I was a little perplexed on Sunday that young Master Welsh was given the nod over Big Jenz, my reasoning being our two first choice centre halves need game time together before facing the most stiffest of test, Champions League football.
A big unit, strong in the tackle, plus being accustomed to the left, not to mention an atmospheric home fixture,,I felt certain Moritz would get the nod.
Turns out it was the correct call after all, as we all witnessed. Stephen was solid first and foremost, then he even netted to help shut me up.
I couldn’t ask for more, I’d wager Ange feels the same.
The big question now is,,what’s next and will that performance be rewarded by another start?
Not an extended run in the team, but keeping his place?
It should be.
Stepping into the team and playing well should be rewarded, as opposed to playing in a winning team. Given our wage budget is the highest in the land, the deciding factor more often than not, we should win every game, and have done before. As such, mere participation in a winning side should not in itself be enough to automatically be selected.
To play well in a winning side is altogether different.
It shows desire, surely one must try to perform rather than stumble across a good game.
It highlights the competition within the squad, telling everyone the next man might just do enough to grab that position.
It demonstrates the gap between backup and first choice is cigarette paper thin, our new sexy signing was overlooked for a local kid who shone, and might just become first choice. For the next game that is.
That’s all anyone, not only Stephen Welsh, should be afforded.
You play well, you’re in the team.
In other words, one bad game and you’re out.
Now that is pressure, or life at a big club depending on your viewpoint.
And it’s completely fair. If everyone is given a shot, knowing they stay in the team with a good performance, standards should rise across the board and any grumbling is nipped in the bud because it’s completely fair. It’s on the player to produce, which is after all why they were signed.
It’s the easiest way to keep a group on it’s toes, not allowing them to become complacent.
I dare say the manager would earn respect for such a non personal but no nonsense approach.
That’s why, for me, the very first name on the team sheet this weekend MUST be young Welshy. Not only would it benefit the squad as a whole but it would be completely fair.