We’ve all probably got friends, and maybe family and even colleagues, who we make excuses for.
Think hard. Anyone you know who you’ve said the phrase more than once ‘it’s just the way X is, everyone knows’, but you still love them. Sort of. Until you’ve said it maybe 10-15 times. Then you start to wonder if the ‘excuse’ has stopped being valid.
Would the name Darwin fit this description? He can score a wonderful goal one week, then miss a whole bunch of sitters. ‘Well that’s Darwin for you’
He does bring a smile to my face. A ‘whirling dervish’ of a player who wreaks havoc in all those around him. Probably including his own team mates.
I love his effort and his speed. There’s a big ‘however’ though. Think of this scenario… We’re one down in the Europa League final with 10 minutes to go. Our player gets put through on a 1v1 on the keeper. Who do we want that player to be, and who would we prefer it not to be? Who can round a keeper successfully? Who can slot it calmly under the body of the advancing keeper?
My feeling is I’d be very nervous if it were Darwin Nunez. If it were a dream, it would be Ian Rush or Fernando Torres, even Luis Suarez or Steven Gerrard. Even if I was thinking of our current team, I’d like it to be Luis Diaz, Dominik Szoboszlai or Alexis Mac Allister.
Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but I’m not convinced that we’re getting value for money in Darwin. Immensely likable, but is he good enough to start for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool 2.0? Personally, I doubt it. I’d love him to come off the bench when we need a ‘Plan B’ with 20 minutes to go.
I’d like a goal scorer. An Ivan Toney type possibly? Problem is we don’t buy in January and, if we did, there are other positions that are probably perceived as being more important; maybe a full back? Or a defensive midfielder? Or a Centre Back?
Folk have said ‘he’ll develop’. I’m not so sure. They’ve also said ‘remember Suarez in his first season?’. Yes, I do. He was wonderful, but kept hitting the post. You knew you had a serious player that could take your breath away. Even without scoring, I’d have taken Suarez in an instant.
I’m not sure Darwin has that sort of potential. I’m not exactly comparing him to Suarez (he was a one-off) but I’m comparing, or probably NOT comparing the ability of a player to change and improve the way they impact games. An issue for me with Darwin is he can so often make the wrong decisions; I’m not sure his ‘football brain’ I go on about so often is up to our standard.
People have talked about our high ‘xG’. Problem is your xG doesn’t win you games. G’s do. I want a G Scorer. It’s a real issue with Mo Salah being away. I think the best natural finisher is probably Diogo Jota. Until Mo is back, I’d probably play Jota down the middle with Diaz and Darwin running the wings.
But when Mo comes back, who starts, and who makes the impact from the bench? I’d play Jota, Diaz and Salah as first choice. Darwin if we need to change things; but is that enough for a player of his price?
I hope I’m wrong, but my feeling is that Darwin Nunez doesn’t have the skillset we need for this team to develop and go onto greatness. Do you?
If you like Dr Andy Hershon’s writing, check out his book – 15 Minutes With You: Tips on Medical Consulation and Other Musings