Sunday, November 26, 2006


Be My Guest - another update

Events at Bluetongue Stadium last night were certainly grist to the mill of those, such as my Well-Informed Covite friend, who have less than charitable attitudes towards guest player stints in the A-League.

Romario was hardly mobile, but we expected that. What was less expected was that he was horribly blunt in front of goal, missing three good chances. His touch, too, was surprisingly poor.

The veteran Brazilian can hardly complain about the service he received; Jason Spagnuolo – the find of the season, in my opinion – was influential and incisive as ever on the wing, and Fernando Rech did his best to bring his compatriot into the game. To no avail.

One problem that appeared to beset Adelaide’s regular attacking players was that, once in an advanced position, they couldn’t quite decide whether to go for goal themselves or play in their marquee man. Travis Dodd, for one, suffered such a moment of hesitation in the first half.

One of the counter-arguments to the usual guest player catechism (bums on seats, exposure for the league locally and internationally, etc.), is that the veteran Euro A-listers will be depriving young Australians of further game time in the league.

Last night, the force of this objection was plain to see; Nathan Burns, in his brief cameo, contributed more than had Romario in eighty minutes, again showing prodigious composure, adroitness and vision.

The “bums on seats” value of Romario’s A-League sojourn will only be fully clear after his appearances at Hindmarsh, and it’s a little early to be passing judgement on his on-field value as well. But the auguries are not good.

And Nathan Burns has been building up a precious head of steam in the senior league, showing he can match it and then some with professionals. Will a period of fifteen-minute cameos set him back, or affect his apparently limitless self-confidence?

A legitimate concern, for all the triumphalism surrounding the acquisition of Romario.

Kossie's a big fan of Burns and I can see him dropping Fernando (if not from the team, then from the second striker role anyway) for him next week actually. Burns is still only 18 and a half and in his first professional season; a few more weeks on the bench, if this does happen, should not hurt.

If he was 20 or over and not getting a regular start, then I would be concerned. That is the stage when all of our best local kids should be starting regularly by IMO.
Kosmina will start the same side next week, except with a possible re-shuffle in defence due to the (imo failed) experiment of Valkanis at LB.

As for Romario? Disgusting... I expected the horrible workrate, the horrible movement, but I genuinely did not expect the poor finishing and often horrible touch. A real let down, even for someone who set the bar as low as myself.
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