Vincent Hogan: Pennant just not good enough to wear green
Published 28/03/2011 | 05:00
On Setanta last week, we were given a nostalgic glimpse of Jermaine Pennant before the bling and the self-regard took hold. It was May of '03 and Britain's then most expensive teenager scored an 11-minute hat-trick on his full Premier League debut for Arsenal.
He walked off afterwards into an opera of superlatives as the 6-1 destruction of Southampton was acclaimed as an introductory fanfare for England's next football superstar.
Yet, Jermaine's story already gave off a hum. He'd been sent home from an England U-21 squad for breaking a curfew and, that day at Highbury, Arsene Wenger declared that the kid had been through a "difficult period".