You keep wanting to change the subject to be about GR. My comments were that that he did not inherit a mess. He inherited a surplus of riches - a bloated squad but with a core of very good players. It needed thinning out a bit.
i think GR has done some good things and has made some decisions which are less positive.
firstly, the change of formation. 4231 instead of 433. Something had to be done. The 433 relied on 3 good centre midfielders; two attacking, 1 holding. Once george was injured we struggled to find a natural replacement. Having sold hendrick, then bryson and hughes were a natural fit for the other positions. The no9 was isolated without on running midfielders. The two wide men were a luxury. They were permanently deployed in attack offering little cover for the full backs. The system suited Ince probably but the system had been rumbled and we needed a plan b. there was no natural role for vydra in 433.
4231 plays the wide men slightly deeper. There is only one central attacking midfielder / no10. There are now two holding midfielders giving extra protection to the back four. GR obviously wants defenders priority to be to defend so he ditched Christie for wisdom. With shackell unfit and Pearce slow, he decided that we needed a new partner for keogh and chose curtis davies from the available options. Fair enough. He made some tweaks but its a short term option. He needed to recruit holding midfielders and he selected another veteren in huddlestone. His ability to hit long balls changed the nature of our play from short passing to a more direct style. Until another club took butterfield we seemed financially too restricted to bring in the second natural holding player. After the 11th hour balls up with keith, we were forced to go for Ledley. This was what Ramage would call a good bad one. We sort of fluked finding the player who seemed to be the missing link and made it work. Even if it was a fluke, credit to GR. The only downside being that this is now three veterens signed and without a lot of mobility.
As for the more attacking three, GR was right to identify that we had a lot of potential no 10s. Hughes, bryson, vydra, ince.....etc. The most controversial move was to bin hughes and bryson. Whilst we all loved will hughes, gary was noticeably less enthusiastic. I think he saw hughes and bryson as too lightweight. He also concluded that a change was required. Vydra is quicker and younger than bryson. He will score more goals, but is less effective as a midfielder. So gary made his choice. Vydra. Now Hughes and bryson could go. Butterfield didn't fit anywhere. Its seems perverse that he couldn't accommodate a young talent like Hughes, and where David Davis was supposed to fit in i have no idea.
As for the wide players, he chose to sacrifice Ince. Maybe it was for financial reasons. Maybe it was for other reasons. Personally that doesn't bother me too much. Ince seemed to be less of a team player and occupied a luxury role in 433. Lawrence was the replacement. He is taking time to settle and his performances are hit and miss but thats ok. That is often what happens with new signings. They don't all gel immediately. Weimann has been his second lucky find. His pace and workrate seem to fit. Fair enough. Good management to recognise that and get the unexpected benefit from a player who otherwise seemed finished with us.
Finally the no9. Chris martin doesn't have the pace which GR values. He does have good link up play, and is finally getting one or two games. Garys preference is probably for nugent, and he links well with vydra. That was immediately apparent last season and it was strange that gary seemed to ditch it at one point. Winnall is a younger darren bent. Effective from close range but not offering enough to displace nugent or martin at the moment.
So....he has made his choices. They seem logical and rational given the change to 4231 but have left us with an ageing team and no natural midfielders. We are effective but we don't really control the game or play the short passing style which was associated with will hughes. Nevertheless our monotonous long ball game from earlier in the season does seem to be evolving into something a bit more attractive and pacy.
We occupy a higher league position than i expected and credit is due for achieving better results. We have gone for a set up and style which is closer to nigel pearson than schteve mcclaren and along with many others, i miss Hughes, bryson and martin. I like vydra and nugent.
Just not as much.
Thats my assessment of GR. Its not pro or anti. It is what it is.