Appearances: 90 (32)
Estimated Value: £400,000
Reportedly Interested: Plymouth, Norwich, Cardiff, Watford, Sheffield United
Having been released from Arsenal’s youth system, Demetriou came to Orient at the age of 14 and has never looked back. A string of increasingly impressive performances in the Orient engine room have earned him both international recognition with Cyprus and the attention of Championship clubs.
Jason’s importance to the side cannot be underestimed. His ball-carrying ability, energy and enthusiasm drive the team forward, and his – sometimes fractious – passion and will to win should be replicated throughout the side if we want to challenge at the right end of the table. Whilst he lacks genuine pace, he accelerates quickly and can beat a man on either side.
On the negative aspect, he still lacks a serious physical presence and at times his decision-making displays the naivety one would expect from such a young player. He also has tendancies towards simulation and allowing his temper get the better of him. However, all these deficiencies can be overcome by a growing maturity.
But would he be better obtaining this experience at Orient or elsewhere? It’s difficult to say whether or not Jason would walk into a Championship side. His versatility, so vital to a club with a small squad like Orient, may prove to be his downfall at a larger club, where specialist wingers will be in abundance, and competition for his favoured central midfield berth filled with tougher opponents.
In pre-season so far, Demetriou has been used in central midfield, suggesting that he may find himself there more often during this the coming campaign. That said, with Jimmy Smith, Sean Thornton and Adam Chambers (along with promising youngsters Daryl Sydes and Matthew Hall) all with valid claims of playing central midfield, it is perhaps the strongest area of Orient’s squad. Will Jason be completely happy if, as looks likely, he is only used out wide?
Of course, playing out wide is preferable to not playing at all, and it is Vital Orient’s opinion that Demetriou will benefit from another year at League One level, whilst gaining extra experience whilst away with the Cyprus national squad. The arrival of James Scowcroft will provide Demetriou with a quality target to hit from wide positions, and, with the overall look of the side improving with every new signing, some of the weight of expectation should be removed from the young man’s shoulders. The club’s financial situation is also not as parlous as previous seasons (though, at the cost of owning our own ground, lest we forget) so we’re not under any pressure to sell.
Manager Geraint Williams has told the Waltham Forest Guardian: “We`re determined to hold on to all good players whom we want to keep at Leyton Orient, not just certain individuals. So we will do our very best to keep the players who are here. They`re all under contract, so unless an offer comes in which we`re totally unable to turn down, then we will keep them at this club.” It remains to be seen how high a club will have to bid to break the barrier of ‘totally unable to turn down’, although the most recent example – Gabby Zakuani – would indicate that Orient hold true to this promise of ensuring clubs pay over the odds for our contracted starlets.
Vital Orient’s advice is to enjoy Jason while he’s here. Whether the reported interest is genuine or just paper talk, it’s clear that his performances are of a calibre above and beyond a run-of-the-mill League One midfielder. If Orient can’t get there with Demetriou in their ranks, then he will have to plough his own furrow up the leagues, and a move to a bigger club will be only a matter of time.
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