Friday, 8 April 2011

The midfield - keep or get shot?

It's our midfield that carries most of the blame for this season as far as I am concerned. They haven't provided enough cover for the defence and have, by and large, sat too deep, probably because they haven't often been good enough to impose themselves on the opposition. There's be a paucity of through balls and the wide men have been hugely disappointing.

If you exclude Stavrinou, Harriott and Davisson on account of them not having featured yet and consider that Parrett and Stewart are new (and on loan), there aren't that many to blame and it's a wonder we have not been more settled in midfield.

Jose Semedo - Central midfielder 26 - Keep
Jose is one of those players who flourishes in a winning team but looks much less effective otherwise. He is our "defensive" midfielder and is particularly good at breaking up opposition attacks through the middle. He is one of a few that would be prized by bigger clubs although he would be very hard to replace on our likely budget.

Therry Racon - Central midfielder, soon to be 27 - Sorry Tel
When Racon first arrived  I had high hopes for him. He was an exciting player and with a bit of improvement that could have been expected given his youth, I thought he could play at the highest level. I even sponsored his home shirt for a season. He has regressed during the last couple of seasons and has deteriorated to the point where I believe we have to have a much more consistent player. We need a performance similar to his against Orient on Saturday every week, not just once a season. He's stopped threading killer passes and his goal at Brentford looks like a once-in-a-lifetime effort whereas it should be once a month. People closer to Mr Racon than me say he has a deal lined up at the end of the season elsewhere. It's goodbye from me.

Alan McCormack - Central midfielder 27 - Out
After an initial couple of appearances when he looked a breath of fresh air, he has settled very quickly into a routine where he hides on the pitch. He tries to look busy but rarely actually delivers anything on the ball. Has has typically come on from the bench when we have been in desperate need of a driving midfielder, some urgency and a lift of tempo. He has invariably give us more caution, sideways play and short passes. He doesn't do much defending and he doesn't appear to have a shot. Might be much happier in League Two.

Johnnie Jackson - Central midfielder 28 - Keep
The obvious hit of the season and only injury looks like robbing him of Player of the Year. ironically, he made his biggest contribution from left-back this season where he excelled across the half-way line (as you might expect) and suddenly started scoring goals. Our fall down the table coincided largely with his injury. His return will be like a very good new signing.

Scott Wagstaff - Right winger 21 - Keep
Scott burst into the side at the start of the season by scoring goals and playing with a joie de vivre. Somewhere along the way he began to contribute far less, disappear (like the rest of the side) for one half or the other in games and, ultimately, not contribute anything like what's needed to command his place. He is only 21 but he needs proper competition and a rocket up his jacksy.

Kyel Reid - Left whinger 24 - Shooting Star
I'm surprised he's only 24 as I view him as one of the more experienced pros in the camp. Probably because he has come from the Championship. I think he's been found out this season and I can now understand why Sheffield United let him go. He really a sprinter who has turned to football. Electrifying pace when he wants to know but running back and forwards on the left wing doesn't win you games. He hasn't helped his cause by making it known he considers himself too good for League One. We can't afford another season of fighting with no left arm. He won't play if Jackson is fit and I've seen enough - out him.

Dean Parrett - Central midfield 19 - Passing trade
He's done ok for a young loanee but hasn't set the heath on fire yet. Can't be easy in a dressing room like ours since he's arrived. You hope for a few performances like his Spurs team-mate Andros Townsend's against us in the cup, but maybe that's unrealistic. I suspect he will return to Spurs quickly and I would rather we focused on acquiring a team of players of our own and not to be reliant on mercenaries.

Michael Stewart - Central midfield 30 - Acquire
Possibly too early to be sure, but Stewart looks like a journeyman player from a league standard above ours. He has a winners' streak about him and much of the urgency, determination to hurt defences and guile that's missing from Racon and McCormack. Strikes me as possible Captain material and should be first choice until the end of the season he continues to play well enough.

In summary then, we should move half of our midfield on and we need much better replacements. This will be the yardstick by how I judge our summer spending and our chances of challenging once again to leave this wretched division. 


Crowborough Addick said...

Dave, on the whole I agree with you, except for Wagstaff. I feel he only shows up once every 6 matches, and that is too much of a liability. Unless of course you feel he can be coached to be consistent?

Scirurus Carolinensis Nemesis said...

Agree with most but Racon would be in my team. He's not been quite as good this term as he was last but Parky & Powell both mucked him about, in and out of the team and now playing out of position. It must have been massively dispiriting to be frozen out in favour of the joke McCormack. McC seems a decent enough pro but in 3rd div he's completely out of his depth. games just pass him by and he looks bewildered, just like my 91 year old Nan. TR wouldn't keep Stewart out of the side but why would MS want to stay? Surely he's seen enough already to know that he'll ruin his career with the current circus, if he's got any sense he, along with Semedo & Jackson will seek pastures new.
We'll be stuck with Wagstaff hoping that he'll realise 1% of his potential and learn to cross the ball or take on a full-back, fingers crossed.

The Exile said...

Yet again, I can't disagree. Some will be narked that Reid hasn't been played, and some might be annoyed if Racon go, but personally I think they are both luxuries we can do without.

Reid doesn't do enough defensively and to my mind is not a team player, and Racon is too lightweight for a central midfield role in this division.

I'm still not wholly convinced with Wagstaff however. I think he needs to do a lot more yet to convince me he is going to be a decent player.

Anonymous said...

Can't argue with any of that Dave!

Pembury Addick

Blackheath Addicted said...

Have to agree with the assessments, perhaps not necessarily with the conclusions. I thought at the start that central midfield was our weakest area and we've spent nearly all the season perming two from three (Semedo, Racon, McCormack) without one combination working and each having serious deficiencies.

Semedo does a job, Racon for me is a fine player in a five-man midfield when we play passes and move but hasn't the strength or drive to be one of a central two, McCormack has been a disappointment.

Who stays/goes has to be down to how we intend to play (I don't think we've had a real game-plan or clear strengths to play to) and who will work best with a new signing. Agree there has to be new blood in the centre and work around that.

Anonymous said...

Yup! i agree too. Though i would add, we need to sign another midfielder should your views come to pass.

Anonymous said...

I think Racon should stay,he has put in some good lively efforts when moving forward where Semedo has played deep to cover the lame donkeys in defence.
Wagstaff could have left last christmas and we wouldn't have noticed.
Johnny Jackson has been sorely missed in this current set up.
Mcormack has to move on as he is unable to offer enough skill for this squad, also Simon Francis cannot stay in this squad, I am convinced he is colour blind as he is incapable of passing the ball to a player wearing the same colour shirt as himself.
Kyel in my opinion should stay, admittedly he has not performed to his usual standard but he does have something to offer, this is backed up by the positive support he receives from Charlton fans,they can't all be wrong.

Richard said...

I agree with also with the comments.

I think that sucessive previous managers have played with wingers in midfield who without contributing much consistantly going forward have very rarely put a foot in tracking back, and so put more pressure on central midfield.

In this league we need players who are up for the battle in midfield even if it is not always pretty to watch.

What this season has also proved is that we need some backup options next season for injuries and loss of form otherwise we will struggle again.