There are many opinions about our Head Coach, Daniel Farke being bandied around at the moment.
Pretty much every City fan I know has one and they range from those who think he will come good and win us promotion, to those who think he should be sacked this week.
Myself? I’m somewhere in between.
As I’ve written previously, I enjoy watching a possession-based football style when it’s done correctly. Having said that, I watched a short video clip on Twitter the other day in which Pep Guardiola was talking about how his side had won the Premier League and he was asked in particular about why fullbacks were so important to his style of play.
Pep Guardiola explaining why his full backs tuck in. He prefers short passes for quick transitions to the defensive phase. 15 yard passes create a longer transition to the defensive phase. Hence, more short passes. The guy is on a different level of thinking pic.twitter.com/WmzBrkg18k
— Football Scrutiny (@footballscruti1) August 30, 2018
He explained that he needed certain types of player to fulfil these roles and do what he needed. When he was asked why it hadn’t worked in the previous season, he simply said that he didn’t have the right players in his squad then and that Man City had invested heavily (last summer) in Walker, Mendy and Danilo, these being the players he needed to play how he wanted to play.
That brings me back to Farke and the squad he has to work with and it made me think “Does he have the right players to play like he wants to play?”
On the basis of what I’ve seen so far, I’d have to say “no” he probably doesn’t but I’m open minded enough to know that we’ve not seen enough of Emi Buendia or Kenny McLean to know for sure.
One thing that Farke has impressed me with though, is his development of young players. He made the decision to play James Maddison from the start of last season (I know Pritchard was injured) and effectively turned him into a £24m player in just one season.
Maddison has magic in his boots but he needed a coach to trust him. Alex Neil couldn’t bring himself to trust Maddison in 2016/17, despite Madders clearly being up to it then.
He played Jamal Lewis away at Birmingham City last December when the Canaries’ season was teetering on the edge of a relegation battle and he’s just given Max Aarons his league debut away at Portman Road. He followed that up with bringing Ben Godfrey on as Timm Klose’s replacement instead of the easier choice of putting Christoph Zimmermann on and don’t forget, he also played Todd Cantwell in the FA Cup at Chelsea.
Young players develop when they are given trust by their coach and allowed to regularly play games. That’s why Chelsea loan out 20 odd young players every summer, knowing they aren’t prepared to develop them with first team game time but getting another club to do it for them.
Norwich will need to sell players every summer as long as we are in the Championship and the higher transfer fee we can get for them, obviously, the better.
Lewis and Aarons look set to become first choice this season now, as I just can’t see Ivo Pinto coming back into the first XI as soon as he’s fit again, he’ll have to wait. Both are still very young and will have dips in form, peaks and troughs but they will develop by playing games and in Farke, we have a Head Coach prepared to give youth it’s chance.
Ben Godfrey has just signed a new four-year deal and with Farke describing him as having all the attributes to become a “world class centre-half,” a year of acting as understudy to Hanley and Klose will do him good.
The frankly ridiculous transfer fees currently being paid for young British players will help keep our club afloat in the longer term and I ’m pleased to see, no, I’m chuffed to bits actually, to see our young lads getting a chance.
Daniel Farke may or may not turn out to be our saviour, leading us to the Premier League but along the way, I think we can see that youth will be encouraged and developed, being given every opportunity to shine and learn.
It may not be fashionable currently to praise our Head Coach and he may or may not be on Pep Guardiola’s level of tactical thinking but he’s not doing bad with the young ‘uns, is he?