simply, he was a fantastic player.

While comparing players, especially ones from different years, is more often than not a pointless exercise, I see all the same traits in Kaloczi. His poise on the ball, for a 19-year-old, is sensational and he’s only going to get better. And that’s what elevates him in my mind.

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While Marwa was in the twilight of his career when he came to Clarence Park, Kalcozi has time on his side and is still learning. But the raw talent is unmistakable.

When he signed as an 18-year-old ahead of the promotion-winning 2013/14 season, I honestly didn’t think he’d be around for this long. I was convinced he would establish himself in the team, get noticed and earn a move to a Football League club.

That didn’t work out, but I’m incredibly confident it will.

We’re beginning to see what he’s capable of now. Yes, he has been pencilled in as a centre-half, but the way he patrols the midfield and his ability to get forward and score – he netted seven times last season – make it difficult to push him back.

After Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Basingstoke, in which he was unsurprisingly superb, it was great to hear Jimmy Gray echo what I have long believed about Kalcozi.

“Kaloczi was immense. He highlighted everything we’re about; he won his headers, his seconds and his tackles. He’s really establishing himself at Conference South level and he’s only 19,” he said.

“His attitude has changed, he’s knuckled down and knows his role in the team; we’re asking him to do the unselfish stuff.

“We’re just trying to keep his feet on the ground. He’s a young lad establishing himself and he could finish the season with 20 appearances at Conference South. He could play 800.

“I’m hoping he kicks on further and forces himself into the professional game. There aren’t many 19-year-olds in and around academies that can do what he does.

We’re dangling the carrot for him, and if he wants to be a pro, and if we can help him, we will.”