Că tot vorbirăm ieri toată ziua de alunecări, am decupat câteva paragrafe dintr-un articol excelent din The Times, care timp de o oră a fost accesibil fără paywall. Rory Smith:
There is a famous story about Sir Alex Ferguson deciding, in 2001, to sell Jaap Stam, at the very peak of his powers, because the tackling statistics the Manchester United manager had at his disposal suggested the Dutchman was not charging into as many challenges as he used to. Ferguson has long since admitted that this was a major mistake. Stam went to Lazio, and on to AC Milan. There was plenty of life left in him yet.
What the statistics did not tell Ferguson was why Stam was making fewer tackles. He was making fewer tackles because he did not need to make as many, because experience and age had improved his positioning so much. He was doing what Paolo Maldini made his calling card: defending without defending. He was not curing because he was preventing.
England does not appreciate this. This is a Roy of the Rovers nation, one in which passing was widely regarded as suspicious in football’s early years because it was not as manly as charging directly at your opposite number. This is a country where heroes put their bodies on the line, where they hurl themselves at the feet of their foe, where games are there to be taken by the scruff of the neck.
Terry, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and, going back, Bryan Robson are all cast in this mould. They are men of action; they are the ones we place on pedestals and celebrate. Players who do not appear to be doing much – the elder, improving Stam, for example – are seen as indolent, ineffectual.
Mi-aduce aminte de ce spunea Xabi Alonso în interviul cu Sid Lowe:
I don’t think tackling is a quality.It is a recurso, something you have to resort to, not a characteristic of your game.
At Liverpool I used to read the matchday programme and you’d read an interview with a lad from the youth team. They’d ask: age, heroes, strong points, etc. He’d reply: ‘Shooting and tackling’.
I can’t get into my head that football development would educate tackling as a quality, something to learn, to teach, a characteristic of your play. How can that be a way of seeing the game? I just don’t understand football in those terms.
Tackling is a [last] resort, and you will need it, but it isn’t a quality to aspire to, a definition. It’s hard to change because it’s so rooted in the English football culture, but I don’t understand it.”
Sursa foto: Flickr, _Harry Lime_