Maclaren’s Socceroos omission a step backwards for football in Australia

Paul Williams Columnist

By Paul Williams, Paul Williams is a Roar Expert

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    When FFA appointed Dutchman Bert van Marwijk as coach back in January we all knew what we were getting.

    A gun for hire. A short-term approach. A man who made no bones about his mandate – to get Australia out of Group C at the FIFA World Cup. Long-term plans were to be shelved. Short-term thinking was now in vogue.

    How else can you explain the decision to leave Jamie Maclaren, Australia’s most in-form striker anywhere in the world, out of the 26-man World Cup squad to travel to Turkey for the pre-tournament training camp?

    It is a baffling decision however you look at it. Let’s just look at the cold hard facts.

    Maclaren has scored eight goals for Hibernian in 22 matches since joining in January, averaging a goal every 131 minutes. The next best of those named as a forward in van Marwijk’s initial squad is Andrew Nabbout with a goal every 212, followed by Apo Giannou (goal every 231 minutes) and Nikita Rukavystya (goal every 235 minutes).

    At this moment in time, Australia doesn’t have a better goal scorer anywhere on the planet. And off the back of his incredible hattrick against Rangers on the weekend, making it five goals in as many matches to finish off the Scottish season, his confidence is sky high.

    Maclaren is a confidence player, there is no better time to bring him back into the Socceroos setup than now. This is his time to shine and cement his spot in the side for the foreseeable future.

    But not according to van Marwijk.

    So if he misses out, who takes his spot? Rightly or wrongly this will now be pitched as a battle between Maclaren and Tim Cahill. Van Marwijk even admitted when naming his 32-man squad last week that Cahill, who has barely played since leaving Melbourne City for Millwall, is a ‘special case’. Make of that what you will.

    Debate raged on social media on Monday morning about the merits of selecting one over the other. I am firmly in the camp that if it is a choice between the two, and given the other attacking options almost select themselves it pretty much is, that it has to be Maclaren every day of the week.

    It beggars belief that you would select a 38-year-old who has played a grand total of 157 minutes of club football this season, in which he failed to find the back of the net (in fact Cahill’s last goal at club level was back in April 2017), ahead of a 24-year-old in arguably the best form of his career.

    No one doubts Cahill’s contribution to Australian football. He will rightly be remembered as a legend of the game in Australia. His legacy, pardon the pun, is well and truly intact. But as Brisbane Times journalist Cameron Atfield tweeted on Monday, “…the World Cup isn’t a testimonial match.”

    Tim Cahill

    Tim Cahill of Australia (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

    For all that Cahill has done for the green and gold, no one owns a Socceroos jersey. It was that very attitude and culture that Ange Postecoglou was tasked with changing after the ignominious end of the so-called Golden Generation.

    Yet here we are again just a few short years later. A player, with barely any club football under his belt in the last 12 months, taking the place of a younger, more deserving player simply because of his past exploits.

    But where does it end? How long do you keep taking the safe option? And what message does this send to the younger generation coming through? We’re constantly fed the message that you need to be playing regularly and playing well to earn your spot at the World Cup. But it seems that rule applies only to some.

    And yet this was entirely predictable the moment FFA threw the long-term out the window when it appointed van Marwijk. His mandate is to get Australia out of its group at the World Cup. He cares not for the future of the game in Australia beyond July. Pragmatism will always win out in that scenario.

    That’s what made Postecoglou so refreshing in his four years in charge. There was always an eye on the future. Pragmatism was replaced with daring. There’s not a chance that Maclaren, in his current form, would’ve missed the cut under Postecoglou. He valued players in such form.

    Oh to have him back in charge. Where art thou, Postecoglou? I’m sure as he sits on a beach somewhere in the world, watching the World Cup on TV rather than experiencing it in person, Maclaren is asking himself that same question.

    Socceroos 26-man squad for pre-World Cup training camp

    Goalkeepers
    Brad Jones, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic

    Defenders
    Aziz Behich, Josh Brillante, Milos Degenek, Fran Karacic, Matt Jurman, James Meredith, Mark Milligan, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury

    Midfielders
    Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo, Aaron Mooy, Dimitri Petratos, Tom Rogic, James Troisi

    Forwards
    Daniel Arzani, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mat Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Nikita Rukavytsya

    Paul Williams
    Paul Williams

    Paul Williams is an Adelaide-based football writer. Specialising in Asian football, he writes about the beautiful game for a host of publications including SBS The World Game, FourFourTwo Singapore and Al Jazeera, and is a regular guest on the Daily Football Show. You can follow him on Twitter @PaulWilliams_85.

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    The Crowd Says (122)

    • May 15th 2018 @ 6:28am
      Onside said | May 15th 2018 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      FFA invested heavily in Tim Cahill, so maybe BVM’s contract came with a quiet, nod and a wink , caveat , ‘look after Timmy”

      • May 15th 2018 @ 8:13am
        AGO74 said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        FFA rightly cops criticism but to suggest they would do this is plainly ridiculous. Further to suggest that a Dutch (who are not exactly known for adhereing to demands) coach with the reputation that BVM has would agree to this is plainly ridiculous.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 8:22am
          Fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

          Agree. Football fans love a conspiracy and blaming everything on FFA

          • May 15th 2018 @ 10:06am
            Onside said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

            Yeah Fafida, agree, a stupid thought, and I was sober.

            • Roar Rookie

              May 15th 2018 @ 1:43pm
              Waz said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

              Well, you’re not alone on that thought. Gallop has been forced to deny Timmy’s selection was for commercial reasons … despite capital cities across Australia waking up to servo’s named after him.

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2018 @ 2:33pm
                Cameron Kellett said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                A keen observer would have noticed the team was officially unveiled today. Yet experts already established maclaren was omitted and caltex petrol stations were the day prior setting up the petrol stations. Hmm…

        • May 15th 2018 @ 11:19am
          rolly said | May 15th 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

          its the caltex socceroos and who is the face of caltex the one and only Tim Cahil .FFA have interfered in the selection process .no doubt about it .

          • May 15th 2018 @ 1:56pm
            fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

            Absurd Rolly, totally absurd. BVM would walk away if they did.

            • May 15th 2018 @ 3:27pm
              AGO74 said | May 15th 2018 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

              Yep, according to the likes of Rolly we now have Caltex as well as FFA selecting the national team…..yeah right.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2018 @ 11:16am
        Cousin Claudio said | May 15th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        Aussie Bert is his own man and picks his own teams.
        Tim Cahill will be there for his experience, presence and mentoring of the younger players if nothing else.

        And the FFA and Caltex printed over a thousand “Cahilltex” posters for their FIFA WC promotion and marketing, so its nice that he got picked and they didn’t waste their money.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 11:40am
          rolly said | May 15th 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          well then he can go as the team mascot or team motivator instead of taking a more deserving players spot .the WC only comes round once every four years .

          • Roar Guru

            May 15th 2018 @ 11:58am
            Cousin Claudio said | May 15th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

            Very true.

            Maybe Aussie Bert actually plans to use him off the bench in a tight situation, say 0-0 or 1-1 against Peru with 10 minutes to go.

            He can’t last 90 minutes, but he does know how to score a goal and he may be able to produce a miracle.
            Who knows.

            The Caltex marketing department hope he can produce a miracle at the petrol pumps too.

          • Roar Guru

            May 15th 2018 @ 12:10pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

            There’s a big list of forwards on that squad list. Why is Cahill the only one being spoken of as knocking out Maclaren. If he’s our most in form striker, why not any of those other strikers being dropped for him.

            I get why you’d like to have Timmy in your squad. It’s not about promotion, or “testimonial’s” or anything like that. Sure he can mentor younger players and the like, but more important than that, he’s someone who thrives on the big moments. He’s the sort of guy who, no matter his current playing situation, fitness or form, can be shoved into a match with 10 minutes to go and us needing a goal desperately and he’s might just pull out something.

            Not everyone in the squad has to be able to play for 90 minutes. When it comes to the big matches, having someone who just has a knack of being able to find the back of the net when put on late in the game is someone possibly worth having in the squad.

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2018 @ 4:55pm
              Cousin Claudio said | May 15th 2018 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

              I’m not saying that Cahill is a swap for McLaren, other people are asking why Cahill made it in and McLaren didn’t.
              I’m just suggesting why Aussie Bert may have picked him and yes it may have something to do with the Cahilltex promotion.

              You’d have to ask Aussie Bert why he left out McLaren.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 3:24pm
            me too said | May 15th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

            yes i bet Cameroon had wished roger milla at 38 had never stepped on the pitch in 1990!
            I am sure there were many complaining at his selection, and unlike Cahill, Milla was at that time enjoying his twilight years playing in a local league in the little island of Reunion.

    • May 15th 2018 @ 6:59am
      Rolly said | May 15th 2018 @ 6:59am | ! Report

      This decision is stupid it smacks of FFA interference in team selection how elese does one explain that a 38 years old man who hasnt played football for most of the season who is unfit who has not played European football all season gets selected over a young fit in form striker who is in his prime in form on fire and did I say young who is playing in Europe and represents the national teams future direction .it smacks of FFA interference in team selection .it makes no sense .the value of the brand that is the Socceroos has just diminished even further by this announcement .

      • May 15th 2018 @ 7:57am
        Fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        Nonsense. FFA had nothing to do with it. What benefit would they get? None.
        BMV would have walked had they made him select Cahill

        • May 15th 2018 @ 11:22am
          rolly said | May 15th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          money and sponsors .caltex socceroos of which tim cahil is the face of caltex socceroos in all their /.caltex media /promotions/tv adds .seen their latest print add its timmy face caltex are using .FFA directive.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 12:10pm
          vin said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          What benefit would they get he says, and your not invested in Football much are you Fadida.

          the decision was made all the way from Frank Lowys lounge room and his hand puppet son.

          Cahill was always going to make the team even if he didnt have a club, he only had to put his hand up.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 2:01pm
            fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

            And your evidence is what Vin?

            Not only have you gone the conspirators “it’s all FFA’s fault”, but you’ve also gone the whole hog and tried to pin it on the retired former chairman. Nice work President Trump.

            • May 16th 2018 @ 7:05pm
              Rolly said | May 16th 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

              All the adds and promos would have been made way in advance by Caltex so Caltex knew Timmy was in the squad way before we did yet team gets announced same day as Caltex adds appear with Timmy face on them .so you really think that Caltex made their advertising organised all the print media and tV commercials were all shot the same morning the team was announced .

          • May 15th 2018 @ 2:12pm
            reuster75 said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

            The truth is very simple – BVM was hired with the sole brief of getting Australia out of the group. To that degree he’s made a decision that he doesn’t believe Maclaren can help him achieve that goal so he hasn’t selected him. The whole Cahill v Maclaren debate is pointless. The debate should’ve been the merits of short term (BVM) v long term (Arnold). What will making it out of the group with BVM in charge achieve for Australian football – nothing. What would getting out of the group with Arnold achieve for Australian football – a lot (regardless of whether you’re a fan of GA or not he’s the long-term choice to lead the team so why not give him the same chance Ange had in 2014?)

            • May 15th 2018 @ 4:19pm
              me too said | May 15th 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

              getting out of the world cup group is an end in itself. that is the type of success we have been after when we first appointed postecoglu – long term success from the current crop – such as making it out of group stage at this world cup. they appointed bert because he was seen the likliest candidate of those on offer to do just that. arnold wasn’t even available, so shouldn’t be part of the conversation.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 9:32am
        Brian said | May 15th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Because neither Cahill or McLaren are good enough. That’s the harsh reality. BVM not comparing two guys to play 90 mintues. He’s comparing who is better to bring on in the 85th minute when you need a goal.

        This squad stuff is interesting but really there is a core group of 14-15 who play which does not include Cahill or McLaren.
        Yes the World Cup is not a testimonial its also not a development squad. If McLaren is good enough in Europe for long enough the Asian Cup is 8 months away. For now its just about the simple question, which of the two is better coming on in the 85th minute.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 9:52am
          Redondo said | May 15th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          Correct

        • May 15th 2018 @ 12:11pm
          vin said | May 15th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          yes in 2006 to 2017 he would have been the best 85th minute player,

          but it look at the season hes had and has he produced that form, thats a big no.

        • May 16th 2018 @ 9:00am
          hogdriller said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          Think you’ll find that Maclaren has scored 5 of his last 8 goals within the last 20 minutes of the game, then again….why cant we just have both Cahill and Maclaren in the squad?

    • Roar Rookie

      May 15th 2018 @ 7:32am
      Waz said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      I’m not convinced this is such a dumb decision, much as I’d like maccers to be travelling if only for the future of the Socceroos. His form in the SPL will not mean anything on the WC stage, the two competitions are chalk n cheese in quality.

      The thing Cahill offers over Maclaren is confidence, belief and a touch of arrogance. 1-0 down with twenty minutes to go, I think I’d rather be sending on Cahill than Maclaren so I can see why a coach, with a short-term brief, would make such a call.

      The future for Maclaren has to be regular first team starts, in a respected competition, and goal success when he gets his Socceroo chances – we can’t keep talking about his “potential”, he’s turning 25 and should be hitting prime form about now.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 7:42am
        reuster75 said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        I agree with you that within the context of the decision to appoint BVM and all the short-term focus of that then Maclaren was never going to be picked for the simple reason he doesn’t suit the way BVM intends to play. Don’t get me wrong I think Maclaren is a natural goalscorer and his predatory/poachers instincts are sorely needed in this team but BVM prefers wingers such as Juric who will stay compact. Juric is also a known quantity and thus to the manager a no risk choice. I still think the FFA haven’t been held to account anywhere near to the level they should be over BVM’s appointment but sadly the majority in the Aussie media are only interested in their free meal ticket to the world cup and don’t care what happens after that.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 15th 2018 @ 7:52am
          Waz said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:52am | ! Report

          I think that’s the point most people are missing; BVM’s appointment is not about a step backwards or looking to the future, it’s about turning two weeks at the World Cup in to 3 or 4 weeks. That’s all.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 8:48am
            AGO74 said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

            Yep. We had our planning for the future squad at the last World Cup. Despite all the upheaval of last six months with Ange leaving we have to proceed on playing for now at this World Cup.

            Just quietly- has anyone seen Yokohama under Ange? I think they are only one spot above the relegation zone. Hope he turns it around quickly.

            • May 15th 2018 @ 9:11am
              Mark said | May 15th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

              It’s been a lot like his late Socceroos tenure. Lots of possession, scoring goals, but defence leaking like a sieve.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 10:16am
            Kris said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

            Yep. I think too many have been influenced by AFL, NRL and now HAL teams who talk about rebuilds, the future and whatnot. It is an unusual Australian quirk in sport inherited from America and their boom-bust draft leagues.

            This IS THE FUTURE. This is the very thing that we are building towards – the World Cup. You don’t use a World Cup to build to anything. You use a World Cup to pick your best possible squad and get your best possible set of results.

            • May 15th 2018 @ 11:16am
              Redondo said | May 15th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              Spot on

            • May 15th 2018 @ 11:36am
              rolly said | May 15th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

              based on what you say then its Maclaren over Cahil..because your picking your current best and in form and fittest player.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm
                Waz said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                No. You’re picking a squad to do a job.

                If you’ve got Cahill and Maclaren on the bench, you need a goal, which one do you send on?

                Cahill. Every game. That’s my guess why Timmy’s going.

              • May 15th 2018 @ 1:56pm
                Rolly said | May 15th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                On current form you still wouldn’t pick cahil .what’s he done this year .stuff all

              • Roar Rookie

                May 15th 2018 @ 2:18pm
                Waz said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

                He’s not been picked on current form though. He’s been picked to fill a specific role – come off the bench and score. That he’s proven he can do on the biggest of stages.

              • May 15th 2018 @ 3:00pm
                Kris said | May 15th 2018 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

                @Waz if you are Peru or Denmark and is 5 minutes to play and McLaren or Cahill stands up to come on, who makes you nervous? Cahill still has some ability to make opponents nervous, that can be the FK or pen you win right there.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 8:19am
        JF said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Wasn’t Macca “in form” for the Roar during the qualifiers and started away against Thailand?

        • Roar Rookie

          May 15th 2018 @ 8:26am
          Waz said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

          yeah he was, if anyone failed to “look to the future” it was Ange – didn’t give him enough game time.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 9:02am
            fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

            Agree Waz

      • May 15th 2018 @ 9:41am
        LuckyEddie said | May 15th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        If the SPL is not regarded highly by some why is Rogic in the team, Strikers that are in form must be picked or are we going to repeat what happened years ago against Iran.

        Damien Mori was in outstanding form yet we had Aurelio Vidmar up front and he missed a bucket load of chances. Vidmar was sitting on the bench in a second division team at the time.

        If we look at Jedinak he is playing in the English second division and a lot of those chosen are playing in weaker divisions and leagues across Europe.

        Surely if players are to be picked on form McLaren had to be selected. Look at Milligan he is playing in some mickey mouse Middle East league yet strolls in to the team.

    • May 15th 2018 @ 7:33am
      melbcityguy said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      how come people aren’t question milligan?

      He was very average with victory and now playing in an average league if troisi is going to cop it he should as well

      • May 15th 2018 @ 7:49am
        Jack said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Trolisi breaks down a lot of attacking plays for Roos.
        He would not of made my 32 to be honest

        • May 15th 2018 @ 7:59am
          Fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

          Troisi had regressed horribly, like his hairline

      • May 15th 2018 @ 3:02pm
        Kris said | May 15th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

        Because Milligan can play centre mid and centre defence and even FB (badly). Those types are good value in a squad system.

    • May 15th 2018 @ 7:48am
      Jack said | May 15th 2018 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      Maclaren and gersbach are bad ommissions for mine.
      Gersbach is our long term lb playing top flight in Norway?

      I guess we are locking away a random Croatian under 21 captain for Arnold to use.
      I just hope he doesn’t mind mid week travel to Central Asia for our qualifiers

      • May 15th 2018 @ 8:16am
        AGO74 said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        The Croatian guy is a right back so not directly competing with gersbach. That said I think gersbach has shown enough to have been selected over the recently recalled Meredith.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2018 @ 8:19am
        Kaks said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Gersbach was on loan in the French second division for the second half of the season and was hampered with injuries his whole time there.

        Not denying he is a class player, but injuries are preventing his progress.

    • May 15th 2018 @ 8:00am
      AGO74 said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      Logic suggests it’s a bad decision to choose cahill over mclaren but I’m not so sure. I’d say Berts plan is to ensure we get to the last game against Peru with a need for a result. Anyone who watched Peru against NZ would have seen how badly they struggled against Chris Wood who was so strong in the air and quite physical. It is highly likely if Chris wood had have been able to play the full 180 minutes rather than just 40 or 50 that NZ would have scored and made it a lot more difficult for Peru.

      Now I’m not saying that tim cahill is the equal of Chris Wood but he brings all the same attributes and importantly has done it before when it mattered – and I’m not talking about precious world cups I’m talking about against Chile in Confeds Cup last year and against Syria with his two goals. He has the confidence and swagger to pull it off. Something I’m not sure that Jamie mclaren has given his previous form with Socceroos.

      having said all of that I think mclaren is worth including for training camp in the 26 – but at the expense of rukavytsa not cahill who has dOne nothing since his recall.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2018 @ 8:09am
        Griffo said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Agree Maclaren over Rukavystya – if ever you wanted an eye on the future, that would be it.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 8:23am
          Fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

          Ruka is rubbish

          • May 15th 2018 @ 10:15am
            Redondo said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

            Ruka is absolute rubbish – this can’t be said enough. Under 9s kick and chase rubbish.

            I’m sure our Bert is reading this to check what we think, so…

            Bert, watch the tapes of Ruka playing for WSW a few seasons ago. That will leave you only 2 others to omit.

            When you’re done there Bert, watch the tapes of Troisi playing for Victory this season. That will leave you only 1 other to omit.

            And Bert, sadly for Sydney FC fans, the A-League tapes will also reveal too many clutch passes gone astray from an otherwise brilliant Brillante. And that will leave you with your World Cup squad.

            • May 15th 2018 @ 10:37am
              AGO74 said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              Hard to argue with that…..though I’d suggest Milligan may be looking over his shoulder given recent form.

              • May 15th 2018 @ 10:57am
                Redondo said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                Milligan is probably safe because he can play central defence, right back and midfield.

            • May 15th 2018 @ 2:05pm
              fadida said | May 15th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

              They’d be three I’d leave behind too

        • May 15th 2018 @ 10:19am
          Kris said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Won’t matter. Rukavystya won’t survive training camp. Getting cut this week or in 2 weeks is hardly important in the big picture.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2018 @ 8:33am
        BA Sports said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Yes, I like how people act like the choice was Cahill or McLaren – There are 25 other players and other front men selected.

      • May 15th 2018 @ 9:36am
        brendo51 said | May 15th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        100% agree, to me it should be a choice between Maclaren and Ruka. To me the biggest issue with the 26 is who is the backup starter?

        If Juric goes down injured we will be forced to start Nabbout or Cahill as the striker. And with Nabbout, Arzani, Cahill we have enough players to make a impact late in the game. I would have taken Maclaren as a backup starting option.

        • May 15th 2018 @ 10:21am
          Kris said | May 15th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          McLaren isn’t really a hold-up the ball option. He needs to play off a target man, particularly if we are starved of possession. I think it says more about how Bert expects us to play than McLaren.

          • May 15th 2018 @ 8:46pm
            Churchman72 said | May 15th 2018 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

            He doesn’t need to play off a target man, that’s not how he was used at Brisbane. He is more a “fox in the box” style striker who hangs off the shoulder of the last defender and uses his pace to get in behind and onto through balls. Works best as part of a front three that’s highly mobile and can stretch defensive lines and press from the front. Much as I wanted him to be there, if that’s not BVM’s style, he probably won’t get much opportunity.

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