Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Moyes’ stance with Saha the right thing to do

Premier League footballers and their mis-use of Twitter is rapidly becoming the primary source of news and entertainment for journalists and fans alike.

Free from the oppressive, bland media-trained arena of post-match press rooms, the modern day player on the internet is worryingly loose cannon for managers, with supporters and journos waiting on every tweet.

Whereas previously if footballers were frustrated they would shout their mouth off – at worst – in a pub, the dawn of social networking sites has made it easier to not only talk before they engaged their brain to the consequences, but also to spread it across the world in only a few minutes.

Not that Twitter is all bad, it has a flip-side that has allowed players and supporters to engage in way not seen since the commercialisation of the game 20 years ago rendered player celebrities who had no real connection with the clubs and supporters that paid them so handsomely.

But its compelling force for good matters little to managers like David Moyes when one of his players rants about not being selected before storming out of the ground.

Louis Saha is the player in question after he was left out of the squad for last Saturday’s game with Wigan for refusing to play in the reserves the previous Wednesday.

This is a striker, it has to be pointed out, who for most of his career has lurched from one serious injury to another, appearing to spend more time on the treatment table then playing live football, but who Moyes still took a chance on back in 2008.

At 33-years-old he isn’t getting any younger either, and the ravages of time will make his already fragile body even more brittle.

With finances tight at Goodison Park Moyes knows he not only needs everyone pulling in the right direction, but also to be fit enough to get the football scores the club needs to keep them in the upper reaches of the table - any hint of relegation will send the already worried bank managers into overdrive.

Therefore Moyes has every right to be careful with the Frenchman, especially as he hasn’t started a game for six months. For Saha to act like he did was childish, petulant and from what we can gather, out of character.

I must applaud Moyes’ tough stance though. Small squad or not he can’t afford to let players become comfortable in their positions in the side, there needs to be competition for places, even if much of it is an illusion.

For Saha it certainly isn’t an illusion anymore. Everton’s usually thin forward line has been boosted by the arrival of Argentinean forward Denis Stracqualursi and emergence of young Greek forward Apostos Velios, who nodded the vital second against the Latics on Saturday.

Tim Cahill has also been pressed into action as a emergency lone front man, proving that Moyes can be equally stubborn when proving a point to rule-breaking players.

I’m sure deep down Moyes knows he can’t afford to let go of Saha given the paucity of funds to buy a replacement – certainly one of Saha’s ability. However, discipline must be paramount if the club is to get the best out of his players – a hallmark of the soon-to-be ten year Moyes era.

Hopefully a further chance to reflect on his behaviour instead of playing in Wendesday's match against West Brom will be enough for Saha to put down his phone and concentrate on getting fit.

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