What's in a name? Not what you think...

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A thought struck the other night, while watching Ashley Young. What happens when he turns 30, and can’t be described – in football terms – as Young any more?

It’s a real concern to team-mate Luke Young, who hits the big Three-Oh next summer. Although to be honest, that square-jawed son of the soil never did ‘look young.’ (Try it in a Peter Kay accent.)

But rarely do names reliably indicate the mark of a man. Word reaches us from Barcelona that Lionel Messi keeps a very tidy apartment. Glen Little’s 6ft 3in tall. Kilmarnock’s Danny Invincibile has often tasted defeat. Ian Rush is a man of leisure. And Ruud Gullit’s very polite.

Hull City’s Ryan France isn’t French, but then again his team-mate John Welsh is English, Mike England’s Welsh, Alan Brazil’s Scottish and Swansea’s Jason Scotland is Trinidadian. Compared to that lot, Man City’s Stephen Ireland is a paragon of common sense. And there’s a sentence you don’t see very often.

Robert Green: That's more like it

The world would be a better place if Robert Green was green – a Hulkian hue, that is, not worldy-unwise. It’d be fun to witness a hard-fought chess match between wild-eyed Darlo defender Alan White and Inverness hardman Ian Black. (You can, if you wish, add your own Wes Brown joke.) And we’d pay to watch Tranmere’s Bas Savage clash with Darlington’s Lewis Hardman, although our enthusiasm might not be shared by Stockport’s Christopher Coward.

But if visible characteristics are easy to assess, personal traits are harder to guess. Is QPR’s Adam Bolder than Modest Mbami of Ghana? Is Huddersfield’s Aaron Hardy? Is, for that matter, the oft-subbed Liverpool new boy Robbie Keane?

If the authorities want transparency in football, players should be made to honour their names. Crime-fighting Shrewsbury duo James Constable and Shane Sherriff should endeavour to bring Peterborough’s Billy Crook before Blackburn’s Alan Judge (and possibly Gordon Durie).

Ricardo tends to Tim 

Darlo’s Ryan Valentine should try to win Joe Hart. QPR’s Lee Cook should get busy with Chesterfield’s Darren Currie and Wycombe’s Robert Rice.

Lincoln’s Stefan Oakes is probably glad he didn’t spend much time at Sincil Bank with Jamie Forrester, now pulling up trees for Notts County. Similarly, Bolton's Ricardo Gardner should tend to the every need of Tim Flowers, not to mention Hereford’s Richard Rose.

Grimsby’s Martin Butler should be at the beck and call of Gillingham’s Simon King, while Billy Paynter (Swindon) must surely acknowledge his debt to ex-West Ham full-back Paul Brush. And if the Bristol Rovers physio needs some help with David Pipe, he could call on a panoply of Plummers: Andrew (Ipswich), Matt (Hull) and Tristian (Luton).

Bolton’s Matt is one of many Taylors who might like to meet Lincoln’s Jack Cotton and Mansfield’s Gary Silk. Barnet’s Phil Carpenter could make something of Brentford’s Sam Wood, but Notts County’s Richard Butcher might not find his phone calls returned by Barry Venison...