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Or crude long term investment?

King George VII, Ser Thorne himself.

I've been a massive heterosexual fan of him since he broke into the first team 2 1/2 years ago and I have been full of despair when he's been out ever since.

We could never build the team around him now, not unless he suddenly becomes as fit as Keogh but whenever he is fit, he is one of the most sublime players I have ever seen at this club.

CDM is a pivotal role in the way we'd "like" to play. GT is perhaps the epitome of CDM. The question is:

Do we truly have a replacement CDM without him? We struggled with Mascarell and I've still not seen a single player fulfill that role competently be it Mascarell, Hughes, Johnson et al.

Do we have a way of playing, a shape to play to or even the players to play (in a 4-3-3 with CDM) without a fully fit George? If not, how do we play with the players that we do have?

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Thorne is a massive loss for this team and a super player, don't get me wrong. Essentially though, and from viewing the video again, all we really need is a defensive midfielder who can get the ball and pass it forward quickly 9 times out of 10. This will then push the whole team further forward as the attacking midfielders and wingers will start to run forward knowing they will get the ball, rather than having to track back to try and get it from our CDM who is currently playing keep ball with the centre halves.... 

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Mascarell was actually pretty good. The only issue I ever had with him is that he didn't deserve a starting place in front of Eustace, but that speaks more about what an excellent job I thought Eustace did than any shortcomings on Mascarell's part. We were still well in the mix for automatic promotion with Mascarell as our starting DM and that season only well and truly collapsed when he, our third and final remaining specialist DM, succumbed to our injury curse.

The problem since that season is that we've never set out to buy adequate cover for Thorne. Both managers in charge during the following summer transfer windows wanted to move away from the system requiring such a specialised player. Clement clearly intended to play a midfield diamond and we know all too well about Pearson's rigid 4-4-2. Johnson has done well to deputise in the role, but it obviously isn't a long term solution. It remains to be seen if McClaren wants to stick with the 4-3-3, but if he does I fully expect him to bring in a proper DM to compete with Thorne for the shirt.

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I think our issue is that when he's fit he can be the physical brute of Johnson with the ball playing skills of de Sart. One of those two on their own don't really replace him. A player like him, who can give us the defensive platform whilst still dictating our tempo, is now probably going to cost north of £10m. Players who aren't even close to being on the same level have done.

I think what this means is that in his absence the '4-3-3' as we know it will never be quite as it should be. A little bit of flexibility is required and whilst I'm loathe to put systems into numbers, we'd be as well to start off games on paper with more of a '4-2-3-1' with that 2 essentially being there to do the jobs George does between them. Gives us less flexibility going forward but if we want to truly replace him I think it's more viable than going out and signing someone.

Please get fit George :(

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A couple balls from de sart against Cardiff were thornesque but he doesn't have the physicality or consistency of Thorne and Johnson is great at shielding the back two particularly when the opposition are launching long balls at us but his passing is largely woeful. What Thorne gives you is that transition which is so important. I agree with the poster who suggested 4231 as a current formation as with de sart we are too open and Johnson we lack the ability to switch defence into attack. But I think you'd have to look far and wide for a derby fan who thinks that George Thorne doesn't improve our team significantly

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1 hour ago, nottingram said:

I think our issue is that when he's fit he can be the physical brute of Johnson with the ball playing skills of de Sart. One of those two on their own don't really replace him. A player like him, who can give us the defensive platform whilst still dictating our tempo, is now probably going to cost north of £10m. Players who aren't even close to being on the same level have done.

I think what this means is that in his absence the '4-3-3' as we know it will never be quite as it should be. A little bit of flexibility is required and whilst I'm loathe to put systems into numbers, we'd be as well to start off games on paper with more of a '4-2-3-1' with that 2 essentially being there to do the jobs George does between them. Gives us less flexibility going forward but if we want to truly replace him I think it's more viable than going out and signing someone.

Please get fit George :(

On the side, if Mel did give Mac £10m to spend on a DM who possess strength and passing ability, who would you pick? Who is actually out there, as I'm struggling to think of any? 

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4 minutes ago, r_wilcockson said:

On the side, if Mel did give Mac £10m to spend on a DM who possess strength and passing ability, who would you pick? Who is actually out there, as I'm struggling to think of any? 

If I knew the answer to that I'd probably be more qualified than our recruitment team ;)

Certainly within England I don't think there's anyone we could realistically pick up who even comes close to GT. Looking at the best defensive minded midfielders at this level over the last few years, I'm not sure there's any with his skill set. 

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I make no secret of how much I rate Thorne, he's irreplaceable at this level IMO. I still to this day don't know how we managed to get him off West Brom for such a low fee, he's the complete defensive midfield general- distributes the ball with ease, has incredible vision and he reads the game so well, and that's not even mentioning what he brings to the side in terms of leadership.

Missing him has been our biggest problem in recent times imo, it's too difficult to get a player who has the all round ability that he has. That being said, I rate de sart and I think he's the closest thing we're gonna be able to get to him until he's back. At this stage I'm not too concerned about his injury issues, the two acls have been crucially in different knees, and the broken leg could've happened to anyone- it was a disgraceful challenge.

I genuinely believe that a fully fit Thorne is one of the best English defensive midfielders and would be in the England team by now if it weren't for his injuries. I just hope for his sake and ours that he manages a full season next year with Hughes, because if they do we'll go up imo

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1 hour ago, nottingram said:

If I knew the answer to that I'd probably be more qualified than our recruitment team ;)

Certainly within England I don't think there's anyone we could realistically pick up who even comes close to GT. Looking at the best defensive minded midfielders at this level over the last few years, I'm not sure there's any with his skill set. 

Shows you what an absolute steal he was at £2.5m.original.jpg

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An on-song and fit Thorne is a huge miss for us. We also miss an on-song Hughes right now. His display against Cardiff was the worst I've seen this season, looked awful. De Sart impresses me at times but he's very raw right now. I felt Butterfield was our best player in both the last two games but he can't score anymore. And most of this forum seem to want rid of him. Bryson has brief moments when he's actually fit. And Johnson isn't everyone's cup of tea either. So it's painfully clear we are struggling in midfield this year. 

 

A return of Thorne next season and hopefully Martin and I honestly feel we'd be much, much better. They've been big losses. It's a team game and right now we don't look a fully functioning unit. For whatever reason. 

 

Trust in Mac to sort it out, be that now or in the summer. Looking forward to Tuesday and seeing if we can get something to click. 

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George Thorne for me, when fully fit is clearly the best defensive mid in the championship without a doubt (probably one of the better ones in the premier league too!) so in terms of actually replacing him it would be so difficult. I think our best chance would to be to take a punt at some lower league players to try keep costs down, but everyone knows how notoriously hit and miss that policy can be. I'd just like to see a season of a fully fit Thorne, Martin and Hughes! 

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6 minutes ago, Andicis said:

George Thorne for me, when fully fit is clearly the best defensive mid in the championship without a doubt (probably one of the better ones in the premier league too!) so in terms of actually replacing him it would be so difficult. I think our best chance would to be to take a punt at some lower league players to try keep costs down, but everyone knows how notoriously hit and miss that policy can be. I'd just like to see a season of a fully fit Thorne, Martin and Hughes! 

Me too. Next season hopefully. :p

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1 minute ago, cosmic said:

Leicester's decline without Kanté this season shows just how important that "quarter-back" role is, but also how dangerous it can be to build a team or style of play that relies so heavily on that role.

We'd do well to remember this when cooing over Thorne. 

Definitely an interesting thought, but how much of Leicester's decline would you think is due to Kante leaving? I'm sure that him leaving made Leicester worse, but I would cite motivation being Leicester's biggest problem - I'd back that up by saying that have (so far - probably will change in the week) been doing quite well in the champions league. I do think though that you're right i.e. Thorne, I doubt we'll ever seen him fully fit again, sadly.

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Thorne is a special player, equally as good if not better than Hughes and Ince. We definitely need someone to cover, but finding a player of that quality again is tough.

He was always guaranteed to make the most touches, the most tackles, the most interceptions, the most passes with a very high percentage of success on the pitch. 

The game almost revolved around him and as good as Hughes is, he doesn't even come close to having that presence on the pitch. It'll be good to get him back, but I'm still not convinced it will be long before he's out again.

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I do wonder whether we'll ever see George achieve what he might have had he remained injury-free. The worry is that even if we can get him back, would he have the heart to undergo another phase of long term recuperation and physio were he to be blighted again? It's a big ask. Clearly the lad's got strength of character by the bucket load but even he must have his limits.

On a brighter note, if he does return and we can get the best part of a season with an in-form Keogh and Pearce, George, WIll and Chris as the spine of the team, we'd surely be there or thereabouts? Here's hoping...

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