Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhat do Andy Carroll and David De Gea have in common? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough What do Andy Carroll and David De Gea have in common? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

What do Andy Carroll and David De Gea have in common?

Welcome to another edition of The Green Room. Further debate on all things Liverpool FC and the Premier League. Two mysteries and two players to discuss in the huddle this week. Why did Liverpool sign Andy Carroll? and the next one, which is akin to the meaning of life is, why did Manchester United sign David de Gea?

After yesterday’s performance, this is a question I have to ask. I’m sure, for all Liverpool fans, this is tantamount to sacrilege for me to question Kenny Dalglish’s judgement in the transfer market but nonetheless I have to do it. I know we’re only two games into the season but thus far, other than the last 20 minutes of yesterday’s game, I’ve not seen Liverpool play anywhere like they did in the latter half of last season. In both cases, Carroll was not playing for the most part. Carroll huffed and puffed and pushed and bundled his way through the game with precious little to show except another disallowed goal following another questionable attempt to win the ball.

The only time Liverpool really looked like they were going to get anything from the game was when Luis Suarez and Raul Meireless came into the fray. Was it simply down to the fact that Arsenal were down to 10 men? Was it really down to the fact that Arsenal lost arguably their best performer on the day in Emmanuel Frimpong? Was it pure coincidence that the two goals were born out of the efforts of the two aforementioned substitutes? None of those points are true. The only certain fact is that Liverpool continued to adopt the route-one method up until Suarez and Meireles came into the game. After this their approach was different, their passing improved, their movement improved, albeit against 10 men. It’s beyond argument that Liverpool do not play with as much purpose or flair when Carroll is in the side. Fair enough, the passing was a little better this week but the end product was again severely lacking.

Apart from the fact that Carroll looks incredibly laboured and slow, I’m yet to see him actually go past a player and create a decent chance without the predictable “knock-on”. As I said last week, Liverpool have to improve, and yesterday they did so immeasurably in the time it took for two players to leave the pitch and two to enter. Liverpool’s game took another dimension when we neglected the direct game and took a more considered approach, and I’m sure Dalglish will come to realise this as the season goes on. 

Let’s face it, if you send over £100m on players, it doesn’t follow that they’re all going to come good. Same goes that if you pay £35m for a player that also doesn’t define his future success or failure. Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up.

Speaking of hands up, this brings me onto the next great mystery. Why on earth did Sir Alex Ferguson sign David de Gea? In the same way that Andy Carroll is never going to be a John Toshack, David Gea is never going to be a Peter Schmeichel.  In the best case you have the same dimensions. Believe it or not, Schmeichel and De Gea are both the same height at 6ft 1in but after that, the similarity ends. Schmeichel was a huge presence in the United goal mouth and the impression was always that if you ever got past the defence, you’d have to get past Schmeichel which was a job in itself.

Schmeichel’s command of the area was also second to none and his positioning was only bettered, perhaps, by the Arsenal no. 1 David Seaman. I don’t see any of this in De Gea. Yes, he looks as if he’s a god shot-stopper, but for me, he doesn’t have the presence needed to intimidate attackers, to get that bit more out of his defence.  It’s generally accepted that goalkeepers mature later than outfield players and at 20 years of age, it’s certainly feasible that De Gea may never have the time to develop the talent he undoubtedly has. Schmeichel was 28 when signed for United so they probably got the best years out of him.

I’m not sure De Gea has the next four or five seasons to prove himself so it’s one hell of a big ask from Ferguson. Similarly David James went to Liverpool at the age of 22 and I personally believe he was a better goalie by the time he went to Aston Villa when he was near on 30. Ultimately as with all these things and all things Sir Alex Ferguson, time will tell, and the old Scot is rarely wrong when it comes to choosing a player. Let’s see if this turns out to be the next Peter Schmeichel, the next Mark Bosnich or the next Roy Carroll… Hold on, that last name sounds familiar!

Ben Green @Mrbengreen

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