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Mancienne's weaknesses could cost McCarthy's team

Vital Wolves member Daniel Grigg runs the rule over on loan from Chelsea man Michael Mancienne.

I think most of us would be in agreement that Michael Mancienne had his best game of the season on Saturday against Sunderland, but he still lacks consistent positional awareness.

He takes up poor positions so often in midfield that you find it hard to believe he ever came through at a club where Claude Makalele, John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien were playing.

What Mancienne is good at is defending in deep areas of the pitch, either in his better position as a central defender or as a very deep lying midfielder. He played pretty deep against Sunderland and defended well, but it does mean the midfield sometimes feels like it's often on the back foot and defending too much, apart from Jarvis and Milijas of course.

Unfortunately with Henry and Guedioura both injured, Mick McCarthy now doesn't really have a any choice but to continue with Mancienne in midfield, but it might cost us.

His passing is definitely good enough to play in midfield, but it would be great if he really started to impose himself in the middle of the pitch and seemed to fill the space. Too often he gets bypassed or doesn't seem to really stamp his authority on a game and I feel this is probably done to the slight lack of positional awareness.

The fact he's played so many games for the England under 21s speaks volumes; I think it's somewhere approaching 30 matches for Stuart Pearce now. He's got plenty of natural talent both tackling and passing, but it's the awareness of danger and on occasions the lack of urgency that's stopping him really becoming a top quality player.

Having said that, James Milner and Tom Huddlestone both played tonnes of games for the under 21s and had times when people thought they weren't good enough and now they're two of the most highly rated players in the Premier League.

Article suggestion from member Daniel Grigg

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The Journalist

Writer: Daniel Grigg Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 1 2010

Time: 1:00PM

Your Comments

Interesting observation. Now that you have brought it to my attention, I realize that I was thinking on the same lines (though I needed you to articulate it for me).
Southbank60
Sorry but this one confuses me. He is good playing deep, can tackle and pass. He is naturally a defender being playing out of position and the three parts of his game mentioned above describe exactly what you want from a holding midfielder which is what he is in the team to do. Jarvis, Jones, Milijias, Hunt, Edwards- all of these players are creative and/or attacking minded players- he was clearly ordered to sit deep and he did it extremely well as acknowledged, so I am not sure where the problem is. In my round up of the match report Saturday I mentioned how many times his pace got him in positions to nick the ball of someones toe and clear the lines, and that his anticipation gets him into these positions. Remember the system we play includes overlapping full backs which leaves great gaps at the back which he repeatedly covered. Jones, Milijias, Hunt, Jarvis, Foley, Zubar and occasionally Ward were all pushing forward- he held his position firmly for the 90 minutes, tackled, broke down attacks, and distributed. As I said in the summer I'd bite their hand off at 4 million. He is an England international in the making and I only wish we had him signed up permanently. My opinion, respecting yours Daniel.
New York City Wolf
I also agree with NYCW's comments. I thought Mancienne played extremely well last Saturday (what I saw of the match) and admirably did the job asked of him. It's possible that both Daniel and I (certainly me) are taking a broad view, looking at his performance in different positions over the season. In some games he did not perform very well, as Daniel points out. But, utility is the trait that MM likes or at least seeks to develop in a player ... but that's another question!
Southbank60
Daniel is right that Mancienne doesn't impose himself enough on the midfield, but what Wolves midfielder does? Everything is relative, and we don't have anyone better. Apart from that I too agree with NYCW and SB60. I find Mancienne's speed refreshing and valuable, and his elevation is outstanding. Against Sunderland, with Mancienne, Jones and Milijas all in central midfield, Wolves build up from defence to attack was clearly faster than at any other time this season.
Nippy Lobo
Besides which, like Stearman, the guy Mancienne is still young. Patience and persistence are called for. Young players are not going to improve if they don't get experience. Sometimes with young players you have to look at their strong points and cross your fingers; otherwise they are never going to develop into class players.
Nippy Lobo
Nippy Lobo: I agree with your comments about allowing young players the chance to mature but is the right time and place to do it in a Premier League team which is only goal difference off bottom place? In fact, I think that Mancienne is progressing but will Stearman, who is potentially a very good player (as he is for most of the time at the moment) ever going to get rid of his annoying habit of losing concentration and doing something silly. It has cost us and coulf make the difference at the end of the season. I suppose one answer is to loan such players out to championdhip sides but that does not replicate the pace, skill and speed of reactions required in the top flight.
Southbank60
I wonder whether he may be called back to Chelsea in Jan, which if Jones goes as is looking possible, would leave us looking for 2 defensive midfielders. I do wonder whether it may be Stearmans best position??????
OLDGOLD
 

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