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Is Macca Worth It?

The debate over the future of Steve Maclean at the club rolls on and on - this time Vital Sheffield Wednesday contributor Carl Parkin has his say on the goings-on at S6...

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The last week has been dominated with news of the great Steve Maclean debate.

There are good arguments for and against Macca. His record for us is great, but take away his Penalties, and it it not anywhere near as good from open play. I know Pens are still goals, but he needs to be scoring more from open play to be awarded that new contract. The talk a few weeks ago was that he was looking at about 8000 a week for a new contract, this is about 3000 above the salary cap at Hillsborough, so what we have to weigh up is this :--

Brian Laws says he needs 4 new players in the summer, we need real high quality spending in Goal, at Left back, and in Midfield.

Now here is the big thinking point. A player who over last 3 seasons has spent as much time out injured as he has playing is wanting to get a contract that is 3000 a week more than anybody else. We can give him that and hope that he stays fit, and maybe even finds some pace from somewhere, or we can use that extra cash to secure some players in the crucialy below par positions in the team ?

One other argument is to find a position for Macca that suits his qualities. Those of us who went to Burnley saw a quite brilliant performance from Macca who dropped back into almost a midfield position and letting Burton and Small go beyond him.

He was like Sheridan at his best. He threaded passes all over, and held the ball up for the advancing players. Would Macca consider becomming the creative midfielder playing just behind the strikers? We all know how good Teddy Sheringham was and still is in that position, and like Macca, he has never had pace.

The problems that we have is that strikers hunt in pairs, and the best 2 players do not always make the best partnership. Look at Fowler and Owen at Liverpool a few years ago. Two of the best strikers in Europe in the same team, and they could not play with each other.

Most of us know that the best 2 strikers at Hillsborough are Tudgay and Macca, but unfortunately Deon Burton and Tudgay seem to have a better understanding, and so Brian Laws has to pick the right pairing, and unless Steve Maclean can forge an understanding with one of the others, then the best he can manage is the bench.

The thing that Wednesday have been lacking for years is good partnerships in the crucial areas. Remember how good Hirsty and Paul Williams were, then Trevor Francis decided that the fact willow only got ten goals a season was not good enough, so he bought Bright to get him 20 goals, but seemed to forget that a year before Hirsty and Willow had got over 40 goals as a pairing.

Brighty got goals, but him and Hirst never made a 40 goal partnership. The same team also contained Palmer and Sherridan, what a perfect pairing, Carlton did all the running, gave the ball to Shez, and he fed the strikers. Finally, King and Worthington, both fairly steady players, but as a partnership down the left they were amazing.

The King and Worthington pairing leads me onto the biggest weekness of the current team. The left hand side. Unfortunately there are too many fans at Hillsborough who do not know anything about the game itself, and seem to blame so many things on Brunty. He has more skill and ability than anybody else in this team, but when he has a bad game he looks terrible, but there is a good reason for him being frustrating. That reason is without doubt Tommy Spurr. Tommy is loved because he is a local boy coming through the ranks who gives 100%, buit sometimes 100% is not good enough if you can't do the job !!

We need a Left Back before we buy a player for anywhere else Tommy does try hard, but he is a young centre back, doing his best in a position he cannot play. The game has changed over last few years. Full Backs have to be quick and strong, and when they go over the halfway line they have to be able to play as a winger and beat a man and cross in a ball. Look how Frank Simek has come on this year. He is strong and fast, and gets up and down, and causes trouble for oposition defenders.

Tommy Spurr does not overlap Brunty, so most of the time he has 2 men on him, we need a fullback who will draw players away from Brunty, and create space, so he can put those fantastic whipped crosses in more often. The one last Saturday against Soutend was a great example. Spencer Prior could do nothing with it, and it ended up in the net.

I am sure many people will not agree with some of what i have put, I hope that Macca does find his touch, and earns a contract, but he will have to work bloody hard to convince me that he is worth double his money.

Carl Parkin




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 28 2007

Time: 4:07PM

Your Comments

What a very good article. Agree with u 100% about everything u said. First of all id love to see macca in a role behind the strikers. Him and Whelen would work great 2gether in moy opinion. He dropped back into a deeper role against Man city in the cup and got alot of the ball. Onto another of ur points, imagine having a left footed Frankie Simek on the opposite flank. Bombing forward past Brunty, that would create alot of problems and allow Brunt to cut inside when he fancied to. Get the goal keeper, left back and a fast centre half in Laws and we'll have a very good and balanced team
danksy
One of the best reads in a long time, cheers Carl.
Auckland Owl
Thankyou for your compliments guys. I am a Macca fan, but sometime you have to look at what the priorities are for the team.
haxeyowl
Sorry .but is this a joke?Let's clear one thing up-MacLean did not play "almost a midfield position" at Burnley .He played up-front .Although Sturrock used to like to use a deep laying striker in a 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1 formation ,Laws has been a straightforward 4-4-2 man so far .And even if he did switch ,I'd be very surprised if he used Macca in the deeper role .The fact that he had to come deep to gain possession (as did Burton) reflected a couple of things .In most games ,the home side will enjoy more possession and will usually try to take the game to the visitors .As a result the home team will play higher up the pitch .Wednesday's away tactics,like a lot of teams ,are to sit deeper and counter-attack .In addition ,Whelan ,who is normally our most progressive central midfielder and therefore the natural link with the front men in the centre ,was injured .All this results in strikers having to drop deeper in order to see more of the ball-that doesn't mean they are playing in midfield ,it's just part and parcel of the game .You say he "threaded passes all over" - MacLean simply did what he usually does ,got the ball to feet and layed it off.And as for "He was like Sheridan at his best" ,c'mon Carl ,get real!If you truly believe that MacLean played anything like Sheridan at his best then I'm tempted to think either you weren't watching the same game as the rest of us or else you never actually saw Sheridan play! I may be being over critical here ,but Macca as a midfield playmaker? No.And as for your statement that we "saw a quite brilliant performance" from him at Turf Moor-well in a match that ,at best could be described as mediocre ,if anybody had done anything 'quite brilliant' they would have stood out like a sore thumb!I truth ,he played reasonably well in a very average match.
Alf Hooker
I accept your views Alf. I know as a team we play deepers away from home, but Macce was deeper than usual. He was not just holding up, he was threading passes, and keeping the ball. Macce will always struggle at this level and higher as an out and out striker because of his lack of pace, and I was suggesting that in the same way that we mover Warhurst forward, that we could drop macca back into "the hole". I did watch Shez on many an occasion, and he was always able to create time and space around him even with oposition players on him. Macca did this on several occasions at Turf Moor.
haxeyowl
 

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