Liam Rosenior

User offline. Last seen 2 years 24 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 31/07/2017
Posts: 411
Points: 0

One man doesn’t make a team but one player can make the difference, which is what I witnessed as we put in a fine though fruitless performance at Old Trafford last weekend. Although the winning goalscorer, Ashley Young, got the praise and adulation he deserved for his role, there was one man completely unmentioned and unappreciated who thwarted our dangerous counterattacks time and again.

He didn’t have the pace or skill of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku or Anthony Martial but there wasn’t a moment in the match when he was out of position, thwarting our attacks at source while also starting United forays with short, simple, incisive passes and allowing his team-mates the freedom to express themselves in the final third of the pitch. He was key to enabling his side to earn three crucial points and in turn keep in touch with the league leaders, Manchester City.
Afterwards when I got on the team coach, I listened to my Brighton team‑mates discuss the various top players we had come up against but his name wasn’t mentioned and it got me thinking about the importance we place on the players that do the “water‑carrying” job in order for their teams’ stars to flourish at the top end of the pitch and to protect their defenders from being isolated.
Nemanja Matic is possibly one of the more under-appreciated players in the Premier League but look at the most successful teams in the modern game and there is not a single club that didn’t have a dynamic, tactically adept, unselfish and positionally perfect deep‑lying midfield player who provides the crucial link Brett Favre Jersey between defensive balance and the ability to start devastating counterattacks from deep.
Think of the iconic teams over the past few decades: Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Treble‑winning Manchester United, Arsène Wenger’s Invincibles, José Mourinho’s Chelsea and even Leicester’s amazing title-winning team – they could not function without Sergio Busquets, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Claude Makélélé or N’Golo Kanté being the basis and foundation of their respective teams’ success.
I fear that in our age of increasing analysis of football and dependence on statistics to quantify a team’s or player’s performance, with phrases such as “key passes”, “expected goals” and “distance covered” more and more in vogue, the qualities of these key players who are central to any team are being overlooked. These players are masters of the intangible; you could measure tackles won or passes completed, but the positional balance they give a team, the opposition’s penetrative passes they prevent by being in the correct defensive position and the timing, speed and appreciation of their passes to their fellow team-mates are things that cannot be quantified.
Even watching an outstanding Manchester City this season, the spotlight has been understandably on the exciting attacking performances of Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus. But I guarantee if you ask those players or Guardiola about the importance of Fernandinho at the base of the 4-3-3 system – releasing those technical players to create in high areas – they would unite in appreciating the importance of the midfielder’s discipline, tactical awareness, organisation and support in his key role within that team. Without him the functionality of Manchester City would dramatically decrease.
We face Liverpool on Saturday and I’ve seen them play exciting, attacking and breathless football this season but there has always been an air of vulnerability in their defence with numerous individual defensive players being singled out and criticised for poor performance in the media. I would instead point to the fact that these players always seem to be defending in isolation, without protection from a specialist, top-class defensive midfield player who stops counterattacks and in turn protects them from in front of the back four.
Players such as Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum are outstanding Johnny Manziel Youth jersey midfielders in their own right but none are what you would call a natural anchorman who is happy to forgo the attacking, creative side of their game to sit in front of their defensive line and give balance to protect them from counterattack.
In the current transfer market, where the value of players is more inflated than ever, we all want that 20-goal-a-season striker, a winger or attacking midfielder who guarantees 15 assists a year or a goalkeeper who keeps 20 clean sheets. However, Womens Thomas Vanek Jersey those unselfish, tactically adept, positional midfielders whose effect on a game cannot be quantified yet are sometimes unnoticed are worth their weight in gold.


  • Visitor Count: 118,752