Was the Socceroos midfielder hard done by?
Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Unfortunately, the sport of football proves no exception, with a significant number of a league players shoehorned into unfamiliar roles in a classic case of square pegs, round holes.
Of course, there is a caveat; football is fluid and a players position often change overtime as his playing style develops, a la Thierry Henry in Arsenal’s invincibles.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with changing a player’s position. The problem arises when managers wilfully ignore a players basic incompetence in a particular position for reasons best known to themselves. Lets take a look at some a league examples below.
1) Ben Kantarovski
Nominally a defensive midfielder, Kantarovski’s strengths are his reading of the game and sound defensive positioning. He is, however, encumbered by a lack of technique and to a lesser extent mobility. Would be better used in central defence.
Suggested Role Switch: Centre Back, from Defensive Midfielder
2) Thomas Deng
The newly-minted Socceroo was a dark horse for Graham Arnold’s Asian cup squad, but missed the cut ultimately.
This means that, instead of soaking in the UAE sun, he has been making mistakes in Victory’s central defence. Deng’s strengths are his long, spindly legs, which eat up the ground and steal the ball from unsuspecting opponents.
His temperament for the centre back role is suspect however, as he looks jittery in the heart of defence. Would be better used as a defensive midfielder a la Ngolo Kante
3) Carl Valeri
A player similar to Socceroo stalwart Mark Milligan, Valeri excels and reading the play and dictating the tempo. Victory’s Mr Reliable in years past, however, has lost a step in recent seasons. Would be better utilised as a ball playing defender, a la Milligan’s role at the World Cup.
So what do you think of these selections? Let me know in the comments below.