Sunday, August 18, 2013

Because Sometimes I Just Like to Write About Football

There were numerous reasons for Manchester City to sack Roberto Mancini, but here is one that will quietly fly under the radar: he didn't give Denis Suarez a chance.

Last summer I went with three friends to see Man City play Limerick in a pre-season friendly. Many of Man City's stars were playing, but one player stood out among all the rest, and we had no idea who he was. One thing we were quite sure of, however - he wasn't English. The way he moved with the ball, the little flicks and periscopic passes, and the sheer mastery of the midfield position were all signs that this was a player who learned how to play elsewhere. We tried to sneak a look into a kid's programme in order to get a name, but when that failed we did the old fashioned thing and wikipedia-ed him. It turned out his name was Denis Suarez, the Spaniard (of course).

He was only 18 years old at the time, but he played with a calmness and confidence that hinted at rare talent. I was enamoured, thinking of how smug I could be when in five years I could say that I saw *the* Denis Suarez play when he was a nobody.

Indeed, I thought my smugness could be given a voice that very season, so sure was I that Suarez would at least be a regular in the League Cup, perhaps even getting a run of league games like Fabregas did at Arsenal when he was 17. But Mancini didn't give him a chance. Even in the face of an underperforming City side, Mancini felt no need to give us a glimpse of the future. For that alone he deserved to be sacked.

And for his sins it seems Manchester City will pay the debt. Suarez has been linked with a move to Barcelona this summer. Perhaps it is inevitable that he moves back to Spain, but it need not be so soon. Yet perhaps also Pellegrini will see what Mancini didn't, and give the kid a chance as part of the more "holistic" approach that the City owners crave. I hope so, because England (and Ireland) still need to be taught the lesson that slight and skillful ballplayers are not only easy on the eye, but effective.

No comments:

Post a Comment