“Ashley [Williams] himself has to be up there as one of the top three or four centre-backs in the league with the way he contributes every game, the way he leads the group, his experience.” – Garry Monk, 10/09/2015.
Garry Monk’s above comment responds and adds to the hype that recently built around Ashley Williams. In fairness to both Monk and his defender, the quote has generally been cut off after the word ‘league’, removing the qualifiers which make it a rather less bold claim. While Williams may deserve praise, though, it would be hard to genuinely include him within that group of top 4 central defenders in the Premier League. Continue reading
It seems, reading what various people are saying, that central defenders may be one of the harder positions to assess. Certainly for the average football watcher, it’s probably nigh on impossible, as one tends to only notice them when they make huge tackles or huge mistakes. I’m inclined to believe that it’s possible, purely because I refuse to believe that it’s IMpossible if nothing else.
This links quite nicely to a slight interest I’ve had in Jason Denayer, prompted by some worry about Manchester City’s youth system and having been unimpressed by him when I watched their pre-season friendly against Real Madrid.
Having watched him in that match, an SPL game against Dundee United, and for Belgium against France. He looks classy… when not under pressure. He’s good on the ball and fast, which is helpful, but it’s possible that that will make him look impressive while really only masking his own mistakes. Positionally, he is also pretty good, and the amount of times he looks around him to gain an awareness of what’s around him is good too.
However, when he’s under pressure he gets ball-watchy. To an extent, this happens to all defenders. When danger is immediately present, it can be unwise to take one’s attention away to look for other players, who may not be relevant at that time. It can also be unwise, though, to become too focused on the perceived danger, which leads to danger building up in one’s blind spots. This is what happens with Denayer. Continue reading