Friday, 20 September 2013

Let's not jump to conclusions

I think we're far too quick to jump to conclusions in this country when it comes to football. It probably extends beyond football as well, but football illustrates the knee-jerk mentality that this country reacts to events with.

We need a calm down and have a more objective perspective and more rational outlook on things. I think it starts from the media and transmits to the general public; in this case, fans and spectators. The newspapers, radio talk shows and football pundits on TV start spreading dramatic talk to sell newspapers, get more listeners and get more viewers. Not to mention helplessly overhype English players, especially in World Cup year.

Recent examples include "Wayne Rooney being back to his best" supposedly. He's had one good game against a disappointing Bayer Leverkusen team at home and scored a free-kick against 10 man Crystal Palace. It's just one very good game and another very good free-kick. He's not gone on a run of excellent form where he's consistently delivering top class performances and scoring a lot of goals on a regular basis and making a consistently big contribution to Manchester United. That's what he did do when at his best; in the 2009/10 season that's what he did, likewise for most of the few seasons previous to that.

We won't be able to consider him as being "back to his best" for at least another month in my opinion. He needs to be showing significantly good performances and high contributions on a regular basis before we can all say he's back to his best form.

There's a similar sense of melodramatic knee-jerk reactions regarding Ross Barkley and Aaron Ramsey. Both players are on excellent form, especially Ramsey but I've seen a lot of people say Ramsey is all of a sudden better than Wilshere. 10 months ago he wasn't good enough for Arsenal, now he's better than the player who was then deemed our best player? He looks much improved since then, don't get me wrong, but all we can say at the moment is that he's on better form than Jack Wilshere. Giroud is in very good form, is he better than Van Persie all of a sudden just because he's in better form?

Ramsey has come on leaps and bounds and is the most in form midfielder, and possibly player, in the Premier League at the moment. He is contributing significantly and scoring a lot of goals but it's not even just that, his general play has improved so much as well; his passing, tackling, authority on the pitch, his command in centre midfield, his protection of the defence, his runs forward.

But this doesn't all of a sudden make him better than Wilshere necessarily. Let's wait and see and judge them both over a prolonged period of time, rather than judging who's better than who on the basis on a handful of games spread over about 5 weeks.


And Wilshere is still playing well by the way, even when not at his best he's playing well in that Arsenal midfield and contributing positively.

Even more bizarre are the suggestions (admittedly from a small minority of people) claiming Ross Barkley has surpassed Jack Wilshere as a player. Those people need to calm down, he's just on impressive form while Wilshere doesn't look at his best at the moment. Barkley is frankly nowhere near him yet, he's only played a handful of Premier League games with Everton. Has he put in a man of the match performance against Barcelona and outplayed Xavi and Iniesta yet? Has he played in the Champions League yet? Contributed significantly to a top four club over 2 seasons? No, he's been very impressive and might reach Wilshere's level one day, soon maybe, but it's way too premature to say he's better now. Wilshere has a better knowledge of when to pass the ball, when to dribble and is more creative at the moment. He has more authority in midfield and is better defensively. I could go on... Barkley looks a bright spark but looks to lack the composure when dribbling and nouse to know when to shoot, dribble or pass (which will come through experience) that Wilshere has already. You might look at Barkley and think I'm wrong about the composure, as he does look composed on the ball. But I've watched him regularly this season and he often stutters when approaching the opposition's box and keeps the ball at his feet for way too long quite frequently, sometimes looking a bit panicky as to whether to shoot or pass or keep on dribbling. That will improve in time, what I'm saying is it's stuff like this which shows he isn't at Wilshere's level yet.

I would like to emphasize that I think Barkley is a very good player and a terrific prospect who has the potential to be around Wilshere's level, it's just the bizarre suggestions of him being better I find irksome and disrespectful to Wilshere's talent. It's like overall talent goes out of the window in this country with the knee-jerk reactions and all that matters is form.

(Image sources: Accessed 21/09/13, Accessed 21/09/13)

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