End of Term Report Part 4 21/05/2014Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
12- Lloyd Doyley
After thirteen years in the first team squad, there’s little to say about Lloyd that you don’t already know. Quick, diligent, competent, adaptable, focused, professional. And a complete bloody star. Not infallible, not above the odd stinker here or there – and there were one or two of those this season if we’re honest – and never likely to stride arrogantly out of defence and swipe a crossfield pass onto the toe of an escaping wingback in the style of Gabrielle Angella. But solid gold, a must for the bench whenever he’s not in the starting eleven… whether Beppe’s comments lauding the value of home-grown types like Lloyd and Luke O’Nien was merely window dressing or straight down the line they were entirely accurate. Lloyd will unpretentiously come in and do a job and if he fails to do it thoroughly it won’t be down to attitude . A sporadic starter throughout the season but a fixture in the matchday squad (but for a hamstring injury in the autumn), also worth noting that we won half the games that Lloyd was involved in, and fewer than 20% of those that he wasn’t…
Next Season: More of the same. Obviously.
13- Mathias Ranégie
The thing here is that a player who looks perpetually grumpy has extra work to do. You can get away with it – indeed, it’s practically an asset – if you’re the all-action type, a destructive midfielder say, or a brutal target man. Perhaps even a moody but brilliant goalkeeper. Otherwise, you’re going to need to work that little bit harder to compensate. This is what Mathias Ranégie is battling with, since for all that he looks strong and clever, uses his body well and wins an awful lot in the air there’s an air of diffidence about the Swede that isn’t a crowd-pleaser… the inverse of that stereotypically British thing about loving a trier, someone who saunters around expending energy selectively isn’t going to win friends, particularly if he looks so thoroughly pissed off and resentful while doing so.
There’s little doubt that he looks a useful acquisition, mind. The presence of a genuine, flick-ons, running-battles and nods down at the far post target man took immediate pressure off Troy and will be a useful weapon next season whether or not Troy is around to benefit from the increased freedom it affords the strike partner. Mathias’ silly reaction to provocation from that horrible little gobshite James Husband (bye then, Doncaster) at the Keepmoat was only one of several instances suggesting that the big striker has a short fuse to match his sulky demeanour, but if he contributes consistently on the pitch we’ll let him off that.
Next Season: One of several cases where it will be interesting to see what effect a proper pre-season can have on fitness and consistency.
15- Javier Acuña
I really liked the idea of Javier Acuña. Signed, apparently, in the face of stiff competition with an impressive goalscoring record at Castilla he was one of the new weapons that was going to offset the loss of Vydra. The one, bluntly, who was going to get the goals.
And if that never really looked likely there was nonetheless something endearing about Acuña’s lack of regard for his own safety in the way he hurtled into challenges – sometimes with excessive exuberance but certainly better that way than the other. In this regard he resembled a fabled Watford centre-forward, but there the resemblance ended. Whilst H was misemployed by one manager in his Watford career he was never discarded, always demanded involvement. Acuña started three League games for Watford, as well as a handful in the League Cup but never consecutive games. One of those cup games featured his only goal for the Hornets, a fine bullish strike against Norwich borne of just the sort of bloody mindedness that his spasmodic involvement had already suggested. He had never really looked like that the goalscorer though… dropping deep or wide more naturally than attacking the box. In reality we had enough of those sorts of options all ready.
Next Season: For whatever reason, Javier never settled at Watford. A return to England seems unlikely.
16- Sean Murray
Having disappeared from the picture last season Sean won hearts and minds by booking himself into a fitness camp over the summer break, a statement of intent and of determination, a professional and mature call seeking to right a perceived wrong from twelve months earlier. His reward was involvement from the outset, ostensibly as part of a tag team with Cristian Battocchio with whom he ended the season with a virtually identical playing record.
Truth be told, he’s rarely looked entirely comfortable. The swagger of his early performances has gone, even if he’s still finding the back of the net with reasonable regularity. The first thing to note here, however, is that Sean Murray is only 20. Three years since his debut, true, and feels longer – he’s played under four managers in that time – but nonetheless, still 20 and at an age where many would be making their first tentative steps into the team. Sean has 50 senior starts, and half as many off the bench. And he will grow, and he’ll get better – his determination no longer in doubt. Perhaps it’s a matter of finding his role… finding his niche. Perhaps no coincidence that he looked comfortable in Sean Dyche’s 4-4-2. But players who break through very young often don’t end up being quite the sort of player that their earliest performances suggested they might be. Gary Porter springs to mind here. Sean has plenty of ability. Club and player have just got to work out how best to use it…
Next Season: Still here for the long term, and hurrah for that, Sean needs to find his place.