Thursday, 7 April 2011

The defence - keep or get shot?

The season effectively over. Fourteen players soon to be out of contract. A board that is threatening to spend big. Time for verdicts on those I largely hold responsible for this disastrous season. I am looking forward to it and today start with the defence. Should be quite cathartic...

Rob Elliot - Goalkeeper 25 this month - Keep. 

Elliot is a very decent keeper at this level and can play in the Championship. Because he is injury prone, we need a proper second keeper. He needs to be forced to shift the stone he seems to carry most of the time. I'd make it a commercial condition of his contract.

Ross Worner - Goalkeeper 22 - Undecided
I am tempted to say get shot but Ross hasn't actually let us down when covering Robbie. His problem is he is on the small side and struggles to impose himself. His profile says he's 6ft 1in but that must be wishful thinking on his part. At best for me he is the third choice keeper.

John Sullivan - Goalkeeper 23 - On loan from Millwall
Brought in as cover and hasn't played - back to Millwall I suspect next month.

Conor Gough - Goalkeeper 17 - Keep - one for the future.

Frederico Bessone - Left-back 27 - Keep
One of the bright points of this season. The experienced Argentinian has the ability to get us out of this division but question-marks remain over his ability at higher levels. Struggled against Southampton in the week.

Kelly Youga - Left back 25 - Keep assuming fit when the season starts
Class act in this division but his career could be over he can't return from his current injury which has kept him out for the best part of two seasons.

Simon Francis - Right back 26 - On yer bike
I liked the cut of his job when he first appeared this season. He is tall and relatively strong and reminded me of Luke Young in the tackle and when he got across the half-way line. Unfortunately, he simply isn't a good enough full-back and a string of mistakes and matches where he has been the weak link have cost us. We probably persevered with him too long when Chris Jenkinson was available. His time here is up.

Chris Solly - Right back 20 - Keep
Has played his way into the side this season and makes up for his lack of height with his tackling and passing. Good enough to play in the Championship.

Carl Jenkinson - Right back 19 - Is leaving for Arsenal
Wen he made his debut at Brentford, I wondered why he hadn't played before especially with only Francis keeping him out of the side at that time. He's only been dropped now because of his refusal to sign a new deal and to ensure he doesn't get crocked so we can claim our £1m compensation from Arsenal. There's an obvious desire to say he's swapping first team football here for cleaning premiership players boots, but Carl might just be quick and strong enough to get some games next season and possibly establish himself at the Emirates. Good luck to him.

Christian Dailly - Centre-half 37 - Keep
Squeaks my player of the season from BWP and Johnnie Jackson by virtue of having played twice as many games as them (this season). I think the Championship will be beyond him by the time we get there.

Gary Doherty - Centre-half 31- Cover for Dailly
Surprisingly only 31. Can still do a job at this level but needs to be playing alongside a faster centre-half. Worth keeping as cover for Dailly.

Jonathon Fortune - Centre-half 30 - Sorry Jon
Charlton stalwart who has always put himself first. Surprised again he's only 30 but that's probably because of his length of service and seen-it-all attitude. For me, his biggest weakness is that he hasn't cared enough when he has made mistakes. If only he had the winning attitude of a Tony Adams or a Gary Roberts. 

MiguelAngel Llera - Centre-half 31 - Cover for a better player
Tempted to say get shot but he has done ok since coming back into the side. He is slow off the mark which is fatal for a centre-half when holding the line. I don't believe he can play Championship football and isn't a first choice player. 

Yado Mambo - Centre-half 19 - Keep
There is a view from those who follow the other Charlton sides that Mambo is not good enough for the first team. Personally I am not qualified to make an assessment as I only remember seeing him play once and he looked decent enough (the opposition was only Welling). Still young enough to develop into a better player a la Danny Shittu.

That doesn't look too bad as I would only really out two players. Having said that, we need an experienced first-choice centre-half to partner Dailly and lead the defence as well as a cover for Solly as a minimum. If Youga can't play again, we need someone there too, although I was happy with Johnnie Jackson playing left-back. If the Board are really serious, we could be ruthless and replace both first-choice central defenders with better quality, the types who marshall the defence and take conceding goals personally, not just like they are to be expected. The current options won't take us through the Championship.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts on this, for what they're worth.

Keep Elliot as 2nd choice. Get an experienced ex Prem/Champ goalie in as 1st

Francis/Solly Keep both unless a better one can be obtained, then Francis out.

Dailly keep, probably last season.
Docherty/Llera/Fortune. A new younger centre back is priority one. With him in keep Llera, other two out. Mambo into squad.

Bessone, keep if he'll stay, we have little other option. Looks to me like Youga is finished (sadly)

The Exile said...

Can't disagree with anything you've said here. When Fortune was young, I always thought he would go on to become our next Richard Rufus, sadly, he never fulfilled his potential in my eyes.

Dailly needs a decent partner as you say. Someone with pace is a must as Dailly's legs are a bit tired, but his positional play is still very good.

Mike BARRY said...

It's just a tragedy that several are not n your list because they seemingly have cast-iron contracts?
Wagstaffe and McCormack are obvious examples and will hold back the side if regularly selected.
Share your thoughts and hopes re Youga and Mambo, and sadly your conclusions re Liera who has done well since returning.
He has shown his dedication to the cause but is prone to being hammered on the ground and committing critical errors. Not a regular but perhaps provides the additional cover we need, if we can afford to keep both Doherty and him for this purpose.

Anonymous said...

No convinced by Bessone yet myself.

Youga - who knows what he'll be like if he he's ever fit again? If he's lost his pace he certainly won't be the same player.

Will be interesting to see if we keep Mambo. I'd guess not, Fortune is surely leaving but is still on the bench ahead of him.

Dailly, Llera and Doherty - Down to what we can afford on replacements. Brighton made a good signing in Greer last summer, there could be better out there if we have a bit to spend.

Hungry Ted said...

I can't quite believe you've noted BWP in the running for Player of the Season!

Crowborough Addick said...

An added bonus. The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal have agreed a deal for Jenkinson worth up to
£2million. They are also interested in employing Phil Parkinson in a scouting role, as he is currently unemployed.

Dave said...

Mike - give time, this was just the defence!

steveb said...

Am I the only supporter who thinks Solly's benefiting from being "one of our own" ?

Personally I think he's too lightweight for League 1 & will get found out over a season. I know Francis hasn't covered himself in glory this season, but I think he has more to offer.

Anonymous said...

Nice article Dave.

Agree with most of you views. Hate to say it but I think Dailly is just too far gone next season, as is Doc. For me its two new centre backs in an ideal world - with Mig and Mambo cover.Solly and Bassone as full backs. But I'd keep both keepers.

Pembury Addick

Dave said...

Steveb - I think you might struggle to find someone else who prefers Francis to Solly! I wanted to like him and stuck with him for as long as I could but he's a liability at the monent. I think he could yet become a good player but he needs time elsewhere.

Dave said...

PA - If I was being ruthless, I would agree with you. As it is, I think outing Dailly after a season when I think he was there or thereabouts as our best player would be harsh. I suppose much will depend on budgets....

Sciurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

Can't see Youga or Jackson staying, both too good for this level, if they're fit they owe it to themselves to seek pastures new and lucrative. Doherty a massive disappointment, when he's off his game he's terrifyingly bad, new years day at Colchester will haunt me of ryears to come! Dailly's slowing down dramatically and Llera's no better than when he first arrive, both will do as cover but even in division 3 we need 2 decent centre-halves. Francis is a joke and should be shipped out at the first opportunity, Solly's fine, is Bessone ours or on loan? We ain't seen enough of any others to judge.
In short we'll need 3 new first choice defenders, minimum.