Sunday, October 10, 2010
Holger and Harry
...we agreed that analysis, opinion and critique are highly valuable in building an intelligent football culture, as long as they are about the game and do not become personal.
...is laughably hypocritical, given its provenance. But I digress.
Last night's game actually provided a good demonstration of why it is probably for the best that Kewell be gracefully put out to pasture. As he has done quite often of late, he occupied a nebulous position: not quite left midfield, not quite in the hole, not quite second striker. Not a hanging offence in itself, but it meant that the left flank was left somewhat thin in the transition, and David Carney was caught out badly once or twice, particularly by Carlos Bonet in the second period.
And Kewell ultimately contributed little in attack. One nice drop of the shoulder followed by a charge down the inside-left channel in the first half; the sort of smooth action we have come to expect from this very talented footballer over the years. But there was little else to excite the fans, and not really enough of the unsung off-the-ball work that made his contribution to the Croatia game in 2006, for one, so praiseworthy.
In a sense, the timing (for a Socceroo exit for Kewell) would be right, as there are quite a few talented flankers in the wings, if that dreadful pun can be forgiven. Matthew Leckie and Tommy Oar come to mind, and even Nathan Burns is capable of operating a bit wider, although his best position is surely still in the centre.
There was little else to be learned from last night's game, which was essentially a means of buttering up the influential Nicolas Leoz in the wake of D-Day in December. Richard Garcia was predictably mediocre (how long can he stay in the Socceroo reckoning?), Scott McDonald showed again that he won't score goals without someone playing in front of him, and Mile Jedinak gave further cause to think that, despite his excellent combative qualities, he needs to improve technically if he is to become a Socceroo regular.
Holger Osieck has faced no real tests yet; the Paraguayans, Nelson Haedo Valdez and the point-to-prove substitutes excepted, basically played like tourists. But the signs are mainly positive.
Yeah, a bit disappointed by that myself. Two in ninety minutes (plus a couple of meaningless ones at the end) was a bit of a head-scratcher for a game where the result was more or less insignificant.
I'd like to see Scott McDonald given more time, he seems a lot more confident in the new set up.
Culina also looks better in the new set up but his best performances in the past have been out wide. He could certainly do the job Kewell did without compromising on defence.