We’d like to draw your attention to this quote from Steven Gerrard at his presser today:
“As a manager you analyse your players on a daily basis and pick the ones you think are going to get you the right result. You don’t pick on name or reputation. You pick the players who are training hard, who are focused and who are listening, taking messages on board and going to give you the best chance for your team to get the right result. Last week we made a decision for the benefit of the team and the squad. Cedric Itten and Kemar Roofe came in and I thought their application was really good, I was really happy with their performance considering it was their first starts. There was real positive signs with Kemar getting off the mark and Cedric’s work-rate. What I will say is we’re in much better shape from an attacking point of view in terms of options. We’re not heavily reliant on one person.”
This was in relation to Alfredo Morelos and his prospects of starting tomorrow.
Now, we couldn’t agree more – don’t pick based on who they are, pick based on what they do.
Gerrard advocates clearly that he will not select a player based on his reputation or what his name is, and that’s why Morelos is far from guaranteed to start.
But this rule seems to have no bearing on James Tavernier and Connor Goldson, who clearly ARE picked on their names.
Now, before we go further, both of them have actually been decent his campaign – Tavernier’s crossing has been useful, and his defending better than many credit him for, while Goldson hasn’t done a lot wrong and indeed has forged useful partnerships with both Filip Helander and especially, Leon Balogun.
But here’s the catch – it wasn’t always this way.
There have been numerous times under Gerrard’s leadership that both Tavernier and Goldson have been absolutely appalling – and had spells of dreadful form.
Indeed, to this day neither of them are especially the toast of fans, and most of them question the selection of the pair.
So why didn’t that name and reputation rule apply then?
In short, why are Tavernier and Goldson completely immune to the laws which govern the rest of the squad?
Gerrard is bang on with his approach – pick on form, pick on contribution not on name – but it only applies to 9 slots out of the XI – it definitely doesn’t apply to his first choice CB and his captain.
And we’ve never quite been sure why that is.
Answers on a postcard.