Remember last week I told you about the weird things afoot at White Hart Lane? There was the very spooky picture of Jonathan Woodgate and Peter Crouch, the strange disappearance of David Bentley from this world into a different realm, not to mention the utter confusion Spurs fans must feel about their keeper Heurelho Gomes who seems to fluctuate between being the best goalkeeper in the world, and then the worst, within a matter of moments.
Well sadly all this has taken its toll on one of Tottenham’s talented players. Roman Pavlyuchenko, the Russian striker, has reportedly told his agent that while he is physically strong, able and capable of producing the goods. He feels that manager Harry Redknapp “doesn’t trust him” and that as a result he feels isolated due to the fact that Harry seems to prefer Keane, Defoe or Crouch in attack to the Russian. Pavlyuchenko’s agent Oleg Artemov stated, after the players poor performance in the Carling Cup this week;
“His poor performance recently is not due to a lack of match practice but psychological problems.
“Of course, not getting into the starting line-up, sitting on the bench is not good for any player.
“But Roman is much more affected by the feeling that the manager doesn’t trust him and prefers to use other forwards.”
Artemov went on to say that with the World Cup on the horizon, it would not be productive for Pavlyuchenko to sit on the bench for another six months and risk jeopardising his place in the squad, should Russia reach the finals one presumes.
On a more serious note, this is endemic of a problem that is going to rise to the fore with increasing frequency in my view. While it is all well and good for managers to state that they “need” four quality strikers for a season, what happens to the striker(s) who don’t play as often as they feel they should? Let’s face it, Pavlyuchenko is used to being first choice week in, week out. When that changes, it is very hard for the player to accept. We’ve seen players in the past move to ‘lesser’ clubs rather than be a continual substitute or bit part player at a ‘big’ club and I think for their professional future and international ambitions, players are going to have to really consider very carefully whether it is better to be earning a large sum of money and being fourth choice at a ‘big’ club, rather than earning a bit less and being first choice at one of the Premier League’s lesser lights.
Look at Michael Owen’s situation. Has his international ambitions been helped by joining United? He’s seldom played in any major games, only used as a substitute. He is in effect a member of United’s Carling Cup squad. Is that likely to alert Fabio Capello to his improved standing in the game? In contrast, there is Darren Bent. He went from Tottenham and being pretty much dismissed as a failure by Harry Redknapp, to join Sunderland where he has been in sensational form and must surely have caught the eye of the England manager. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Pavlyuchenko is a £14m striker who is capable of things like this;
Having a big squad is great if you are an international player who plays every week and is only rested for the lesser games. The problems come when you are an international player who doesn’t play every week and who only gets to play in the lesser games. That wouldn’t cause me any lasting psychological problems as such,but it would drive me mental.
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