Date: 23rd February 2012 at 11:12am
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Jamie Allison urges a balanced view of what Steve Morison brings to the team and asserts the view not all players need to run around like headless chickens to demonstrate their worth…

On Saturday Norwich fans were cursing a disappointing performance as the Canaries were knocked out of the F.A Cup by Championship side Leicester City. There was one player that was singled out though – Steve Morison.

Morison, 28, has divided the opinions of fans since joining the club last summer from Millwall, and this looks set to continue in the near future. The main outburst of opinions about the Welsh International concerns his work rate – or lack of it according to some.

The striker has managed to score 9 goals in all competitions this season for the Canaries, but has struggled recently, losing his first team place to Simeon Jackson as he has been unable to find the net since the 14th January against West Brom. Despite this recent drop of form though, he has started 19 games in the league, with half of these leading the line up front on his own.

Many have called for Morison to be dropped further down the pecking order with the return of James Vaughan from injury, while a few others have been extreme enough to suggest that Morison should be sold in the summer. But is he being treated unfairly?

In recent years I have heard and seen the work rate of a few players questioned. Most notably before Morison was Chris Martin. Both of these players are strikers who have played with or replaced Grant Holt in the team, who is loved by fans for his exceptional work rate.

Holt`s work rate is a major part of his game, unnerving defenders by getting in their faces and chasing down every ball. Both Morison and Martin`s play isn`t based around this, so the comparisons that come can sometimes be harsh on the players. Morison prefers the ball to be played to him rather than chasing down balls that there isn`t much chance of getting to like Holt does.

Ironically enough when Norwich were talked about the other week on the BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in 606 the work rate of Morison, along with Grant Holt, was saluted by not only the presenters, but also Stevenage fans that had been calling into the programme.

Morison has managed to grab 8 goals in the Premier League so far though, equalling the amount of goals scored by the leading Norwich goal scorers after the club`s last stint in the top division. Some of the goals scored by the Welsh International have been crucial to help Norwich get to 8th in the league – coming off the bench to score winners against QPR and West Brom.

There are obvious areas of Morison`s game that he can improve, one on ones being a troubled point for him this season, but no player is perfect. There is also no arguing that there has been a dip in form for the Norwich striker which is why his work rate is currently being looked at; but we need to get behind him and show support rather than getting on his back and potentially making his form get worse.

I shall leave you with this question. Would you rather Morison to run around like a headless chicken and have no effect on the game or for him to continue to score important goals for the team?


4 Replies to “Steve Morison – The New Scapegoat?”

  • Some good points made especially the role of a striker. However, your point about the headless chicken is not well made. Grant Holt manages to combine a prodigious work rate with sometimes exceptional ball skills, which set up goals. Morison is at his best when he is paired with Holt (does anyone know how many of the eight were scored with Holt on the field?). He is not so confident by himself.

  • All players should give there all.
    Many if not all players in fa cup game were poor and this was generally pointed out by those who went to game.
    It is Morrisons attitude that upsets fans.
    As Rex says ‘ running around like a headless chicken ‘ is not a valid point. There is not a choice of attributes in premier league
    especially with Norwich players who rely on effort as they do not have the skill of the expensive star players. They may fall short in skill but they must never fall short in effort. Sometimes Morrison appears to be guilty of that.

  • The psycological aspect of the game was has been highlighted a lot recently. Speed, Windlass, Mckenzie all come to mind.
    Aside from the mental health questions, I do find myself questioning the mental strength of footballers in general.
    Compared to exponents of the oval ball game the soccer cousins appear very second rate. One reason Im sure is the drift of the game to verging on non contact. Tackles it seems are almost illegal, and cheats fling themselves to the floor at the mere suggestion of a sneeze.
    I suggest that physical aggression and mental strength go hand in hand.
    Holts style of abrasive play and continual harrasment of defences is indicative of a player totally focused on the job in hand.
    The encompassing word is commitment, something that has dragged the canaries from the pit of first division football to the verge of European football.
    In the Lambert system full commitment is expected demanded and essential. Lack of it does not a bad player make. But at the end of the day its horses for courses, and fair weather sprinters are just not suitable for the clubs steeple chasing style.

  • You can still be a good player and have a high workrate. Would you say Suarez was a headless chicken, or Aguero, Tevez, Kuyt, or anyone of a number of great players who I’m sure would prefer the ball to their feet? The difference between them and Morison is, when it’s not played to their feet, they work hard to get it, or to close down. Players like Holt, Pilkington, Bennett etc are always working hard to close players down when they don’t have the ball. You defend as a team, you attack as a team. Morison is comparitively lazy and disinterested if the ball’s not served up on a plate. Plus I hate whingers who stand there waving their arms around if it’s not served up as they like it. His body language is different to everyone else in the team. People like him are bad for team morale. As for his goals tally, half of them were tap ins, which he scored when he was starting games ahead of Holt. A few of us raised eyebrows when Holt was dropped early in the season, but because Morison was getting one every 2 games or so, people cut him a little slack. Some of those goals went in of his knee, shoulder, elbow, etc. Nothing wrong with that in a striker. What nobody mentions is that if Holt had been playing instead of Morison, he would probably have scored those goals, AND MORE. I take the point you’re saying, that he’s different to Holt, but for me that’s the problem. Holt fits into Lambert’s ethos of a team who all work for each other. Morison doesn’t. With him in the team, if we’re not attacking we’re down to ten men. While we’re on it, his ball control, hold up play, and link play aren’t a patch on Holty either. He makes Holt seem like velcro. For me I’d start Jackson or Vaughan ahead of him every time, to partner Holt upfront. And I’d be looking to move Morison on to another club at the end of the season. I think he’s a good Championship striker, but he’s not got the skill, workrate or attitude to make it in the Premiership. Only my opinion, against your equally valid one, I know, but I think it’s one quite a few other Canary fans share.

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