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Thread: 2022 report card

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    2022 report card

    We've known for a while that our squad has been on the decline for a number of years, and that we need a new generation to really come through to change that. At international level it was a fairly poor year, two Obafemi wonder-goals apart. But that got me looking at how things were going at club level too - and I think it's probably fair to say it's been a very disappointing year in terms of players kicking on?

    Obviously a lot of the guys are still young and improving, but this is only looking at their 2022 development.

    Keepers - Kelleher does still look a decent keeper, but he's played six club games all year and that's not enough. Looks no closer to going on loan. Travers became a surprise Premier League starter, but was dropped after conceding nine, and though injury has him back in the starting XI, he's shipped two a game since then, while Neto was only conceding one a game. I know that's a very simplistic view of it, but it's still hard to see him keeping his place when Neto comes back from injury next month. Bazunu also got his Premier move, and I think leaving City was absolutely the right thing to do, but his problems are also well-documented and it may be injury to McCarthy that's keeping him in the team at the moment. Looks unlikely to be a Premier League keeper next year given how bad Southampton are.

    Kieran O'Hara is now in and out of a Colchester side battling to stay in the league, and the only positive really is Max O'Leary taking over as Bristol City number 1 lately. Overall, a poor year for our keepers I think.

    Full-backs - The 30+ group (McClean, Doherty, Coleman, Brady, Stevens) are a year older and still don't appear to have any real competition in the senior setup, and Stevens seems to be the first of the group to be on the way out. The O'Dowda experiment wasn't bad and may be an option, but his teammate Bagan has been injured all season after a breakthrough year last year. I still don't understand why Manning and Cunningham (admittedly 31 now) are overlooked. Ebosele has gone from Championship regular to token minutes in Serie A - a good level, but I'd rather players were getting games tbh. Scales - a wing-back at Celtic - has effectively not made the grade there. From the 21s, Adaramola went on loan to Coventry but was quickly recalled when he wasn't making the squad, which isn't great.

    This is nearing crisis point.

    Centre-back - Shane Duffy's move to Fulham has been an unmitigated disaster. Omobamidele spent much of the year injured and is struggling to get his place back since returning (one start and three unused sub appearances). Collins seems to be having a bumpy second Premier League campaign. Mark McGuiness from the 21s has dropped a division, from regular games for Cardiff to Sheffield Wednesday this year.

    Darragh Lenihan left Blackburn for Middlesbrough but it's Blackburn who are challenging for promotion this year (though Middlesbrough beat them during the week at least and are fast catching up), and Jimmy Dunne is established as a Championship regular at QPR; I don't understand why Scales is called up ahead of either of these to be honest. John Egan is maybe having the best season, well on the way to promotion, while if Dara O'Shea starts on Tuesday he'll have started as many league games (26) as in any other season in his career so far, and that was with Exeter.

    Probably our strongest position, but would be happier if Collins and Omobamidele were kicking on more than they are.

    Midfield - Cullen probably the most positive development of any Irish player this year - maybe the Championship isn't much of a step up from the Belgian top flight, but promotion would be a great season of course. Smallbone has broken into senior football and is a Stoke regular, so another positive there. Molumby is in the WBA team more often than not, though he was a Championship regular three years ago too. Hendrick is an ever-present too in fairness to him, after a couple of ropey moves (and you could say the same about Hourihane!). Luca Connell is in a promotion push too in his first real season in a professional league.

    On the downside, Knight stayed at Derby post-relegation, while McGrath's move to Wigan didn't work out and he's now back battling relegation in the SPL and Conor Coventry seems to be going nowhere fast. Good to see Hodge getting some games for Wolves after a bad injury last year, though Connor Ronan probably needs to move on from the same club I think.

    Too often lately we've had big holes in the centre of the park and maybe the best developments have been here this year.

    Forwards - Where to start? Obafemi made a spectacular breakthrough but may already have gone off the rails entirely. Connolly almost certainly has. Idah spent most of the year on the sidelines. Parrott moved back up to the Championship but hasn't shown he's any more able for it, and has been injured the last two months of course. Ferguson has made a senior debut (and has a senior goal) - great stuff for a guy just gone 18, though I think he's still a way off being a real option for us; Obafemi, Idah and Connolly had all done the same, but that was a couple of years ago now.

    Georgie Kelly keeps getting injured when it looks like he might be making progress. Hogan and Keane may be our best forwards at the moment despite no goals in 16 caps. Ogbene is doing well at Rotherham but seems out of favour at international level lately. Hamilton is a sub option now for Blackpool who are looking at relegation from the Championship; he could be a one-cap (not so) wonder I think.

    We don't look any closer to solving our problems here, sadly.

    Overall - the main positives I think are Cullen, Keane and Smallbone. Maybe Hodge and Connell. That's slim pickings. It's been a bad year for pretty much all our forwards, and arguably all our keepers.

    Again, a lot of these guys are young and have time on their sides, but there's plenty of players who - through form, attitude or bad luck with injuries - haven't reached where this time last year we'd maybe have thought they might have.

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    Quality post, thanks Pineapple. Gotta say I agree with all of it. It’s been a bad year. Not sure if 2023 will be any better, but here’s hoping a few younger players make major (consistent) breakthroughs! Happy New Year to all the forum participants and the mods

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    A sobering review of the pool available to S Kenny, or anyone else who wants to take on the job of national team manager. Just a few comments:

    Goalkeepers: Is Jack Bonham (6' 4", 27 appearances for Stoke in the last season and a half) still eligible and interested?

    Defenders: Clark is having an 'Indian Summer' at Sheffield Utd. Cyrus Christie seems to be doing well at Hull, and Sean McLoughlin seems to be getting a run of games at CH with them too. And Danny McNamara at Millwall?

    Midfield: For some reason, Josh Knight is no longer an automatic choice at Derby Co. (I was surprised to see him described as a 'Defender-Centre-back on the Transfermatkt site). Alan Browne can't be overlooked, given that the Republic is really a Championship-level team these days.

    Forwards: Ronan Curtis hasn't played 90 minutes - in League One - since the end of July. Another 'Next Great Thing', Sean Maguire, seems blighted by injuries. I have noticed him (on Quest TV's highlights) making several excellent through passes from midfield positions. Perhaps he could paly a cameo or two from there? Indeed, I could say the same of Robinson. Cannon may yet prove to have more of a killer instinct than Parrott.

    A Happy New Year to all Foot.ie moderators, contributors and readers. May it be the triumph of Hope over Experience!
    Last edited by Demesne Lad; 31/12/2022 at 2:45 PM.

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    It's easy to forget now, but the first half of the year was actually very encouraging in terms of the development of our younger players. Bazunu was flying at Portsmouth, Travers was flying at Bournemouth, Parrott and Coventry at MK Dons, Obafemi at Swansea, Ebosele at Derby. Collins was nominated for EPL player of the month at Burnley. Ferguson was the youngest player to play in the Premier League last season.

    Unfortunately the first half of this season has been an absolute disaster though, pretty much every player mentioned in the previous paragraph has either stalled or gone backwards. The two Premier League clubs we'd have most wanted to go well - Wolves and Southampton - have both struggled badly and Collins and Bazunu have been at the centre of their struggles.

    Hopefully things will turn back around in the new year, as it couldn't have gone much worse in the last 6 months.

  7. #5
    BANNED FOR AWFUL JOKES
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    It has been mixed.

    Keepers:

    Bazunu got his move to a premier league team and become a regular. Some ropey moments of late. Kelleher may not get many games yet he seems to be developing, looks solid now. And Travers getting premier league games but a few dodgy games. Overall positive on the keeper front.

    Defenders:

    Doherty looks like he's regained his place in the Spurs starting 11 but he's in and out. Collins gets a premier league move but some mixed displays. Egan looks like he may make a return to the premier league. O'Shea has been impressive for West Brom and McClean regular left back and has done well. A few players coming back from injury too. Overall positive.

    Midfield:

    Cullen looks like he'll get promoted, excellent season. Molumby may have gained a starting role but has been up and down. Hendrick getting regular games for Reading. O'Dowda has been impressive this season, definitely a starting option. Knight has gone backwards. Minor breakthrough for Hodge. Smallbone a definite positive. Overall I'd say just about positive.

    Forwards:

    Obemfami had a good year but seems to have spoiled it recently. Parrott needs goals, unlucky to be injured. Hogan and Keane positives but not sure if they can make it at international level. Idah recovering from injury and getting back into regular games. Ogbene has had a great year. A few youngsters like Cannon, Vata, Ferguson looking lively but still a bit off a breakthrough. Overall negative I would say.

    We were hoping for more players getting regular games and pushing on. Has been disappointing in places but looking at our starting 11 under Kenny, overall you have to say it's been a positive year.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirambler View Post
    It's easy to forget now, but the first half of the year was actually very encouraging in terms of the development of our younger players. Bazunu was flying at Portsmouth, Travers was flying at Bournemouth, Parrott and Coventry at MK Dons, Obafemi at Swansea, Ebosele at Derby. Collins was nominated for EPL player of the month at Burnley. Ferguson was the youngest player to play in the Premier League last season.

    Unfortunately the first half of this season has been an absolute disaster though, pretty much every player mentioned in the previous paragraph has either stalled or gone backwards. The two Premier League clubs we'd have most wanted to go well - Wolves and Southampton - have both struggled badly and Collins and Bazunu have been at the centre of their struggles.

    Hopefully things will turn back around in the new year, as it couldn't have gone much worse in the last 6 months.
    Has Collins really been centre of Wolves struggles? I've no opinion either way, but I thought he looked very good against United though I think he might have been able to get a toe to the ball early in Rashford's run on goal when he scored. His fellow CB looked good too.

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    Just meant it in the sense that he's been a regular starter for them all season, so it's not like he's a squad player or a backup waiting for a chance - he's been there all season throughout their struggles, except for the games he missed with his stupid sending off. But I accept that Wolves have bigger issues than Collins, I wasn't saying he was the root cause of their problems or anything like that.

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  11. #8
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    Collins didn't have many PL minutes prior to the start of 2022. He really only started to get into the Burnley team in the first half of 2022, and the second half has seen him become a PL regular with Wolves. If you also consider that he established himself as an automatic pick for the seniors in 2022, 2022 has been a huge year for him.

  12. #9
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    One little bit of optimism: a lot of the "is struggling" types are in that position precisely because they're starting at a higher level than before. That might not feel like a positive, but it isn't a big negative either.
    Just accept it: 2022 is going to suck.

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    Yeah all fair. Might be a bit overly optimistic on Smallbones progress though. Reading the Stoke fans opinion of him is sobering enough....Scales to be fair is doing ok at CB for Aberdeen. Not the level we'd hope but maybe the right level for him for now. Still not a serious starting option but if you take Celtic out of the equation he has at least gone up in terms of leagues.

    John83 has a good point too though, some of them have gone up a level or are at least playing more which is a positive.

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