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Dolly Potter MD

Serie A & I.N.T. Fullbacks: A protected species.

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From a defensive standpoint they are imo ie. Serie A & Italian representatives/I.N.T.s.

 

Structurally Serie A and I.N.T. outfields (from the first defensive line to back four) play to a very compressed shape. They play 'wide', from left-to-right but they cut the length of the pitch considerably more than other national teams. This difference also applies to Serie A outfits. It's a trait, or football ideology, which is infused within Italian football. Particularly from a player & team perspective, where little defensive tinkering is required (especially for an new/incoming manager) during the early stages of their own team building, even for a noted defensive genius & foreign manager in Mourinho.

 

Serie A outfits are forever cautious in attack, they generally don't commit extra numbers going forward. On a turn-over the transition from attack to defensive duties is swift. Very rarely do you see an Italian side exposed (with exploitable space behind the backtracking & defending forwards/attackers) themselves to the counter. This plays a big part in what you could describe as the atypical Italian-style & patient build-up play ie. long sequences of pin-point where they are forced to precisely forge their way through each settled defensive line.

 

When you take into account the aforementioned team shape & attacking tempo, as significant factors in open play, fullbacks have a comparatively easier ride than that of their peers. Especially over (in England) where counter attacking sides will utilise the wide spaces early in transitional phase play, where fullbacks are most vulnerable to one-on-one pressure. English league, due to a combination of football culture and depth 'wide attacking talent', are exposed to relentless one-on-one pressure on a weekly or match-to-match basis. That said the trade of an EPL fullback is the toughest gig in European football, as defensive jobs go.

 

This is in stark contrast to Italian/Serie A football. The attacking threats posed to each counterpart couldn't be any more different. The biggest threat posed to a Serie A f/back lies in a central-midfield playmaker's (with vision, to match technical excellence/passing range) ability to spot a hole in an otherwise compressed defensive phalanx & being able to kill the fullback with the switch-up 'killer ball' in behind the ball. Take the attacking execution out of the equation this threat comes down to a f/back contributing to his downfall ie. drifting inside. Within the confines of an Italian defensive phalanx, providing they maintain their positional discipline, there's little exploitable space for the widemen and it's smooth sailing for the F/back.

 

This, the vast chasm in our respective football cultures, is notable intangible in terms of whether Santon can adapt. C.Ronaldo, who has faced him, was impressed, but the defensive set-up faced by Ronaldo (compared with English league) is an altogether different beast & playing field. A match-up versus C.Ronaldo (or any ball-carrying wideman close to his ability) within the confines of EPL football (without the aforementioned security blanket provided, as per Italian football) is the ultimate yardstick for any promising f/back looking to forge a reputation in the game.

 

Pistone likewise arrived here with the reputation of a supremely promising and elegant ball-playing f/back. It's a while ago now, wasn't there fan fare like 'the next Maldini'. Ultimately though Piston was unable bridge that football gap, away from Italy, without his accustomed defensive security blanket. Elegant looking defender he looked, but his newfound defensive responsibilities were an entirely different kettle of fish, and he crumbled under the pressure of having his opposite number constantly going for his jugular in open space. The same applies to his days at Everton.

 

A key Santon bridging this significant gap is that he needs to hit the ground running. He needs to be comfortable in his play, in both defense and attacking aspects. The lad has a reputation for being mentally fragile, a bit of a bi-polar footballer of sorts ie. he either looks a world beater and has a supremely confident swagger about him, or he is unsure of himself and falls apart. The last thing you want is a lad with sort of psychological make-up being unsure of their in the team. This exactly what happened under Mourinho, where the lad won the RB slot but the The Special One (normally a great developer of defensive talent) refined his role as a utility man within his defensive ranks. Pardew reinstating him to his natural position, where the lad is confident where it is said that he has a swagger about him when employed there, will go halfway to having the kid adapt. The other half being whether the kid has heart & mental backbone, to accompany his physical attributes, needed to cope with what is imo one of toughest football-based playing transitions in European club football. Italian football to the 'open expanses of English football where you are much more accountable & exposed one-on-one' is the football equivalent of a juvenile lion having to leave the safety of his mother's pride, to fight his own battles on the open plains.

 

If the lad isn't cut from the same cloth as Pistone, in that he develops some mental toughness to his repertoire, then Wor Mike has a 15m cash windfall waiting in the wings.

Edited by Year Zero

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Interesting. I've not watched all that much Serie A. The pace is too slow for me to sit through, generally.

 

I think Santon will benefit from Jonas' tendency to track back in defense and hopefully this will help him adjust quickly to having fullbacks bombing forward and forwards drifting out wide as they do in the EPL.

 

I'm not going to pretend that I understand what Santon would have to do to adjust but hopefully he can manage it. This is where having a manager with a bit of nous would come in handy. Pity.

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Got a feeling Santon will be excellent for us, and then as YZ states: "Wor Mike has a 15m cash windfall waiting in the wings."

 

Be astonished to see a full back go for £21 million but I suppose it's not entirely impossible. Ultimately, if/when he goes I think it'll simply be because he's offered more wages.

 

The Carroll transfer and refusal to replace him still looms large (and is an absolute disgrace), but I think we're getting a bit unrealistic in supposing that every foreign recruit that comes good will become a £15-20 million Ashley transfer dividend. That seems to be the assumption, but Enrique his predecessor ultimately went for nish in terms of net gain.

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Got a feeling Santon will be excellent for us, and then as YZ states: "Wor Mike has a 15m cash windfall waiting in the wings."

 

Be astonished to see a full back go for £21 million but I suppose it's not entirely impossible. Ultimately, if/when he goes I think it'll simply be because he's offered more wages.

 

The Carroll transfer and refusal to replace him still looms large (and is an absolute disgrace), but I think we're getting a bit unrealistic in supposing that every foreign recruit that comes good will become a £15-20 million Ashley transfer dividend. That seems to be the assumption, but Enrique his predecessor ultimately went for nish in terms of net gain.

 

One has to go by the premise that Santon is a mega-talent who has really lost his way, due to a combination of poor management and his own temperament. That seems to be the consensus about the lad. In the event of us retaining our PL status over the next two years, if the lad can live up to the hype previously bestowed on him, i think you're looking at that sort of resale value ie. Moved on for a 15-2Om sort of figure. Especially for a player, in the early phase of a five year contract, who displays rapid development on the pitch in the early going.

 

This didn't happen in Enrique's case hereby his resale value (or windfall) is in stark contrast. His first three years were a virtual write-off, if you look at it from a 'feeder club' viewpoint. Poor management (Big Sam) in the form of his anti-football tactics, and B.Sam used to blast him for playing his way out of defense. Enrique's confidence, amidst the aforementioned man-management and playing style (and he could've turned it around sooner if KK survived the politics at the top) over a large chunk of his first two years here, was shot. Factor relegation into the equation, where he spent another year in the wilderness as his contract ticked on further, and it's easy to draw a line between both scenarios. By that i mean Enrique 'the late bloomer' whom the club's ownership would eventually make bugger all from when he was offloaded, versus that of a 'mega-talent come good' in the form of Santon. For a feeder/selling club, in terms of maximizing resale value, Enrique's pathway here (and related progression) painted that of a nightmare scenario for Ashley.

 

From a purely business perspective where the long-term football brand runs a distant second to the state of the balance sheets (the debt payback) this is what Ashley is banking on ie. wayward talents coming good and quickly. IMO the purchase of HBA, or the motive behind, falls into the same bracket as Santon.

 

Anyway, apart from one brief soundbite in the OP, it was a football related, purely aimed at whether the lad would make it or not. My intention wasn't to fire off another broadside attack against the club's ownership, while taking another thread into familiar 'Ashley Territory'.

 

If it wasn't my prehistoric/shite-house phone, where the forum's control panel is pretty much unusable, I'd post a 'raspberry' like.

Edited by Year Zero

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Got a feeling Santon will be excellent for us, and then as YZ states: "Wor Mike has a 15m cash windfall waiting in the wings."

 

Be astonished to see a full back go for £21 million but I suppose it's not entirely impossible. Ultimately, if/when he goes I think it'll simply be because he's offered more wages.

 

The Carroll transfer and refusal to replace him still looms large (and is an absolute disgrace), but I think we're getting a bit unrealistic in supposing that every foreign recruit that comes good will become a £15-20 million Ashley transfer dividend. That seems to be the assumption, but Enrique his predecessor ultimately went for nish in terms of net gain.

 

One has to go by the premise that Santon is a mega-talent who has really lost his way, due to poor management and his own temperament. That seems to be the consensus about the lad. In the event of us retaining our PL status over the next two years, if the lad can live up to the hype previously bestowed on him, i think you're looking at that sort of resale value ie. 15-2Om. Especially for a player, in the early phase of a five year contract, who displays rapid development on the pitch in the early going.

 

This didn't happen in Enrique's case hereby his resale value (or windfall) is in stark contrast. His first three years were a virtual write-off, if you look at it from a 'feeder club' viewpoint. Poor management (Big Sam) in the form of his anti-football tactics, and B.Sam used to blast him for playing his way out of defense. Enrique's confidence, amidst the aforementioned man-management and playing style (and he could've turned it around sooner if KK survived the politics at the top) over a large chunk of his first two years here, was shot. Factor relegation into the equation, where he spent another year in the wilderness as his contract ticked on further, and it's easy to draw a line between both scenarios. By that i mean Enrique 'the late bloomer' whom the club's ownership would eventually make bugger all from when he was offloaded, versus that of a 'mega-talent come good' in the form of Santon. For a feeder/selling club, in terms of maximizing resale value, Enrique's pathway here (and related progression) painted that of a nightmare for Ashley.

 

From a purely business perspective where the long-term football brand runs a distant second to the state of the balance sheets (the debt payback) this is what Ashley is banking on ie. wayward talents coming good and quickly. IMO the purchase of HBA, or the motive behind, falls into the same bracket as Santon.

 

Anyway, apart from one brief soundbite in the OP, it was a football related, purely aimed at whether the lad would make it or not. My intention wasn't to fire off another broadside attack against the club's ownership, while taking another thread into familiar 'Ashley Territory'.

 

If it wasn't my prehistoric/shite-house phone, where the forum's control panel is pretty much unusable, I'd post a 'raspberry' like.

 

Aye, I know mate. Wasn't trying to undermine the main thrust of your post, was merely picking up on the bit Tecato had quoted.

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