Thursday, June 02, 2016

Tony Capaldi

I’m using Tony Capaldi here as an example here to make a wider point.

Tony Capaldi was once our left back. He didn’t ever really set the world alight but at our level he was steady and that was about as much praise as you could put his way. He wasn’t especially quick and he wasn’t great in the tackle. When it came to heading the ball he was basically weak. He was accursed by his natural body language too: his round shouldered loping up and down the pitch didn’t ever look like he was 100% going for it even though he probably was. His right foot was, let’s be honest, as weak as his heading.

So they are the negatives. There were positives too. He was pretty cool under pressure. His left foot was very good. His first touch was good. He played shape exceptionally well and could offer himself as a long-thrower at throw-ins.

After leaving us he played most of his football at a decent level with Cardiff and Leeds while we simply headed south.

He was never much of a crowd favourite despite winning over 20 caps for N Ireland while he was with us to make him our most-capped ever player.

So what do we want from a left back? Speed! Obviously. Tackles like a man possessed. Yep – that too. Got to be able to defend back post crosses and cover out-of-position centre backs so needs to be good in the air. He’s got to be able to offer width going forward and get a cross in. Maybe take corners? Will need a good engine to get back after foraging forward. Ideally have an eye for goal, a shot like Hotshot Hamish and maybe take free licks. Good first touch essential just because it is and a cool head too – we don’t want him getting sent off every week, do we?

So why doesn’t such a player play for Argyle? That’s because, if he exists at all, he’s far, far too good to play at our level! A player that ticks those boxes will be a PL player. Maybe even get recruited into Barcelona or Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

All of the players we have are the best we can field with what we have. They are all limited in some way. They’ll all make mistakes. Quite simply we have to live with this because the perfect left back doesn’t exist and if he did he wouldn’t be playing for us.

As long as he is trying his best that is all we can ask. After that it is the manager’s fault for picking him or for squandering his budget or the chairman’s fault for setting a budget too tight to enable the signing of a decent player in that position.

So let’s not pick on Tony Capaldi, eh?