Thursday, February 15, 2007
A player whose international career never quite took off, partly because his period with the Socceroos coincided with an era of sparse matches and underachievement, Tiatto surely has plenty still to offer on the pitch.
He is the ideal player for Queensland, too, whose lack of a specialist left-sider was starkly apparent this season. Dario Vidosic never looked suited to the left midfield role, and although Matt McKay is of course largely left-footed, he is a versatile enough player to be better suited to the middle (in fact, I feel McKay has the potential to become one of our most complete central midfielders, in the fullness of time).
Tiatto, though, is not short of versatility. In one of the best Socceroo performances of the last ten years, our win over Scotland in late 2000, the then-Manchester City man forsook his usual role on the touchline and shifted to an inside-left position, to make way for the scything left-wing runs of Stan Lazaridis. The combination between these two - now both ensconced in the A-League - was one of the more impressive features of Australia's performance that night.
Just on the matter of Lazaridis, incidentally, it was a pity that his first season back in domestic football was so badly affected by injuries. When fit, he was regularly Perth's most creative player, and his chronic absence had its inevitable effect on Perth's ultimately miserable season.
Tiatto can score goals, too, although he has never been renowned for it. One of my striking memories of him (if you'll pardon the pun) is of a stunning solo "goal" he scored for Manchester City against Middlesbrough in the Premiership some years ago, in which he surged through a crowd of defenders and finished powerfully. Unfortunately, it was ruled out - quite ludicrously, as it happened - for offside.
The other feature of Tiatto's play that comes to mind is his, erm, "physicality". During the Frank Farina era, he was considered second only to Kevin Muscat in the mongrel stakes.
Yet Muscat has not been as crude in his play as some had feared, and he seems to have even added some subtlety to his game now that he's back home. Perhaps the player of the current season, Melbourne's veteran captain has shown that there's life in some of the old Socceroo dogs yet.
Whereas my first thoughts were:
With Murdocca and Grossman in reserve make for a Championship midfield I am now led to believe that they want him as the anchor with view to keeping Seo permanently in his natural position of fullback (I say natural as that's where all of his career was prior to coming to Australia).
McKay impressedly be greatly on the left when he played there v.s. Sydney pre-season waaay back last year on the Gold Coast, but, as you say he is probably best suited for a box-to-box CM role. A role I'd like to see him fulfill if for no other reason than to stem the sad decline of true box-to-box players in the world of increasingly segmented midfields.
The midfield you've got there is exactly what I was thinking of, and I reckon it'd be one of the best in the competition.
Tiatto as a holding mid? I'm not sure. He's more attack-minded than Muscat and a bit more one-footed, so he might not be suited to it. Then again, I though Muscat wouldn't be suited to it either, so what do I know.