Writer: Mike Field
Date:Tuesday September 15 2009
Stiliyan Petrov was absolutely delighted to see the new defensive trio of Dunne, Collins and Warnock settle right into the team and start bossing everyone around.
Our new signings were each given unexpected debuts against the Blues. We all expected Richard Dunne to get the nod, but very few thought we would go with all of them.
Stan basically says it was a masterstroke as it provided the team with some much needed leadership.
Petrov even admitted the team have struggled, probably far more than they expected, when Martin Laursen was lost to injury and then unfortunately retirement.
It shouldn't have come as any great surprise really. We didn't just lose his talent, his strength in the air or his obvious other footballing talents - we more importantly lost his drive, his ability to spur people on and his talent for simply organising everyone else.
Neither Carlos Cuellar nor Curtis Davies are gobby in defence, and whilst Ciaran Clark certainly has a mouth on him he needs time to develop fully before he bags a regular first team jersey.
So what we desperately needed to find was a psuedo captain for the defensive unit and it appears Martin O'Neill decided to go for overkill with the combined £17 million purchases of Warnock, Dunne and Collins.
Speaking to the Guardian yesterday, Petrov said:
'Collins, Dunne and Warnock played very well. They are all leaders, they were loud and they were controlling the game.'
Pointing specifically to the lack of organising since Laursen, Petrov added people talking 'was lacking before and now we have people taking control and that's what we want to see.'
It certainly made a welcome change, and although there were a few slip ups during the match, those can only be expected given they've never played together before.
Once that understanding comes, and with the continued barking of orders we could have potentially the best defensive unit we've had for many years.
Date:Tuesday September 15 2009
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