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a1canary

Russell - I play centre back or nowhere

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Or more precisely:

“I can play right-back but I prefer centre-half. That’s where I’ll probably eventually settle and say at club level, ‘I play there or I don’t play’.

A bit surprised to read this for two reasons. Although i and others have often felt he is at least as good at CB as RB, if not better, i always assumed his preferred place was right back. Not so it appears.

Also don''t see him as the kind who would refuse to play in a position because he prefers a different one. Maybe that''s not what he means but sounds like what he is suggesting. Personally i see Whittaker as first choice RB, which would mean Russ will have to settle for filling in at CB when needed.

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It''s in the pinkun article about him not being recognised by Scottish taxi drivers!

The quote is pretty clear - the only license i''ve used is in him saying that he will "probably eventually" (definitely maybe) say it at club level. But he has said it. Sounds a little like a message to his boss wouldn''t you say?

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Wern''t Villa sniffing around him a while back?.......hmm?.........I wonder.

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He''s saying what many think, that he is probably a better centre-half than right-back.

 

The "I play there or I don''t play" might be reference to the threat of a fully fit Whittaker though. I personally think that RM would be under-estimating his overall influence if this were the case though. I also refer to the recent Robert Snodgrass posting.

 

With Young Ryan Bennett putting in good performances towards the ending of the season and with RM staing this, do we really need to channel funds towards a Curtis Davies or a.n.other? Not too sure myself.

 

This also emphasis the usefulness of the Whittaker signing IMO. Many doubted it at the time. 

 

Back up at left-back (Cresswell anybody [:D] is the only essential defensive addition we need at the moment surely

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Hmm, some rather selective quoting there A1. What about the final sentence of the article...

"“I can play right-back but I prefer centre-half. That’s where I’ll probably eventually settle and say at club level, ‘I play there or I don’t play’.

“At the minute though I’m switching between both, which my manager tells me is a good thing. You do what you have to do for the team.”"

The way I read it, in a few years time (probably when he''s too old to play for the club, or certainly too old to be bombing forward with regularity) he may say that he needs to be playing centre half to prolong his career. Until then, he''ll do whatever he can to play and is primarily focussed on helping the squad.

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The key word is "eventually". Centre back is where he sees himself playing in thd future. In the meantime he is clear that he is happy switching as the manager wishes.

What''s the problem with that?

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I don''t think it''s a problem, i thought it was a noteworthy comment. Does everyone on here have to ''defend'' their posts rather than just have a discussion?

Hmmm, silly question i guess!

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Full backs are generally a fusion of a centre back and a winger, most lie somewhere on the spectrum. Hibbert/ G Neville/ R Martin at the CB end and D Alves, Garrido, A Cole at the other. It''s good to have a balance to mix it up depending on opponents.

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Is there a tactical point here as well that Martin may have in mind? Tactical fashions change but at the moment 4-4-2 is out of fashion and playing one up front is in vogue. In that case having two old-fashioned hulking centre-halves is less necessary than it used to be. The emphasis is (or should be) on having at least one who is more mobile and can play a bit.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"]Is there a tactical point here as well that Martin may have in mind? Tactical fashions change but at the moment 4-4-2 is out of fashion and playing one up front is in vogue. In that case having two old-fashioned hulking centre-halves is less necessary than it used to be. The emphasis is (or should be) on having at least one who is more mobile and can play a bit.[/quote]

 

Or is Martin one step ahead and seeing how many managers are now moving towards 3 centre backs - meaning no more full backs?

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[quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

[quote user="PurpleCanary"]Is there a tactical point here as well that Martin may have in mind? Tactical fashions change but at the moment 4-4-2 is out of fashion and playing one up front is in vogue. In that case having two old-fashioned hulking centre-halves is less necessary than it used to be. The emphasis is (or should be) on having at least one who is more mobile and can play a bit.[/quote]

 

Or is Martin one step ahead and seeing how many managers are now moving towards 3 centre backs - meaning no more full backs?

[/quote]

 

Ha! Could be. My least favourite tactical system, at least the way it tends to be played in England. You end up with three lumpen centre-backs humping the ball forward and no width in the play. Wing-backs trying to be defenders and attackers and failing at both. At least two of the central defenders need to be able to play a bit to make it acceptable.

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[quote user="a1canary"]

I don''t think it''s a problem, i thought it was a noteworthy comment. Does everyone on here have to ''defend'' their posts rather than just have a discussion?

Hmmm, silly question i guess!

[/quote]
I think if you choose to omit half of the quote which doesn''t fit in with the sensationalist thread title you choose to put, then you can''t grumble too much when people are slightly sceptical towards and maybe critical of your post!
Bethnal; most systems which currently employ three centre backs usually have two ''wing backs'' or disciplined wide men rather than traditional wingers either side. These might be more attacking than traditional wing backs in a four man defence as the extra centre back can cover the wing more, but they still essentially play a wing back''s role with slightly fewer defensive responsibilities. A role which may be ideal for Martin (or Whittaker for that matter). I doubt Martin was thinking tactically with this statement - just seems like a natural career progression from out wide to central where less dynamism, pace and stamina to get forward is required, as long as you can read the game well enough to make the transition.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

[quote user="PurpleCanary"]Is there a tactical point here as well that Martin may have in mind? Tactical fashions change but at the moment 4-4-2 is out of fashion and playing one up front is in vogue. In that case having two old-fashioned hulking centre-halves is less necessary than it used to be. The emphasis is (or should be) on having at least one who is more mobile and can play a bit.[/quote]

 

Or is Martin one step ahead and seeing how many managers are now moving towards 3 centre backs - meaning no more full backs?

[/quote]

 

Ha! Could be. My least favourite tactical system, at least the way it tends to be played in England. You end up with three lumpen centre-backs humping the ball forward and no width in the play. Wing-backs trying to be defenders and attackers and failing at both. At least two of the central defenders need to be able to play a bit to make it acceptable.

[/quote]

 

I agreed Purple - we attempted this a few times (with very limited success) under Lambert and i''m sure the motivation for doing it came from Culverhouse for obvious reasons.  Villa tried it a few times too with even more disastrous conequences i think.

I think it needs to be seen not as three centre backs system but as a more regular centre pair with wing backs and with a roaming sweeper who is a ball playing centre back - the role Culverhouse had in the 90s. The failings of attempts at playing 5 at the back in recent times seem to have rested on a lack of understanding about how to play that system and of how it should work. It''s just totally alien to modern defenders i think and i can''t see that many appropriate candidates for that sweeper role. Maybe Daniel Ayala?!

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

[quote user="PurpleCanary"]Is there a tactical point here as well that Martin may have in mind? Tactical fashions change but at the moment 4-4-2 is out of fashion and playing one up front is in vogue. In that case having two old-fashioned hulking centre-halves is less necessary than it used to be. The emphasis is (or should be) on having at least one who is more mobile and can play a bit.[/quote]

 

Or is Martin one step ahead and seeing how many managers are now moving towards 3 centre backs - meaning no more full backs?

[/quote]

 

Ha! Could be. My least favourite tactical system, at least the way it tends to be played in England. You end up with three lumpen centre-backs humping the ball forward and no width in the play. Wing-backs trying to be defenders and attackers and failing at both. At least two of the central defenders need to be able to play a bit to make it acceptable.

[/quote]

 

Ha! True, but when it is played the Johan Cruyff way it is wonderful - as is this video where he starts to talk tactics.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NZ0byEyeOA

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[quote user="Aggy"][quote user="a1canary"]

I don''t think it''s a problem, i thought it was a noteworthy comment. Does everyone on here have to ''defend'' their posts rather than just have a discussion?

Hmmm, silly question i guess!

[/quote]

I think if you choose to omit half of the quote which doesn''t fit in with the sensationalist thread title you choose to put, then you can''t grumble too much when people are slightly sceptical towards and maybe critical of your post!

[/quote]

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[quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

Ha! True, but when it is played the Johan Cruyff way it is wonderful - as is this video where he starts to talk tactics.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NZ0byEyeOA

[/quote]

 

Brilliant, Bethnal, even if I couldn''t see what Cruyff was drawing half the time! By the way don''t entirely agree about Simon Kuper. His book, Football Against The Enemy, was excellent, but I find his daily/weekly journalism pretty sub-standard.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

Ha! True, but when it is played the Johan Cruyff way it is wonderful - as is this video where he starts to talk tactics.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NZ0byEyeOA

[/quote]

 

Brilliant, Bethnal, even if I couldn''t see what Cruyff was drawing half the time! By the way don''t entirely agree about Simon Kuper. His book, Football Against The Enemy, was excellent, but I find his daily/weekly journalism pretty sub-standard.

[/quote]

On the same topic, this makes for an interesting (and nostalgic read):

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/european-football-makeshift-norwich-seeking-to-defy-history-walker-banks-on-his-teams-awaygoals-record-as-bowen-and-megson-try-to-fill-gaps-left-by-culverhouse-and-crook-1466213.html

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[quote user="a1canary"][quote user="Aggy"][quote user="a1canary"]

I don''t think it''s a problem, i thought it was a noteworthy comment. Does everyone on here have to ''defend'' their posts rather than just have a discussion?

Hmmm, silly question i guess!

[/quote]

I think if you choose to omit half of the quote which doesn''t fit in with the sensationalist thread title you choose to put, then you can''t grumble too much when people are slightly sceptical towards and maybe critical of your post!

[/quote]

[/quote]

Sorry but I have to agree with the others.

It really has to be taken in context with the article as a whole.

When you read the piece at large I think he is referring to the likelihood that when his legs go, as they do with all players, he will be more comfortable and suited to play centre back.

I know it''s not 100% clear but it is clear that he is happy to play any role he is given at the moment. I remember an article back when he signed for us where he said he''d be happy to play right wing if needed.

Players want to play, if they didn''t they''d be out the door. He is simply stating that as his career progresses he sees himself switching to being more of a centre back. I would say that his leadership qualities would suggest that too. There is only so much influence you can have on the team in a game when at full back.

It''s a reality a lot of players have to face and some don''t make it. Shearer is a good example. Before his serious injuries he was considered the ''little man'' - the pacier trickier striker, as seen when part of the SaS partnership at Blackburn and his time at Southampton. He has stated that after his injuries he knew he wouldn''t be able to have the pace he had before and so altered how he played to get him into the same goal scoring positions and became more of an out and out target man. At 6'' he had just about the height to do it, much like Holt.

As said elsewhere, fullbacks tend (generally, although there are always other examples) to be of two mindsets and be able to adapt to wing play better or to defensive play. Obviously top class full backs of the like of Cole, Roberto Carlos etc, have brilliant positioning and so can counter pace to a certain degree and have long and fruitful careers in that position.

I think what Martin is saying is that he knows eventually that is where he will play. He doesn''t want to be playing second fiddle to a young and pacier version of himself, watching from the bench. He wants to be in the mix, playing football.

Fair play to him. It''s less of a ''I''ll refuse to play'' and more of a ''I won''t be selected to play''.

That Spanish full back at Blackburn almost proved that last season. No pace and was caught out too often for it despite his obvious class on the ball.

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I think everyone who has posted has directly talked about that or asked for a link, a1. It was you yourself who got defensive and started saying people were criticising the post. I haven''t seen anyone in this thread have a dig at you in particular, but some have said we would like to read the whole quote or think your interpretation of that bit you have quoted is out of context. I haven''t seen the word ''negativity'' used once in the thread.

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to be honest, RM is a very solid CB when called upon, probably a better there than he is at RB. plus, he would only get better if he was played there more regularly.

of course, it would be a stretch to shift out any of the current CB trio, particularly given how impressive they''ve all been this season, but I would have no problem with him being in full contention.

would also give Whittaker a chance to prove what he is made of. He had a great run in the side before his second injury and I really do have faith in him going forward.

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I like Martin, i remember watching him on his debut at Southend, he''s come on a long way. I think his RB days are numbered, he''s a little slow and seems to hold back on making a challenge. I think his days as RB are numbered?

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A1 raises a valid point. Martin phrase "I play there or I don''t play" is a surprising tone for him to use.

In football speak it is a smoke signal and perfectly worthy of discussion on here.

It struck me as out of character and the kind of statement precipitous to a move/contract renegotiation/manager nudge. Martin is not prone to these as a "solid citizen" and I raised an eyebrow too...

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He could be a stunning centre half - especially with someone like Seb beside him.

He was Scotland''s best player last night in Croatia - outstanding from first till last and kept Mandzukic and company tightly in his back pocket.

If he can play like this he could yet develop into an even better CB than he already is as a full back.

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I reckon Martin''s best attribute is his great positional sense. The number of times, especially under Lambert, that he would read an attack get back and block a shot off the line or intercept a dangerous pass was amazing. For me he''d make a brilliant Libero style sweeper, free to roam around and stop moves while the centre backs stick to a more traditional role, but also allowed to break from the back as we know he is want to do.

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With the predominance of the fluid 4231 system - and close variations thereof - there is little need for the English preoccupation with 2 x John terry-a-likes at cb. Indeed it can be observed that cb is where the (remaining) time and space is to construct and initiate passing structures in a repeatable way. This is the area where modern teams are "allowed to have the ball". Thus it is increasingly logical to have better passers in these areas and a maximum of one "stopper". It can be observed that there is a far greater need for one cb "to step into midfield" when the opposition has 3x mata and a max of 1 x drogba. This certainly favours more fluid positional players such as Martin who are able to cover the central defensive area, step comfortably into midfield in both a defensive and offensive sense, whilst also having the stamina and tactical flexibility to cover and move into the full back areas as required.

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