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Captain Unfantastic Reo-Coker Struggles In Derby

Captain Unfantastic Reo-Coker Struggles In Derby

Daniel Grigg says ' Captain unfantastic- Nigel Reo-Coker struggles in derby

This weekend's match against Birmingham proved to anyone who didn't already know why Nigel Reo-Coker is simply not captain material.

The former West Ham midfielder had probably the luckiest day of his football career, on a day where he could have easily ended up sat in the dressing room having been sent off, while captaining a team heading for 1-0 home defeat against their big local rivals. In the first half, Reo-Coker's handball should by all justifications have been a handball, but he was fortunate enough that World Cup winning referee Howard Webb did not see it clearly.

In the second half, for some reason he let the situation get the better of him, not something which is great to see from a captain let alone from any player in a Premier League team, when he gave a frustrated kick out at former Villa midfielder and teammate Craig Gardner, who was the away team's most potent attacking force for much of the match. Again Howard Webb, showing the sort of leniency that could well start to cost him in the future if players begin to feel they can push their luck with him as referee, let Reo-Coker off with just a yellow card. The tackle was nowhere near as painful or reckless as the De Jong one on Xabi Alonso which Webb failed to give a red card for in the World Cup final, but it was still stupid and could well have cost Villa dearly had they been away from home or officiated by a stricter referee. A kick out in frustration on it's own may not be enough to suggest stripping the captaincy off a player just days after he's been given it, but the captain's reaction to the final whistle and the way he was steaming around the pitch looking for someone to argue with, without counting his blessing at getting a point and no three game suspension, isn't a great sign for a team who desperately need leadership to repeat the league performances of recent seasons.

They need someone to tell Ashley Young to get more involved for example, with the undoubted ability the former Watford player has when he's in full swing. Yet, is Young really going to listen to Reo-Coker, who has at times been accused of taking his own foot off the pedal in the past? I'd suggest that the obvious and more sensible choice, former Manchester City captain Richard Dunne, should have been given the role. He'd be in a far better position to bark orders at his teammates than Reo-Coker, who despite a decent start to the this season when he's probably outplayed Stiliyan Petrov in the centre of midfield, still has a lot to do to prove he can turn his own career around, let alone Villa's season. Houllier has loaded Nigel Reo-Coker with too much responsibility before he's ready and I hope it doesn't prove counter productive, considering how much the club are already relying on him, with Petrov now out until Christmas.

Daniel Grigg

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Daniel Grigg
Date:Monday November 1 2010
Time: 8:07AM


Agree wholeheartedly. Hos attitude was a disgrace and not up to the mark of captain. I have always liked NRC but not yesterday and wondered yesterday whether we were seeing what MON saw and the reason why he hasn't played too much and was moved no by West Ham. A fighting spirit is one thing, a loony tune who easily makes grudges is another. Hopefully someone will tell him what a pratt he was and can calm him down. If not, then move the arm band on.
01/11/2010 09:22:00
I've seen worse.
01/11/2010 09:29:00
Lucky boy, shouldve been sent off for kicking out at the Brum player
01/11/2010 09:48:00
Zigic should have been sent of for elbowing collins, so 10 vs 10 then we are okay :) Reo i think has been fantastic for us this season but he was a tad stupid yesterday with his violent mannor, i can understand if someone had worked him up but i saw nothing there but we dont no what gardner or anyone said to him but as the captain he should be setting an example.
01/11/2010 11:02:00
the guy definately took a step backwards today... maybe going from outcast to captain was probably one step too far? i daresay he's been loaded with more pressure than ever with petrov's injury.
01/11/2010 12:18:00
Think a yellow for Zigic was a fair punishment, I'm not sure there was any intent there. Very dissapointed with our negative tactics against a poor Small Heath side, but GH is known for his 'conservative' management style I suppose. When we went 4-4-2 we looked a different side and about to score any minute; sadly all too late though.
01/11/2010 12:27:00
It's nice to see someone with a bit of bite - especially in a derby game! He just got a bit over the top is all
01/11/2010 12:44:00
Giving the captaincy to someone else would be pointless, just because someone else has the arm band doesn't mean the like of Ashley Dunne and Friedel don't bark out the orders. We have lots of leaders and so far if you go based on performances this year then a few people have deserved the armband full time; petrov (but he's now injured) Collins, Albrighton, Heskey and NRC. Houllier chose NRC and I think it was a great decision and although he got lucky to not be sent off yesterday I thought Nigel didn't brilliant, it was a derby and he reacted as he should have done, it's expected. If Gardner walked all over Reo-Coker and he didn't stand up for himself then I would question Nigel as skipper but he did exactly what a captain should, maybe he needs to calm it a bit with how he handles situations but he was right to stand up and complain! He just went a little over the top, but that was because of who we were playing, and the fact it was the dirty lieing nose Craig Gardner!
01/11/2010 13:17:00
Apart from the kick out i was quite happy with NRC's performance! Passion and guts in a derby is what it's all about!
01/11/2010 13:59:00
A yellow card, and bad decisions in a derby game are not enough to judge his captaincy - Lets hope Hou has a word in his ear and sorts it out....
01/11/2010 14:16:00
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