Brett Holman answers the critics
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Brett Holman was one of the most derided players in the Socceroos squad. He has polarised fans as he doesn’t have the greatest touch in the world and his passing needed improvement.
His constant misses throughout the qualifiers has also earned the ire of the fan. The much silkier Nicky Carle’s omission from the squad and the presence of Brett Holman had caused a great deal of controversy.
Often fans were baffled on the reason why Holman was continually selected in the squad and what Pim saw in him. Holman showed everyone why he was selected this morning scoring a superb goal against Serbia and finishing the tournament as our top goal scorer.
The most obvious strength of Holman was his work rate and stamina. If Australia was playing a pressing game, having Holman was a big advantage in winning the ball in the opposition half and generally no other player was better to cause turnovers throughout the qualifiers. Even the detractors of Holman have realised that he works his guts of for the Australian team.
The strength of Holman was his positioning and off the ball running. His ability to make intelligent runs also created chances for him to finish for the team. His ability to do dummy runs often created spaces for other people in the team to exploit. As much as I like Carle for his flair and his technique, this was something lacking in Carle’s game.
Even during the qualifiers when Holman touch and passing was letting the team down, his entrance to the game has often resulted in Australia playing more fluent and more threatening in attack. Even enough to be singled out for praise by the Netherlands manager Van Marwijk who was quoted saying: “Against Russia with playmaker (Andrei) Arshavin, Van Bommel and De Jong played well but against (Australia’s) Brett Holman they never got control.”
Of course, making intelligent runs means nothing if you can’t put the ball in the back of the net and Holman was often infuriating missing chances after chances due to lack of composure. However, if you look at his goal scoring record in the Netherlands, he has scored almost 60 goals there having a goal in every four games for NEC Nijmegen and SBV Excelsior. It’s a fairly respectable goal scoring record for an attacking midfielder.
Despite Holman missing chances for the Socceroos, Pim kept faith with him as he knew that he has the potential to score goals for the Socceroos. That faith has been paid off with first having a cool finish against New Zealand and then showing excellent reaction to punish Ghana and now a long distance gem against Serbia.
People may be surprised by his ability to hit shots from distance but having seen this video, Holman has demonstrated that he was capable of hitting long shot at club level and that his goal against Serbia was no fluke.
Even if his performance hasn’t won over your support, you have to admire the way he has performed despite being derided by critics and mocked by our own fans. Now that Holman has finally gained his confidence, let’s hope that this is the beginning of a prolific and long career for the Socceroos. Even if he doesn’t push on, at least he will still be remembered as our hero for the Socceroos from this World Cup.
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Video produced by Riordan Lee.