Monday, August 28, 2006

 

Lazy Class

In a recent piece, I made some observations on the likely effect that Dwight Yorke’s return would have on Sydney FC. Although Terry Butcher’s side struggled throughout against a depleted but determined Mariners outfit, and relied heavily on Clint Bolton’s superb defiance in the final half-hour, Dwight Yorke’s performance was fairly pleasing, on balance.

Certainly, he took a while to get to grips with the game. Butcher had allowed him to occupy his preferred anchor role in midfield, and in the opening twenty minutes, Yorke took few risks. Staying well behind the strikers and leaving his fellow “screener”, Mark Milligan, to make the runs forward, he was causing a fair few Sydney fans to groan. Could this be the listless, unenterprising Yorke of the latter half of the 2005/06 season come back to haunt us?

In the event, the game against the Mariners was to delineate both the positive and negative aspects of Yorke’s play quite nicely. It’s worth remembering that Yorke was playing his first game for some time, returning to club football after a World Cup performance which had won acclaim in many quarters.

At the start, he did look somewhat off the pace. And you can never force Dwight Yorke to lift his own pace, whatever he may deem it to be at any given time. In yesterday’s game, he chose to remain fairly static in front of the back four at the outset, largely allowing Andre Gumprecht, the Mariners’ very own Roy Keane, to take the initiative in midfield.

Nevertheless, when Yorke did get the ball, he showed all his experience and class. No player in the A-League is better at holding the ball up, and even in the first half against the Mariners he distributed the ball into wide areas expertly.

Those who claim that Yorke simply cannot adapt to a midfield role are mistaken. In the England v. Trinidad & Tobago match at the World Cup, which I attended, Yorke was far more effective in midfield for the West Indians than either Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard were for England.

But let’s return to Aussie Stadium. In the second half, there was an event which changed the game significantly: Andre Gumprecht was forced to leave the field with a hamstring strain.

Subsequently, we saw Yorke at his imperious best. Strolling through the midfield, glad to be rid of the tenacious German, he escaped the attentions of his markers effortlessly, and distributed the ball superbly.

But Yorke’s Mr. Hyde is never far beneath the surface; once, under no pressure at all, he flicked a sloppy pass across the goalmouth…straight to Mariners striker Adam Kwasnik.

If I had to describe Yorke’s style in a nutshell, I’d go for the phrase lazy class (and I'm not referring to my Year 8 students). Like his close friend Brian Lara, Yorke appears born to play his chosen sport at times, but he insists on playing it his way…and the odd howler, or period of virtual inactivity, is just part of the package.

I can’t speak for my fellow Sydney FC fans, but I’ll take the package, slack passes, occasional indifference and all.

Comments:
Yorke's commitment/laziness is an odd topic. He does sometimes seem not to care as much as he should, but remember how p*ssed off he was at the game in Newcastle last year because he was rested for the first half, after just coming back from playing for T&T. And how after T&T qualified for the World Cup, the T&Tian PM wanted to declare a national holiday, and Dwight just took the first plane back to Sydney so that he could play for the club, while his teammates (and whole country) partied.
 
Totally agree with you mikey, for a guy with little to no preseason he was fantastic. In fact along with bolton and topor-s he was one of the few players that could stand tall. I think Yorke's perceived laziness is also a product of the level he is playing at compared to those around him. Besides Milligan, T-S and at times carney very few of the other players gave him the support he deserved. On another note Fyfe needs to go..despite that goal he wasn't all that great to watch...poor distribution and not outstanding defending. My patience with him is wearing very thin. How do you feel about Milligan moving back to right back and would T-S fit on the right (I know that he is a lefty) once timpano is back???
nozza
 
...Yorke's commitment/laziness is an odd topic. He does sometimes seem not to care as much as he should, but remember how p*ssed off he was at the game in Newcastle last year because he was rested for the first half, after just coming back from playing for T&T....

I think he just felt at that stage that if he was there, then he was worth a place in the first team (and, to be fair, he had a point).

...And how after T&T qualified for the World Cup, the T&Tian PM wanted to declare a national holiday, and Dwight just took the first plane back to Sydney so that he could play for the club, while his teammates (and whole country) partied....

Not sure how much of that was just PR. It's on the field that you really see what's happening, IMO.

And it's not so much that he's uncommitted, I wouldn't exactly say that, it's just that he plays at his own pace and in his own style, no matter what. And that tends to be a sort of slow-motion, almost Socrates-like style when he's in midfield.

...How do you feel about Milligan moving back to right back and would T-S fit on the right (I know that he is a lefty) once timpano is back???...

Although I don't think RB is Milligan's best position, he'd probably be better there than Fyfe (he certainly was in the pre-season game against Adelaide). Hyphen could probably play anywhere in the back four, but he's left-footed so I'd rather have him on the left if he's going to play fullback.

In the second half of that same game against Adelaide, Hyphen played LB and was outstanding.

Timpano's not at all a cert for the first team when he comes back from injury BTW, T-S has been playing that well.
 
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