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Dale Stephens - what is his role in the team?

Apologies for the negative tone of this email, but I'm struggling to define what role Dale plays in our midfield at the moment, and having waited a few weeks for him to get match fitness back, am still none the wiser.

He's not a defensive midfielder (e.g. Semedo, Kishishev), with crunching tackles, who can mark the oppostion's flair player out of the game or at least kick them a bit, as he's too lightweight for that role.

He's not a 'busy' midfielder (e.g. Matt Holland), who will run around constantly linking defence and attack, as he doesn't have enough energy

He's not a box to box midfielder (e.g. Scott Parker) who can be defending at one end then charge down the pitch to score at the other end. Danny Hollands does this to an extent.

He's not the goal scoring midfielder (e.g. Nicky Bailey, Pardew the player) who may not do much, but will get you 10 goals a season, as he rarely gets in the box.

He's not the dead ball specialist, as we have Jackson to do that role

Thus, he must be the flair midfielder. Except, he sits really deep most of the time, behind Hollands, and doesn't dribble either. Instead he seems to play a sort of Michael Carrick role, spraying the ball around occasionally from the centre of the park, and having the occasional long shot. Is this enough?
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    good analagy likening him to Carrick, I really like him but he's not been the same player since his injury and think he could be rested on Saturday
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    The sooner he is out of the team, the better. Hollands will not score all the time he has that passenger alongside him. The new Racon
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    I like Dale, he hasn't been the same since the injury though
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    Dale Stephens is 22, he's got plenty of time to improve, he's got a decent touch and can pass so I'd say he is nothing like Racon.
    A he doesn't mind a tackle, without giving away fouls like our Centre Midfield last season.
    Good signing, good player.
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    Our centre mids just don't get forward enough. One needs to sit and the other go forward but they don't seem to know which one should do it, so both stay there.

    We were at our best when Hughes sat infront of the back four and Hollands got forward.
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    He's like a inconstistant poor man's Paul Scholes ...

    High ball rentention, powerful long range efforts, ability to arrive late in the box and score, with a eye for a pass,

    Unfortunately it's inconsistant

    I would like to see him a bit higher up the pitch to try and influence play, and be an outlet around the box, or go behind the strikers giving another option and avoidng the need to knock it on Yann's head so often at points

    Got a feeling, he would be better suited to the Championship, bit more time on the ball with bigger pitches to influence games
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    Oh dear........ This is the guy that struck the wonder goal against Bury. This is the same midfielder that creates so much in the middle of the park, plays the ball simple, this is the midfielder that is capable of hitting a ball from 25 yards into the top left hand corner of a net.

    What i would say is that you will not get the best out of Danny Hollands should you play Stephens in the middle with him. Hollands had his best form when used as the attacking midfielder of the middle two.

    Stephens is a player who is only recognised when he scores. I would rather have him in my team than be facing him on a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday evening, he can damage a team with his passing or range of shooting at any given time during a game.

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    i said this on another thread but i think hollands alongside russel or hughes is the way to go
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    Bringing Pritch or Hughes in will allow Hollands to roam forward, and when Hughes was in there Hollands scored a few too! Hollands doesn't have as much of an influence with Dale in there, maybe a little tweak in the centre is the way forward.
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    How about giving Hollands a rest for a few games and play Stephens alongside Hughes or Russel. Stephens is twice the player of Racon.

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    Quaterback.
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    The Carrick likeness is accurate on recent performances, but let's not forget the part he played in our most fluent performances earlier in the season (eg. Colchetsre away). Agree though, there does seem a reluctance to push on and support the forwards, and one of the cm's should surely be doing that a bit more. That said, our incredibly strong position has been built on the entire team defending so well, even if it isn't always as pleasing on the eye as pouring forward in greater numbers. The comment from Bollox above is just what his name suggests.
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    Some fair points on the back of a defeat.
    We played very well earlier in the season when Dale was injured when Hughes came in for him. I wasn't at the game last night but was at Bournemouth, and I think Dale looked tired there.
    I would like to see Hughes, in for dale on Saturday, or maybe 451 with Dale in the team with Hughes and Big Yann up front, and Hollands and Dale getting forward onto Yanns headers.
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    He's a lower league Pirlo
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    with that in mind killerandflash, i take it you wasn't a fan of Claus Jensen, who similarly would not have fitted into any of those categories.

    Dale is a decent footballer, who keeps possession and keeps things ticking over. He has decent vision and should be supplying more than he has.

    What you have to appreciate is for the last few games, him and Hollands are having to play against three in the middle.
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    Personally I find Hollands more frustrating than Stephens, as I thought Stephens link up play with Solly in the 1st half got him off my negative list yesterday.

    Hollands actually played well in my opinion for the majority of the game, but in the 2nd half, instead of battling to get the ball back from the colchester players, he was finding space, he always has 2 metres of space around him, which is great when attacking, but not when he's 2 metres away from the nearest player in terms of trying to get the ball back. He was mistiming tackles all over the place in a period of 15 minutes. it's not that he's too slow, its that he stands alone in space so can never get where he needs to be. He was definately shattered too which didn't help.


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    with that in mind killerandflash, i take it you wasn't a fan of Claus Jensen, who similarly would not have fitted into any of those categories.

    Dale is a decent footballer, who keeps possession and keeps things ticking over. He has decent vision and should be supplying more than he has.

    What you have to appreciate is for the last few games, him and Hollands are having to play against three in the middle.
    Good point and at risk of criticising a god, maybe our manager should be working out a tactic to combat this!
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    He's the stand-around-the-D midfielder. Making thunderbolt shots from any balls that bobble out of the box.
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    He's like a inconstistant poor man's Paul Scholes ...

    High ball rentention, powerful long range efforts, ability to arrive late in the box and score, with a eye for a pass,

    Unfortunately it's inconsistant

    I would like to see him a bit higher up the pitch to try and influence play, and be an outlet around the box, or go behind the strikers giving another option and avoidng the need to knock it on Yann's head so often at points

    Got a feeling, he would be better suited to the Championship, bit more time on the ball with bigger pitches to influence games
    Not a bad player to have in league 1 then!
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    Hollands and Stephens are not pushing up because the guys behind them aren't following them forward. If they support the forwards there will be huge gaps behind them that any half cleared ball will fall into, to be snapped up by breaking opponents. This became clear when I watched the Bournemouth game near halfway line.
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    Though he can appear as a "luxury" player at times, he has a lot of qualities and is arguably our most creative and intelligent player. And as someone pointed out, no one was complaining about him at the beginning of the season, and I highly doubt he's lost his abilities since then.

    I would however, like to see Pritchard given more of a go against the division's less footballing sides. He did well enough in a tough game at Sheffield Wednesday but wasn't really given a run of games after that.
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    Hollands and Stephens are not pushing up because the guys behind them aren't following them forward. If they support the forwards there will be huge gaps behind them that any half cleared ball will fall into, to be snapped up by breaking opponents. This became clear when I watched the Bournemouth game near halfway line.
    Which I think was fine for 60 minutes of last nights game. But why, when we had 4 strikers, did they not support our line of attack as Kermogant was winning balls, as did BWP to be collected by the midfield of Colchester instead of our 2 latching onto these balls and putting the passes through to either the wing or into the 18yrd box.

    For all the balls BWP and Yann win in the air a lot of them are wasted effort becuase there is no one to pick up on these balls in midfield.

    That gap irritated me last night. I sit level with the 18 yard box and its obvious they need to alternate a defensive midfield and an attacking midfield as next to each other it didn't work at that point last night.
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    with that in mind killerandflash, i take it you wasn't a fan of Claus Jensen, who similarly would not have fitted into any of those categories.

    Dale is a decent footballer, who keeps possession and keeps things ticking over. He has decent vision and should be supplying more than he has.

    What you have to appreciate is for the last few games, him and Hollands are having to play against three in the middle.
    Jensen created more, could dribble with the ball, got forward more and took our dead balls. It is worth noting that Curbs tended to play him in left sided midfield, preferring more energy in the centre of the park.

    He was better at the start of the season, but personally I thought Hollands was the more imposing midfielder at that stage of the season.
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    with that in mind killerandflash, i take it you wasn't a fan of Claus Jensen, who similarly would not have fitted into any of those categories.

    Dale is a decent footballer, who keeps possession and keeps things ticking over. He has decent vision and should be supplying more than he has.

    What you have to appreciate is for the last few games, him and Hollands are having to play against three in the middle.

    It's so strange how fans see things differently. Claus Jenson was one of my all time favourites at Charlton, just oozed class, but my son thought he was awful. Have the same situation with Green now, I really rate him (although, I agree he hasn't been great recently) but my son once again can't stand him. Different eyes, different perspections!

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    I like Dale but he's got to impose himself more on games. His positional sense isn't quite good enough yet and he tends to drift all over rather than reading the game. That will come with time as he's only young. Would like to see Russell in for him soon to free up Hollands though
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    with that in mind killerandflash, i take it you wasn't a fan of Claus Jensen, who similarly would not have fitted into any of those categories.

    Dale is a decent footballer, who keeps possession and keeps things ticking over. He has decent vision and should be supplying more than he has.

    What you have to appreciate is for the last few games, him and Hollands are having to play against three in the middle.
    ^^^ This ^^^
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    Think he drifts in and out would like to see him push forward more as it's obvious he has a shot on him, and if any balls fall to him just outside the area I think I'd rather him having a shot than any other member of the squad
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    with that in mind killerandflash, i take it you wasn't a fan of Claus Jensen, who similarly would not have fitted into any of those categories.

    Dale is a decent footballer, who keeps possession and keeps things ticking over. He has decent vision and should be supplying more than he has.

    What you have to appreciate is for the last few games, him and Hollands are having to play against three in the middle.

    It's so strange how fans see things differently. Claus Jenson was one of my all time favourites at Charlton, just oozed class, but my son thought he was awful. Have the same situation with Green now, I really rate him (although, I agree he hasn't been great recently) but my son once again can't stand him. Different eyes, different perspections!

    Jensen was a great player-one of my favourites from our Premiership days-but the point is he was playing alongside Kinsella or Parker. If Stephens had one of those two alongside him he'd look very good. The point being made on the post-match thread from last night by myself and others is that the current midfield doesn't work as a pairing and is something SCP needs to address if not for the rest of this season then definitely for the Championship where that pairing would come off second best week-in, week-out IMO

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    Jensen created more, could dribble with the ball, got forward more and took our dead balls. It is worth noting that Curbs tended to play him in left sided midfield, preferring more energy in the centre of the park.
    Unfair when compared in that way, as they are at different standards. But if Jensen did get forward more and took free kicks, he still only scored one in ten.

    Dale has only just turned 22, played less than a hundred games, uprooted to the other end of the country, just had a baby, and on his way back from a serious injury. He has the tools to be a very good technical player, and hopefully playing consistently with see him flourish, exactly the same way Solly has flourished by playing every week.
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    WTF!
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