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Reaping the rewards of sticking with players.


Mostyn6
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For most of this calendar year, many a Derby fan has found it easy to dismiss the ability of several of our Derby players.

Many threads popped up about getting rid of certain players as they were rubbish, not up to it, bottlers, overpaid prima-donnas etc.

What the last few weeks should have shown fans, as it did at the end of 2013, is that many players need to be properly coached before they put out 8/10 performances week-in week-out.

It was only a couple of months ago that Bradley Johnson, Jacob Butterfield, Tom Ince, Darren Bent, and for me, Will Hughes, were having little or no positive influence on the game. I would now go as far to say that the last 4-5 games, the man of the match has come from that mini-list of players.

We all know fans are fickle, but how many of us admit to being fickle ourselves? I can admit that I wanted more out of Hughes, and felt he, as now, was hitting the performance levels of his team-mates, but at that time, below-average performances, however, he escaped any criticism from the masses whilst the others were on the 'deadwood' list.

Bradley Johnson and Jacob Butterfield have done amazing to play themselves into form, and right now, BOTH look vital for the team. I didn't see Johnson playing to this level last year when he joined, and Butterfield never seemed match-fit until a couple of weeks ago. As these two have never enjoyed this type of form as Derby players, I appreciate their improvements massively.

With Ince, he's been a star for us on-and-off since arriving, so we knew the form was there somewhere, and so did he, but nonetheless, he looked broken and bewildered only a few weeks back.

Bent hardly had a sniff under Clement, Wassall and Pearson, so to become an important player, keeping our record signing out of the starting eleven, tells it's own story.

The defence was never easy to pick fault with before this mini-surge up the table, but it did occasionally look shaky, and although Rotherham posed little to no threat on Saturday, I thought Keogh actually looked composed for the most part, he stayed on his feet a few times when he's normally dive in, and aside of the air-swipe that allowed the ball under his foot, he didn't put a touch wrong.

So, what next? I am worried by Johnny Russell's form. He scored a lovely goal vs Dirty Leeds, and many would have thought he'd have kicked on, but sadly, the rest of the team have left him behind in quality and performance. That's not to say he isn't trying hard, but it seems to me his natural instincts have deserted him. Regularly on his heels and slow to react in recent game, his first touch on Saturday was Connor Sammon-esque, and he tripped over the ball almost every time he dribbled!

I hope he plays himself into form pretty quickly, cos if he doesn't, Weimann could get in, and one thing we know about SMc is that he'll stick with winning teams if they are performing well.

I've rattled on, but wanted to say there's value in sticking with certain players if you know they're better than they are showing, and some people should be quietly humbled by the performances of those that were so easily written off as useless only a few weeks ago. 

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I was wrong about Pearce, Johnson and Bent seemingly. Johnson most of all, I said at the start of the season I'd let him go for nothing. Write him off as a failed transfer and shift him. There was a point where it seemed he'd never play for us again earlier this season too. 

I have to say though, I knew that my comments would come back to bite me - that's why I said them! Delighted that he's proving me wrong. Currently tucking in to a delicious slice of humble pie. 

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18 minutes ago, cannable said:

I think Russell may struggle without Martin. Nineteen of his 56 goals and assists for us have directly involved Martin. They had a rather good partnership - usually Russell running into space and either cutting it back for Martin or being set up by him. 

The one in this match is up there with my favourites at Pride Park.

 

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Great thread for expressing musings @Mostyn6 and confessing our sins !

I've always been a bit happy clappy, even in Pearson's time I kept thinking they'd click and get with the system but something clearly went deeper than just formation. Hughes I never doubted. Even with Pearson his quality shone through despite the lack of product/results. Johnson had a dip under Clement and never recovered until "regime change"  he is actually very versatile and can play DM or CM or AM and we are seeing that now. (please please Bradly score on Saturday .. I'd love it for us and for you too ! )

Johnny .. is a mystery to me .. some games I love his directness and the way his energy unsettles opponents. Then just as I am falling in love, his touch deserts him in mega fashion. I want him off the pitch... 2 games later he's back and hitting stonking shots in to the top corner and causing mayhem again.

I am fickle with JR and with Cyrus .. both a very big form players.

With the others less so. When it goes wrong for them I always seem to think it is more likely to be down to our set up or the skill of the opposition. Bent is fascinating .. I have always respected him but thought he was on a gentle downward spiral due to advancing years. Couldn't get narky because he is so obviously skilled but he has been a revalation. At the moment it looks like we have a top striker with a year or two before time really does catch up.

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Personally I've not written any players off ability wise , I have questioned attitude , work ethic and consistency though and I think fans can rightly be a little pissed with the players pre macs return , that said its water under the bridge and time to move on ,,, I think we can pretty much see that Mac can get this group back ish to where they were first time around ,the big question is can they go beyond what we had last time and achieve promotion ? It's a good question that can only be answered in the fullness of time and the red hot heat of having to produce the results when it really counts to get us over the line , that test will ultimately include Steve Mac every bit as much as the players ,,, for now I'm happy to see us getting ready for that test with good football that is putting a smile on the faces of fans and players alike

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1 hour ago, jono said:

Johnny .. is a mystery to me .. some games I love his directness and the way his energy unsettles opponents. Then just as I am falling in love, his touch deserts him in mega fashion. I want him off the pitch... 2 games later he's back and hitting stonking shots in to the top corner and causing mayhem again.

 

Exactly my thoughts. I wonder if he relies so much on his physicality that even a slight injury or tiredness causes a serious deterioration.

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7 minutes ago, ck- said:

Exactly my thoughts. I wonder if he relies so much on his physicality that even a slight injury or tiredness causes a serious deterioration.

There could be something in that. Latter part of the game on Saturday he looked lost, still trying but directionless and mistake prone, but I love the way the fans love him. I don't think any other player has the personal rapport with the fans that supper Johnny has. Only Will and GT get close. 

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3 hours ago, jono said:

There could be something in that. Latter part of the game on Saturday he looked lost, still trying but directionless and mistake prone, but I love the way the fans love him. I don't think any other player has the personal rapport with the fans that supper Johnny has. Only Will and GT get close. 

In an ideal world all players would get the support Johnny does, but sadley that's not the case.

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19 hours ago, PodgeyRam said:

In an ideal world all players would get the support Johnny does, but sadley that's not the case.

In an ideal world even fat birds,,,,,,,,,,,,, no stop it  ,, you know what I mean ,life's not like that

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