Macauley Bonne takes centre stage. . . Charlton pin survival hopes on Zim striker
CHAMPIONSHIP side Charlton Athletic are banking on Zimbabwe international Macauley Bonne to fire them to safety when the English second tier league resumes today after the coronavirus (Covid-19) break.
With Charlton top striker and leading scorer Lyle Taylor refusing to play any further matches for the Addicks, all the responsibility of scoring the goals that will save the side from relegation now rest on Bonne’s shoulders.
Taylor has shone for Charlton scoring 11 goals in 22 matches this season despite knee and thigh injuries and last season scored 25 goals as the club were promoted via the League One play-offs.
The 30-year-old has not trained with the club since the beginning of the month with coach Lee Bowyer admitting he twice failed in his efforts to change the striker’s mind.
The development has now put Bonne in the spotlight as he is expected to lead the team’s fight for survival.
Charlton Athletic currently sit third from bottom and are in desperate need of maximum points if they entertain any hopes of surviving beginning with a clash against Hull today.
“It’s Lyle’s decision and we have to respect that. It’s a big blow but it’s an opportunity for myself and the other forwards,” the Zimbabwe international told British media yesterday.
“I see it as my chance to show people that I can score again in the final nine games.”
With nine matches left, Bonne hopes to use some of the tips he got from Arsenal pair of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette during a recent friendly match between the two sides.
“I watched Arsenal’s strikers and I saw why they are a level above,” he said.
“The one thing I really noticed from Aubameyang and Lacazette is they don’t waste any energy. They have an on and off switch.
“They can walk around watching the ball for two minutes but when it comes to them, ‘It’s bang, 100-miles an hour and the ball is in the back of the net’.
“Now I’ve realised it’s something I don’t always have to do. After watching them, I need to learn and save as much energy as I’ve got.”
Bonne, who swapped then National League champions Leyton Orient for English football’s second tier in June 2019, hopes to emulate Jamie Vardy and Callum Wilson, who have completed the fairytale rise of non-league to the English Premier League.
“The ambition for every kid is to play at the highest level one day, whether that’s with Charlton or another club,” Bonne said.
“That’s my goal. If I’m given the chance, like I have been here, then I believe I’ll take it.
“I sit in the bath and watch Youtube videos of Vardy and Callum Wilson. They have gone from non-league to the highest level and it fuels me to say, ‘Why can’t it be me? I want to write a story like Vardy, I’m on my own journey and I don’t want to waste time.
“I’ve still got a job to do at Charlton but the interest is flattering because I grew up on a council estate in Ipswich and used to play football on a basketball court with 30 mates. To go from that to being linked to Premier League clubs is overwhelming.
“Only a few years ago, I was playing at Maidstone, Maidenhead and Solihull Moors and grounds which didn’t even have stands so to play at the Emirates was an unbelievable experience.”