Friday, October 27, 2006
Glad I'm Not a Kennedy - update
In truth, he didn’t have a great deal to do against Queensland on Sunday, such were the sterling efforts of North and Durante in central defence. Yet he dealt with the few Queensland attempts at goal with a minimum of fuss, and he has noticeably improved his command of the penalty area.
To be thrown in at the deep end at a new level of competition is always difficult for a youngster. But goalkeepers have it especially hard, given that their mistakes tend to be remembered more than others’.
And Kennedy has made a few, in the opening months of the 2006/07 season. But they’re becoming harder to find as the season wears on.
In some ways, Kennedy’s dramatic introduction to professional football has reminded me of Iker Casillas’s first season at Real Madrid (1999/2000).
After only four games with the B team, Casillas was called into the first eleven – not quite the galactico pin-up team of today, but still an absolutely first-rate team – as an 18-year-old. He entered the perpetual Madrid melodrama in an especially turbulent season; the coach, John Toshack, was sacked half-way through the term, the new star recruit Nicolas Anelka was causing his usual problems, and the club stood perilously low in the league.
Of course, Casillas seized his chance, impressing everyone with his brilliant shot-stopping, and Madrid went on to win the Champions’ League – with Casillas in goal for the final.
Ben Kennedy is not yet in Casillas’s class, of course, but he has ridden the early punches well, and is looking better with every game.
A-League or Champions’ League, the principle is the same; if you’re chucked in, take your chance. Kennedy faces a difficult assignment against an in-form Adelaide side tonight, but he will probably be facing it with more confidence than ever before.
I just hope I haven't now lumbered him with the columnist's curse...
I look forward to this kid growing up - he needs to be a little bit more assertive. I'm sure it will come as he gets older. At one point during the match vs. Adelaide, Kennedy (or Kenners as I call him in the lounge rooom) had the ball covered. Instead, Durante kicks the ball out - for a corner. You can see Kenners isn't to happy about it, but doesn't seem to get too annoyed - like you'd see other more experienced keepers do. I think if he was older, he may have let Durante know exactly how he felt. Of course, I'm not sure if Kenners called out, "Keeper!" or if there was a bit of miscommunication there.
I dunno, you know. Some pretty ordinary positioning in the second half, not least during the passage of play that ended in North's handball. Having said that, he did make that good save from Valkanis.
As you say, though, he just needs to assert himself a bit more. From what I've seen, he's a better-than-average shot-stopper, but it's his positioning and command of his area that are the obvious concerns.
His distribution's getting better.