During a season there are always moans and groans from fans about certain players who should be picked ahead of others, and this is even more common when the team is not playing very well or when players who are playing in the said player’s position appear to get a starting shirt regardless of their poor form.
So this season, there has been three players who I feel have been underused, especially given the team’s inconsistencies throughout and I also feel they could make a decent impact between now and the end of the season if they are given adequate time on the pitch.
Dodoo has only started two league games, which is quite incredible considering he joined from Leicester where he was highly regarded, his flexibility, with him being able to play wide or through the middle and the fact that the strikers, as a collective, have not had a season to write home about. In those two starts, he has two goals – both came from the bench in a 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle, but with those two goals he showed what a good finisher he is. One was a top-class volley and the other was very well-taken under pressure. When he joined in the summer, Claudio Ranieri was quoted in saying that he could “smell a goal.” Despite his chances being sporadic under Mark Warburton and nonexistent under Graeme Murty, It is my belief that Dodoo is the most natural finisher we have on the books of the first team at present.
It’s not only his finishing that’s made an impact. His cross for Harry Forrester’s winner against Dundee sticks out. In fact, it is his only league assist. He’s hoping he gets more game time to add to those stats.
He came off the bench in the last league outing against Hamilton and I hope Pedro Caixinha will give him more opportunities between now and the end of the season. Going forward, I think he can be developed into a very good player and he is someone who I am really excited about with regards to the future.
A street player, according to his former manager, but after a good start to the season, which included a goal in the second league fixture at Dundee in a 2-1 win, he has been in and out of the side – mostly out. That’s surprising given how poor our midfield has been, especially before the January window opened, which then allowed us to bring in Jon Toral and Emerson Hyndman.
The are plenty of reasons why Forrester would be in and around my starting XI week in, week out. I like his willingness to work hard on both sides of the ball, and more importantly, I also like the fact that he is a bit unpredictable when in the final third. Yes, there are areas of his game where he can improve – his decision-making, for example. I don’t think anyone has forgiven him just yet for failing to pass to Joe Dodoo in the Hogmanay match instead of going alone and shooting.
However, I feel he could be a player that Caixinha takes a shine to in the coming weeks. He would be able to play in any of the wide roles or the no.10 role behind the striker. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a period when Jason Holt’s form drops off, that he is used as the hassler in the midfield – using his energy to get about the park and press the ball, win it back and start play. In fact, I think he could do that job nicely – he and Jon Toral would dovetail perfectly, in my opinion, and he will chip in with his fair share of goals too.
I am hoping with his will to succeed at the club, his flexibility in terms of positioning and his off-the-cuff attitude he is given a chance to show what he can bring to the side and hopefully he is able to get some regular minutes going forward.
It comes down to the same old discussion: Kiernan or Wilson. To be honest, I think Danny Wilson can feel quite hard done by. He’s missed some games through injury but when he has been fit, I feel he should have been in the heart of the defence along with Clint Hill, who at this point in time is our best defender.
Kiernan’s form this season, frankly, has been iffy, to be fair to him. Many times he has made glaring error contributing to goals for the opposition, but I am sure that being a Mark Warburton favourite went a long way when he was being picked when he wasn’t performing. He would get picked week after week, while I would sit in the stadium in a bewilderment wondering when he would get his chance back in the side.
Since Wilson has come back into the side, he has been excellent, especially in the recent Old Firm draw – he was also superb in the victory over Hearts at Ibrox in December when, ironically, his partner in defence that afternoon was Rob Kiernan – that’s not something you can say a lot about the Wilson-Kiernan partnership in their time playing together.
Despite being two left footers, Wilson and Hill seem to be the best partnership in central defence that we have. It will be interesting to see which way Caixinha goes on Saturday against Motherwell. If he sticks with the Wilson and Hill partnership or if he breaks it up and finds a place in the starting line-up for Rob Kiernan.
However, If I was picking the team, Wilson would keep the starting jersey. He has not done anything for him to have any reason to lose it and I feel his use of the ball from the back and his positional sense is far superior to Kiernan at this point in both of their careers and that would, in my opinion, gives Wilson the edge.