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Van Egmond continues to flounder with the Jets

Janek Speight Columnist

By Janek Speight, Janek Speight is a Roar Expert

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    Gary van Egmond has either lost the plot or he’s actually a genius who will rise to the top of A-League management.

    The Newcastle Jets are reportedly looking to rid their roster of midfield general Kasey Wehrman and if true it is another disgraceful example of how not to handle a tricky situation.

    First it was the ugly scenes of the Culina(s) saga, though at least that decision came from upstairs.

    Now it is van Egmond’s turn and his man-management skills leave something to be desired.

    Wehrman is in hot water for comments made to a media outlet where he questioned the Jets’ tactical approach during away games.

    He said the side should “be more respectful” when travelling and “batten down the hatches”. For a side that has failed to win on the road in 2011 it is a fair comment.

    Van Egmond has tried to impose a high-tempo, pressing style game, starting attacks from the back line. He, like Branko Culina before him, has aspirations of being the “Barcelona” of Australia.

    Unfortunately the playing staff is insufficient and cannot possibly be expected to play such a disciplined style.

    For sides that lack a Xavi, Iniesta or Pique, it is wishful thinking.

    There are few teams in the world that can play with only one game plan in mind and the Jets are not one of them.

    Van Egmond seems to be working towards “the greater good”, yet it is becoming plainly obvious that all he achieving is a stubborn, delusional persona.

    It is true that he came in with an inherited squad, but he has to work with what he’s got.

    The sign of a good manager is one who can adapt to the situation in front of them, not one who refuses to formulate a Plan B, C or even D.

    Wehrman’s departure would not be the end of the world, he has not been anywhere near his best this season and he’s only getting older. If van Egmond prefers younger, more agile players, that’s fair enough.

    However Wehrman is probably the only player in the Jets squad capable of actually playing van Egmond’s preferred style.

    Perhaps his comments string from frustration at his teammates inability to come to grips with the tactics?

    Of all the players in the Jets squad, Wehrman and Michael Bridges are apparently the only two who have displayed a touch good enough to perform in tight spaces, and a willingness to give it a go.

    Kantarovski has, so far, been unable to recover from a terrible injury, Jobe Wheelhouse continues to deceive during his hundredth chance of playing professional football, Zadkovich – while great without the ball – is frustrating in attack, and Brockie and Griffiths are too hot and cold.

    Anyone who has watched and squirmed uncomfortably as Tiago, Topor-Stanley and Kennedy attempt to play out from the back should understand that van Egmond needs to adapt for at least this season.

    He can make changes in the winter, off-load the deadwood and start afresh.

    He can still impose his philosophy this season but without such dogmatism.

    His quote last month almost defies belief:

    ‘‘If we’ve got two different game plans, then it’s definitely not going to work, so we have to ensure that all parties are going in the right direction, and if that’s the case, then life becomes a lot more easy on the football pitch.’’

    It’s ok to have a dream, a philosophy to play “good” football, but to throw out the tactical book and choose a single-minded route is a recipe for disaster.

    Your team can still pull in the same direction while following different game plans for different opponents.

    As suggested already, a manager’s greatest trait is adapting to surrounding environments. And that includes playing to your players’ strengths.

    Janek Speight
    Janek Speight

    Janek is a freelance journalist based in Berlin. You can follow him on Twitter, @JanekSpeight

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • January 12th 2012 @ 9:41am
      Mick said | January 12th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      The other week I was watching NJ defenders passing belly / thigh height balls to the midfielders who were facing their own goal & opposition player marking them & the possession was being lost

      Passing game is good when players can actually pass the ball & players have the technique to control it

    • January 12th 2012 @ 9:49am
      Nephilim said | January 12th 2012 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      I interpret, ‘‘‘If we’ve got two different game plans, then it’s definitely not going to work, so we have to ensure that all parties are going in the right direction, and if that’s the case, then life becomes a lot more easy on the football pitch.’’ As something different, I thought he ment that everyone needs to be on the same wavelegnth and not running about doing their own thing. Which you summed up by saying,
      “However Wehrman is probably the only player in the Jets squad capable of actually playing van Egmond’s preferred style.

      Perhaps his comments string from frustration at his teammates inability to come to grips with the tactics?”

      Mayhap the messages (especially via the written word) can be misconstrued, done wrongly or interpretted falsely by all parties involved. This realy should have been sorted with a good chat over a cuppa, rather than a public forum/s that adds no nuance to the words, nor discussion between the parties to clarify or to reason. GVE is at fualt here, but no more than Wehrman.

      • Columnist

        January 12th 2012 @ 11:17am
        Janek Speight said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        Too right, I agree GVE’s comment could indeed be taken a different way, but if you string together his comments over the whole season I think it’s right to say he is refusing to budge from playing “the right” style of football.
        Another side-story in this whole “second-coming” of GVE is his complete disrespect to Chris Payne. He publicly labelled the player “not good enough” according to media outlets when asked why he wouldn’t be considered for the senior squad. That’s just not on for a professional manager and another example of bad man-management.

        • January 12th 2012 @ 11:39am
          Michael, Newcastle said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

          Actually, that’s one I thought was OK. If he’s not up to scratch, he needs to be told. It wasn’t the best way to phrase it. He could have said “he really needs to improve, at the mo’ he’s not at the level to be included in the senior squad” etc.

          • Columnist

            January 12th 2012 @ 3:06pm
            Janek Speight said | January 12th 2012 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

            Is it really right to bag a player out in public yet take offence to relatively harmless comments about the side’s performances away from home? I don’t think so, keep the criticism indoors and stay professional. Chris Payne really can’t be as bad as some of the performances dished out by Newcastle’s forwards this season.

            • January 13th 2012 @ 10:18am
              Michael said | January 13th 2012 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              You’re right, it did seem unnecessary. Branko was very complimentary about Payne. I think he’d be better than Haliti.

              But I don’t think GVE saying “not good enough” is bagging him, it’s just telling it like it is.

              Kasey and GVE have probably had other disagreements before what KW said on TV, which was a very tame thing to say. Maybe GVE just wanted a reason to boot him, and maybe he just has no people skills.

        • January 12th 2012 @ 11:44am
          Nephilim said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          The NJ’s are not my team, so I realy do not know what has been said, but there is little differences between a commander and an a-hole, but the product is vastly different.

    • January 12th 2012 @ 10:22am
      Michael, Newcastle said | January 12th 2012 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      Who really knows what has been said between coach and player? Wehrman doesn’t fit GVE’s style obviously, but Kasey is no shrinking violet either and you would remember his bust up with Ljubo. He may have said more than we have heard.

      The backline is poor at the moment. Regan is holding the fort. NTS will come back.

      The jury is out on GVE. He’s either a barking mad dictator or a guy who’s rebuilding and causing ructions as he goes. There were a lot of people saying Branko Culina was a dictator who played favourites and had lost the dressing room too, so it’s not unique to van Egmond.

      It does look like he needs to sharpen his personal skills up a bit, unless there’s something we’re not seeing through the media. Nah, that couldn’t be true, the media knows everything.

    • January 12th 2012 @ 10:44am
      GirlieBird said | January 12th 2012 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      @Mick, I agree, there have been far too many suicidal passes during games, either it’s the wrong pass option or the actual pass makes it incredibly difficult for the receiver to control the ball while under pressure. We also seem to rely heavily on the rebound of the ball off an opponent – this rarely works.
      For each match there should be a plan for how to approach it and every player has their role, but there should also be contingency plans, the team needs to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, either within their team e.g. X player gets injured and needs to be subbed or in the opponents team e.g. X player has now switched to the other side of the field, or whatever. Obviously it’s difficult to plan for every possible scenario, but there should be some backup plan if the original gameplan isn’t working. The other thing is its partly up to the players to respond to changes within the match e.g. realising weaknesses and then exploiting them.
      Maybe a lot of the players we have aren’t able to adapt to GVE’s style, but we know we can play great football, we’ve seen it, but it needs to be more consistent.
      Our away form has started to improve, hopefully it won’t be long before we start getting results – the derby will be tough but a win is possible

    • January 12th 2012 @ 11:05am
      cliff said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      If you remember Ange P in his first season with BRoar,the results for the NJets are very similar.The BRoar play according to one system and everyone has lauded them.The problem for GVE is that teams now know how to beat the play out from the back system so even if the NJets master it they may still struggle for results.
      Before fans become too critical however,if you take a look at all A-League teams,the standouts with a slick passing game are CCM ,BR and MH.CCM relies heavily on counter attack and Amini.BR rely heavily on Broich and MH rely heavily on Fred.So you need a system and a star player to create options in attack.
      NJ under Culina were going nowhere,so a change under the circumstances was fortunate.GVE will need a full off season to turn things around,but anyone who thinks there is some wonder coach who can easily win games in such an even competition under a salary cap is living in a fantasy world.

    • January 12th 2012 @ 11:07am
      Bondy said | January 12th 2012 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      To watch proceedings going on there, it looked to me GVE was trying to impliment a pressing game high up the park i remember watching them play against the heart down there and by pressing high up the park thats were the Jets goalscoring opportunies came from in that game “the other blokes lost the ball under pressure in their defensive third” they didn’t have to create goalscoring opportunities by pressing the others just simply loose the ball .

      To watch them play against MVFC last week they look more comfortable with the old style of futbol not new, long ball into Brockie back to goal, they did put in a shift though .
      I dont necessarily understand the Wherman situation i could have told you a month ago he wont be there next year he’s to slow for any club.
      More punishment this weekend lads .

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