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End of Term Report Part 5 27/05/2015

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.
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18- Daniel Pudil

An odd season for Daniel.  For a while there’s been talk of us looking for left-sided competition; with the exception of Albert Riera’s brief and slouchy loan in 2013/14 it never really arrived.  And yet despite featuring as regularly as ever earlier in the season Daniel has gradually slipped into the role of squad player under Slav with Ikechi Anya and Tommie Hoban often preferred on the left flank roles in our various and varying formations.  Daniel appears to offer what he always did… bags of stamina and willingness, decent (but not infallible) going forward, decent (but not infallible) defending.  His form earlier in this season had arguably been more dependable than ever…  and yet it’s suddenly, particularly at this higher level, difficult to see him as part of the regular first team picture.

Next Season:  Daniel struggled to hold down a place in the absence of a like-for-like left-footed competitor in the Championship – it’s inconceivable that we won’t be looking to strengthen down that side.  You’d like to see Daniel hang around though; decent left-sided players shouldn’t be taken for granted.  We’ve had some uncomfortable experiences there in the past…

19- Diego Fabbrini

Another character who feels like a long time ago, Fabbrini is perhaps the best example of the sort of by-product of the Pozzo system that sees players nominally still on the books of the club whilst long since having had little to do with the first team.  Diego started two league games this season, and hasn’t been anything like a regular in the squad for eighteen months.  Since that time he has been loaned out three times, twice this season to Championship clubs and it’s difficult to see him forcing his way back into the picture at Vicarage Road.  The bigger picture remains a bit of a puzzle… a player with obvious natural ability, ability that got him into the Italian national squad, who in other ways seems ill-equipped to be a footballer with the result that he flatters to deceive in a succession of loans with moderate second-tier clubs.  Ian Holloway’s treatment of Fabbrini at Millwall was instructive, publicly bigging him up, cooing over his talent and praising his application suggesting a sensitive character who needs a confidence boost.  It seems unlikely that, in the longer term, we’ll see him make the most of his ability at Vicarage Road.

Next Season:   Two years left on his contract, but even with the 2014/15 squad you’d struggle to see him in a squad of 25. Another loan – or a permanent departure – seems likely.

20- Matěj Vydra

In a season yielding all sorts of superlative statistics, you’d have to wonder how often our third highest scoring player managed as many of 16 goals in a season.  Similarly easy to overlook the contribution of Vydra whose profile has been much lower than it was two years ago when, as an unknown quantity, he was voted the division’s Player of the Year. To do so would do him a disservice…  he’s had to recover mentally from a season at West Brom where, having reached the top flight, things didn’t quite work for him.  Then, back at Watford, he’s no longer an automatic start but tagging in and out with Odion Ighalo for the most part…  and yet he’s always been positive, his movement is tremendous and if you’re in any doubt as to his value sitting on the shoulder of the last defender or scampering into a space that nobody else anticipated think back to 2013/14 and how, despite Troy’s best efforts, we were so much easier to defend against.  The problem then, if there’s been one, is that Matěj hasn’t always appeared to be enjoying himself very much.  Whilst his play has been positive, his demeanour has occasionally been peevish, even sulky.  Occasionally this can be put down to high standards, others not seeing his run and allowing what might have been brilliant to disappear, forgotten, into an unchecked ledger of missed opportunities.  Sometimes, disappointment… such as when he left the field within an instant of the final whistle against Sheffield Wednesday.  And ultimately it’s not a problem… no law saying he has to play with a smile on his face.  As long as he’s happy.

Next Season: There can be no doubt as to the value of his team, witness his marvellous breaking with Troy at Leeds, the professional unfussy composure with which he dispatched the clinching goal at Brighton.  Part of the armoury… one would hope that he will return from Udinese once again in some capacity.

21- Ikechi Anya

In some ways, Ikechi is quite a crude weapon. You know what you’re going to get, for one thing… lots of energy, lots of aggression, relatively little craft actually but buckets of personality.  His international profile would appear to be higher than his domestic success would justify but there are any number of reasons for that…  his style, or rather the value of a player who will chase relentlessly and with the pace to fly beyond a high line is perhaps better suited to playing for a side that will counter-attack rather than dominating possession.  Our formation at Watford asks more of him as a defensive player, typically, which he performs doggedly enough even if his instincts aren’t particularly defensive and even if, as we’ve already discussed in this review, the wing-back’s task can be a thankless one.  When Ikechi has received criticism it’s perhaps fuelled by the expectation of more from Ikechi’s raw talent, but it’s clearly nonsense to suggest that there is no end product… two wonderful assists at Millwall bear testimony to that, even if he will have been disappointed to end the season without a goal.

Next Season: A prominent character for the last three seasons, the Celtic rumours have been too persistent to be completely without foundation and as others have pointed out it would not be inconsistent with the Pozzo approach to cash in on a player when at the peak of his value.  You’d kinda hope he stays though… apart from anything else, we’re still going to need as wide an array of weapons as we can get.

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Comments»

1. Harefield Hornet - 27/05/2015

Great stuff – I’d like to think Matej and Ikechi are still with us next season, not so sure about Daniel, I think the step up might be a step too far. Can’t come on here without at least a nod to the latest drama unfolding! – difficult to know who the guilty party is – Pozzo (You’ve done what we needed now we’re after somebody better) or Slav (Give me what I want or I’m off). Suspect it’s a mixture of the two but can’t say I’m very happy.

2. Derek - 27/05/2015

I would like to see Fabbrini given another chance next year. He has loads of ability, will be a bit older and hopefully wiser. He could well thrive in the Gerald.
Hopefully Vydra will be back as well. He would have another opportunity in the top division, but in surroundings where he’ll get a lot of support. Not like having to start from scratch elsewhere.
With regard to Slav, it sounds like he’s been given a final offer and a deadline to make his mind up. It may depend on what other offers come his way over the next few days. If I was the Derby chairman, I think I would be battering on his door, with cheque book open.
Hopefully Slav will stay, but if he doesn’t then I’m hopefully that the Pozzo address book contains the names of several other great coaches that we’ve never heard of. At least we won’t be threatened with Big Sam or Colin.

NickB - 28/05/2015

OK, I’ll fall for it: how do you arrive at Gerald for the Prem?


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