Dan Gosling has become our very own Scarlet Pimpernel in recent weeks, which is strange considering that he was probably one of our best performers during pre-season.
We seek him here, we seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere, but where has Scarlet Gosling been hiding?
Well it seems as though he has been plying his trade in the reserves mainly. A cup appearance against Scunthorpe aside, Gosling is yet to really have a sniff of the starting XI. He was outstanding for the reserves yesterday and scored two goals against the Norwich reserves. He could have had another two had the woodwork not come into play.
I don’t read too much into reserve games. To me they are purely for fitness purposes, so on that score it seems as though Gosling is fine. Granted he’s been out a long time, but he played most of pre-season and came through it unscathed. Why be so careful now?
It’s this quote from John Carver which has me more perplexed than anything else though. Read on.
“Dan’s out of the picture at the moment, but he’s doing the right things, and he needs to keep on doing them,” Carver told The Chronicle.
Peter Beardsley hasn’t helped things either by saying that Gosling was in a “lull” after leading his reserves to a 6-0 victory at Whitley Park yesterday afternoon.
“That will do Dan Gosling a lot of good and give him a lot of confidence,” said Pedro. “We have to be realistic and realise the kid has been out for around 14 months. He’s worked hard to get back.”
“He did well in America in pre-season, and when you come back from injury your initial burst is always exciting and positive. There’s then always a lull, which is normal for a long injury, but hopefully he’ll come again.”
What is this lull? Why is he out of the picture?
Maybe I’ve missed something here, but how do you go from being one of the better performers in a disjointed pre-season and earning praise for looking sharp, fit, and fast, to being in a lull or finding yourself out of the picture?
I just don’t get it.
In my mind Gosling should be knocking on the door of the first team given the way that he has performed. He’s effectively earned the chance to be in with a shout after his performances for the reserves and away with the England U21 team.
I understand that he is young and has been out for a while, but there has been no comeback so far in terms of his injury so it can’t be anything to do with that.
The problem is competition in my opinion. Gosling wants to play in the middle of the park, but with so many players in front if him he is going to find it tough to break into the team. Competition is great, healthy competition is better, but there will come a point where players just can’t be bothered to wait around.
That is the flipside of having so many options in midfield, and it’s also a flipside of not playing a formation which suits the players better. There is not enough room to fit everyone in so as a consequence there will be players who have to sit out and bide their time before getting a run in the team.
The question is, how long before these players get fed of waiting?