Monday, November 09, 2009

 

Mac the Knifed

Alex Brosque's return to form this season has been a delight to watch, but this sudden move up the ranks comes as a surprise nonetheless. The timing is unfortunate, since Brosque was surprisingly ineffective against Gold Coast United this weekend, especially after the game-changing departure of Steve Corica.

In the final analysis, it is extraordinary that a player scoring regularly for a club as prestigious as Celtic has effectively (although technically Brosque is a replacement for Josh Kennedy) been ditched in favour of a Sydney FC player who has found a pleasing groove, but has notched only two goals this season. But the Scott McDonald "problem" continues to be one of the more irksome issues on Pim Verbeek's agenda.

Simply put, McDonald does not fit into the system that Verbeek has settled on. A modus operandi that consists of Kennedy terrorizing Asian defences in the air, with Tim Cahill sniffing around for second balls, leaves little room for a "channels" player like McDonald.

There have, of course, been previous examples of strikers who simply can't replicate their club form at international level, for whatever reason. Andy Cole, a demon at Manchester United and a dud for the Three Lions, was one such. But have the Socceroos really become so stuck in their ways that McDonald can be deemed surplus to requirements for thinly-veiled tactical reasons?

The withdrawal of Kennedy against Oman leaves Bruce Djite as a possible point-man, a player whose last foray at international level left many wondering what on earth he was doing in a Socceroo shirt. After a bright start in Turkey, he has found the going difficult.

Nikita Rukavytsya must consider himself unlucky to miss out, especially considering his recent prolific form. But, like McDonald, he is a striker with a penchant for peeling out wide, running off the main man. Not Verbeek's kind of player.

Re the gradual shadow falling over McDonald's Socceroo career, SBS's blogger-in-chief has voiced similar concerns in one of his recent pieces, but has concluded that Verbeek knows what he's doing. I wish I could share his optimism.

Comments:
It's funny. My boss and I were discussing McDonald, brosque and Bridge this morning. We would have plumpt for Bridge. Brosque's form in front of goal is starting to worry me a smidge.

But the rest of his game is awesome atm.
 
I'd like to know what Pim thinks of Radomir Antic persisting with Marko Pantelic as Nikola Zigic's partner and a quite attacking 4-4-2 in Serbia's impressive qualifying campaign. Until last month's goal against Romania, Pantelic had three goals in 26 games and none under Antic or in 20 competitive games despite doing well in a decent league (Bundesliga), similar to McDonald.

It could've been tempting, especially after Serbia's miserable couple of years, for Antic to go to 4-2-3-1 with the gigantic Zigic on hand to play the classic target man role and with plenty of good attacking midfielders, or move Milan Jovanovic up front where he often plays in Belgium. Instead he's had enough foresight, courage and patience to make use of Pantelic's running and teamwork, give Zigic a partner with good movement and get great return from the crafty Jovanovic on the left in a very effective auxiliary role.

Where we fall down most compared to Serbia is that we suffer from tactical and personnel insecurities. Serbia's level and capabilities are a step higher than Oz at the moment, even at our best IMHO. But McDonald and Kennedy are pretty much to us what Pantelic and Zigic are to Serbia. Behind that, the same can be said for Cahill, Kewell and Emerton or Bresciano to Jovanovic (goal scoring midfielder), Stankovic (experienced, wily head in midfield) and Krasic (lively, creative wide right player).
 
I think there's some rumours that Mcdonald nonselection is due to disciplinary reasons or at very least attitude reason. That Mcdonald miss out the Oman and Holland squad due to "injury" and then subsequently played for celtic pretty soon after.

I hope that's the reason instead of Verbeek drop him for not fitting in the system. I thought he made some progress in the Ireland match.
 
Scott Mcdonald played 90 minutes on the 4th of october. Miss the socceroos match against holland and oman on 10th and 14. Played 90 minutes for celtic on the 17th.

Even if Mcdonald did have an injury it does kind of question his hunger for his socceroos.
 
Rutsy is quicker, missess chances 'better' than Brosque and would be the perfect foil for Kennedy.

I watch the socceroos all the time but they are boring these days and they will not get out of their group unless there is improvement.
 
Brosque is a perfect Verbeek player.

The kind of player that in theory can play many positions on the park but will be mediocre in most of them. If I were Brosque I would be turning this opportunity down and waiting for a better NT coach to come along. He only has to ask McDonald what being played out of position in the NT can do to your reputation and confidence.

Any Hilly, I agree, as much as I am not convinced by Bridge (he disappears too often and is poor off the ball), I would take him if it was a choice of Bridge or Brosque.
 
So now playing in the A-League is better than playing in the Champions League, SPL or Europa League...we've come a long way Mike:)

Verbeek must be learning from Ricky Herbert!
 
...Where we fall down most compared to Serbia is that we suffer from tactical and personnel insecurities. Serbia's level and capabilities are a step higher than Oz at the moment, even at our best IMHO. But McDonald and Kennedy are pretty much to us what Pantelic and Zigic are to Serbia. Behind that, the same can be said for Cahill, Kewell and Emerton or Bresciano to Jovanovic (goal scoring midfielder), Stankovic (experienced, wily head in midfield) and Krasic (lively, creative wide right player)....

See, Hiro, this is why you should write more. This is the sort of knowledge that very few fans in Oz would have...and even fewer would be able to articulate properly!

...I think there's some rumours that Mcdonald nonselection is due to disciplinary reasons or at very least attitude reason. That Mcdonald miss out the Oman and Holland squad due to "injury" and then subsequently played for celtic pretty soon after....

Other Oz players have had similar miraculous recoveries, hasn't affected their NT future unduly.
 
...Other Oz players have had similar miraculous recoveries, hasn't affected their NT future unduly....

That's true. However I doubt these situation don't occur in a WORLD CUP year where everyone should be desperate for a spot in the squad. I remember Cahill similarly making miraculous recovery however that was after the world cup from my memory.

I think this is the reason in combination with his lack of fit for the system in why he is omitted.

Pim is basically saying to McDonald, you are not an indispensible part of the team and you are not bigger then the team.

I seriously doubt that Pim really believes Brosque is a better striker then McDonald
 
"See, Hiro, this is why you should write more. This is the sort of knowledge that very few fans in Oz would have...and even fewer would be able to articulate properly!"

Well, it was a bit delayed, but finally got my blog running for good.
 
...Well, it was a bit delayed, but finally got my blog running for good...

Great stuff. 'Tis linked.
 
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