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Steve Mortlock

Hopes and Fears

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 It was indeed nice to see Johnson score for the Swedes at the weekend and is certainly one of my favourite players at FCR.  Alot of people enjoy panning Matty but he is an exceptional player being played out of position.  NW seems to buy forwards and tries to turn them into midfielders and alot of players have struggled. 

Rivers was a striker before he came to Norwich and never made an impact on the right.  McVeigh was a striker and only occasionally sparkled in the left/right of midfield.  Bentley from Arsenal was touted as a forward but played wide right. Arsenal fans I work with tell me he is superb attacking through the middle and is a Scott Parkeresque player when he is in there. 

It seems to me that over the past few years, talented players have been played in alien positions to allow the likes of Holt and Roberts (The old guard) to play week in week out.  I am glad to see a player of Matthias Jonnsons quaility in a Norwich City shirt and he should be played in his most effective position.  (Striker)  I am sure the goals would come as he scored plenty for his old club before joining us.  

When we played Liverpool back in January he was part a three man attack at one point, and looked a different player altogether.  His shielding of the ball was neat and his twisting and turning caused all manner of problems.  He is just the type of player we need up in support of Ashton and McKenzie.

Next seasons squad 

GK Green/Gallagher

RB  Helveg or Tranmere Right Back    

CB Shackel (VCapt)      

CB Docherty or (Gabiddon)  

LB Drury/Charlts

DCM  Safri (Phenomenal)

RM Tommy Miller (He may be scummer but he knows how to score from distance. Dickson Etuhu, Marc Bircham)

LM Darren Huckerby (Alot to prove for him next season)

STRIKER Matthias Johnson (Play him up front and watch him score)

STRIKER Dean Ashton (Messiah, he could get a hatful)                

STRIKER Leon McKenzie (The perfect foil for Ash and a complete handful)

May be a bit of fantasy football but that would be an awsome team to go into the fizzy league with. 

Rumour has it that both Fleming and Holt have played their last games in a city shirt.  I dearly hope Flem can play a part in helping us up again, but feel Gary Holt is no longer worthy of a place in Citys Midfield.  

If Green goes we must be greedy and get 4 million plus not a piddly 2.5.  If Francis goes for the reported 3 million, bite Alan Curbishleys arm off.  (I cannot go into what I think of Damien Francis''s Fulham performance)

Sorry about the long winded post and hope at least one person agrees. 

 See you all in the fizzy league.  It will be tough, can we show the mettle to get back in the Prem, we shall see.

championes 2004 & 200?.

Morty

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Welcome to the board Steve - and good post.

I cant disagree with much of what you say and agree that we must stengthen the squad by buying players to play in their preferred positions rather than trying to convert them.  My feeling is that we now need 6 players - one right back, one striker and 4 midfielders.

There are a few points I would like expanding on - firstly I would like to see us making a bid for Gabbidon but that should have been done in January when Cardiff were fire fighting for cash - now they are more stable Gabbidons price seems to be between £2-3m with prem clubs keen, I think we have missed the boat with him.

Why do you say Hux has something to prove?  He showed his quality to us last season when he was the seasons most consistent, threatening and premiership quality player by a long way. He was fouled more often than any other player, put in a better proportion of completed crosses than Manures United and was the POTS yet still needs to prove something?  What is that thing he needs to prove - that he can sweep the pitch at the same time?   After all like Jonson he is another striker worthy has tried to convert to a striker....

I hope you are right about both holt and flem - I have heard the same thing - but given the current squad turnaround we do need both as squad players for this season only.  Flem may do better at champs level but charlie and doc are bother better partners for shacks than flem...

OTBC

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not bad but i''d go for

GK Green (if he stays) or if not either Ward or Gallacher with Lewis coming through to gain experience

DR Helveg (if he stays) or if not we''d have to bring in another right back or change formation

DL Drury or Charlton

DC Shackell (got to be played to gain experience)

DC Fleming or Doherty or Charlton

MC Francis (if he stays) or if not Holt

MC Safri (could be the key to spark things of from midfield)

MR Jonson (bags of effort & determination which will be crucial but he needs to start scoring)

ML Huckerby (as we all know a star player at this level)

FC Mackenzie (should come into his own at this level as done well last season)

FC Ashton (he''ll score loads & probably break some scoring records if he stays all season)

I think that although the likes of Fleming & Holt are getting on in age & they both struggled a bit in the Premiership they''ll both still do a decent job in the Championship & can be replaced on the match back to the promised land as they deserve the chance as they''ve both been great servants to the cause in the past.

We can then also bring through the likes of Henderson, Jarvis, etc... as at this level it is an ideal chance to through the youngsters in as if one of them comes through then it''ll save the club lost of dosh.

I believe that as things stand this would have to be the team but obviously we''re going to be bringing in several players as otherwise we''ll be very short of players, so most of the new players should feature in some way.

ps by the way steve his name is spelt mattias jonson heh!..

 

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Agree with your team and think that the addition of Jarrett will help to make up the numbers. I still think that Hucks has alot to prove as although he is a class act he now has to show he can perform in every match. That includes using his head more than once in a blue moon and tracking back to help with his defensive duties. Overall though this sort of team with a few further quality additions, should be top 2, theres only a handful of teams to be consistent enough to compete with us.

Oh and after your correction on the last guys spelling of Jonson, McKENZIE no ''a'' sorry just pointing out what i see.

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[quote]It was indeed nice to see Johnson score for the Swedes at the weekend and is certainly one of my favourite players at FCR. Alot of people enjoy panning Matty but he is an exceptional player being pla...[/quote]

Good constructive post Steve,

Your team looks good, based on  probable/ improbable comings and goings, will be interesting to see how much of it pans out.

Agree with you about McVeigh, can''t understand why he was never used as striker, as he effectively was when he first joined us.

 I got a fear someone will sign him up, use him as such and make us all feel a bit embarrassed.

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Oh dear, some of you say this team is a good one! This team would lose every week! If you play a 4-3-3 formation like the poster is suggesting you play with one central forward and two wide of him. You then have three tight in the middle of midfield. You cannot play Huckerby as one of these midfield players as he cannot defend. So the poster is suggesting we play with one player in the middle of midfield, don''t think I''ve ever seen a team play like that! As for Johnson being a striker, well I saw him play as a striker a few times last season around Christmas and althogh he was neat and tidy he never looked like he would score a goal, hes not really a striker or a right midfielder. Just an in between sort of player.

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Two people saying Hucks has a lot to prove!!!!

So, virtually single handedly turning our season around to finish as Champions doesn''t prove anything?

Hucks is an absolute quality player, who is as loyal to the club as anyone.

To criticise him for not defending shows a complete lack of tactical football knowledge - in the same breath you are talking about players playing in position and then expecting our most exciting attacking player to defend.

 

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Dicky, he is a quality player, and yes he along with a certain Mr. Crouch gave us that extra edge that surely if we had not of had we would still be in the champ for the 11th season running. Hucks is one of my favourite players but you cannot afford a luxury player like him in the prem. Look at Laurent Robert of Newcastle he is a class act but is his heart is in it? NO and now hes being sold off.

 I can count on one hand the amount of times hucks skinned people last season because after a few atempts if he didn''t go past them he''d start playing few yard passes and look completely disinterested. Dont get me wrong he''s my fav player behind McKenzie, and in the champ he has the time and space to walk the ball into the net as we saw against Wigan and Cardiff. Heading is another thing I can count on one hand, he doesn''t do it, whether its because it messes his hair up, or he has a delicate scalp I dont know, any time he did do it the crowd cheered, what does that tell you. Unless the ball is played directly to feet he doesn''t want to fetch he wont run for it.

When he played the last few games of the season he incorporated a bit more of a defensive side to his game and it was bloody noticeable, drury wasn''t having to think oh no here we go again. I think Man City were clever, we should do the same, get promoted then sell.

Im sorry if you disagree but a footballer to be good, has to be of a decent standard in all areas of his game and Hucks shows loyalty to NCFC but can you honestly say he emulates Leon''s never say die attitude?

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I have become increasingly weary of my mates at uni saying that Hucks is rubbish or that he can''t hack it in the Prem based purely on the goals he''s scored. Huckerby has admitted himself in the past that he is not a natural finisher. I saw the game away at Spurs where he totally ripped them apart in the 2nd half and were it not for a geat block by King, he would have won us the game. Ok you can''t go on one appearance but this certainly hasn''t been a one off.

Sure Hucks isn''t going to set the game on fire in the same way as he does in the Champ because the defending is better and defenders often have more pace but he is still a very handy Prem player and has caused Prem defences problems! He''s won numerous free kicks, penalties and has set up lots of goals. Please please can people look at Huckerby as a whole package rather than the goals scored column before making a judgement of his worth!!!

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[quote]Dicky, he is a quality player, and yes he along with a certain Mr. Crouch gave us that extra edge that surely if we had not of had we would still be in the champ for the 11th season running. Hucks is ...[/quote]

Just how many players do ''skin'' defenders week in week out?   Very very few.  However for much f the time hux was double marked and was fouled more than any player in the prem.  He put in more crosses than nearly anyother prem player and had a crosses completion rate more than 33% better than Ronaldo - who cost multi-millions and is an international.  Apart from walking on water I am not sure what more you would expect Hux to do?  Perhaps that broom to sweep the floor could be strategically placed??

His choice of option may not be what we expect but that unexpected ability is what upsets defenders - the fact he learnt to retain possession with a short ball is a strength; our team learnt far too late in the season.  If Leon could control a ball, pass to city player or create as many chances and assists as Hux did then Leon can be mentioned in the same breath.   

As far as his committment is concerned I think it DOES match that of Leon, its just done in a less demonstrable way but its very rare that you see Hux not leaving the pitch physically exhausted.  In any event I wouldrun myself into the ground for the club (Ok I know I would only last 10 minutes :w00t but it wouldnot be any good without ability.

Leon is a strength and a real asset to the side - but we need to be realistic about the level of his footballing ability.

 

OTBC

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I agree 100% with ZLF. If anyone is rude about Hucks'' ability, point them at the OPTA stats!

I would add that often last season Hucks was left stranded on the left, with no easy options available. Our LB wouldn''t push up and support, and the movement off the ball by many players wasn''t quality enough to shake easy marking and/or cutting off passes. If Hucks wasn''t able to push infield, he would be marshalled down the wing with no options, surrounded by 3 opposition players and only Leon in the box. This left him looking ineffective, when it wasn''t his fault.

I would rather he conserved his energy for pushing forward, he is our only consistent channel for attack. This does leave defensive gaps, and we haven''t found the answer for that yet (swapping Holt for Safri really helped though!), but that is the question that needs answering NOT how to get Hucks to defend. Having said that, he did both against Man U (loved watching him dis-posses Ronaldo time after time) but I don''t think its realistic for him to do this each game.

I would (politely) disagree with the original poster saying that players have been played out of position to allow for the ''old guard''. When Roberts was a regular striker choice, he was our best option at that time. Same with Holt, prior to this season. Yes players have been played out of position, last season esp through injury, but our right midfield place has been badly filled for seasons. Hendo / McVeigh / Bently - all strikers not midfielders. I thought when Jonsson signed he WAS a right midfielder who could also play on the left and up front if needed. Didn''t Worthy say when he was signed and given the No9 shirt that he got the number because it was the only one left, not because he was a striker? I don''t think he plays up front regularly for Sweden.

What a nice constructive thread talking about football! Can we not clog it up with pointless slagging each other off?

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