Into the twenties of December we have now entered, and I don't think I've ever felt less Chrismassy, in fact I keep referring to it as "Monday", rather than Christmas Day. Anyway, to mark the day, I've gone with someone who was destined to get at least 20 goals as soon as the 15/16 season started, Adam Armstrong. Especially in the first half of the season, he was a machine, which is rare to find in a youngster with little to no first team experience.
Football Manager are no strangers to predicting wonderkids before they're even heard of by anyone, and Arma received this treatment in his early youth days. This meant that when he was signed on loan I at least had some basic understanding of his capabilities, albeit on a game. However I don't think anyone could have anticipated how good he was going into that 15/16 season. The debut against Wigan Athletic was a sign of things to come when he bagged an impressive brace and followed it up by doing the same a week later at Millwall.
His first strike at Millwall ended up winning goal of the season, to slaughter one from 40 odd yards and lob the keeper was astonishing. He was a big part in taking us to top of the league in November and was for the most part, top scorer in League One. It got to a stage where we were begging Newcastle daily to have his loan extended until the end of the season, after his hat trick vs Crewe, the screams were louder than ever.
I really thought Newcastle would turn to one of their own who'd been scoring goals for fun to try and get them out of deep trouble that season but luckily for us, Steve McLaren decided to let him keep on growing with the Sky Blues. For whatever reason, when the loan was extended he just wasn't the same player, having accumulated 16 goals in the first half of the season, he only managed to stumble to 20 with his late goal at Oldham on the final day.
Given how it ended up after the turn of the year, some people struggle to remember how good he actually was before that. Other than David McGoldrick and maybe the Leon Clarke/Callum Wilson days, he is one of a rare breed of seriously clinical strikers we've had in recent years. It's a shame he hasn't been able to carry it on at the same levels in the Championship with Barnsley and now Bolton, but hopefully he can still have a long and successful career as a footballer.