Good to Talk

FOR many of us, when we watch a game of football, we are frustrated footballers.

We imagine that we could be on the pitch, influencing play getting involved; we feel helpless when it is all going wrong before our eyes. 

Think, then, how frustrating it must be to have once been plenty good enough to have been able to influence proceedings on the park yourself, but now are reduced to doing your best from the sidelines. 

While a large majority of the Green Army were left wondering where it all went wrong during the mid-week defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge, John Sheridan has highlighted some of the key areas that defined Tuesday’s disappointing result.

The Argyle boss had a storied career, playing hundreds of games in the top flight, representing Ireland in two World Cups and playing in numerous cup finals, including scoring a winning goal. Watching him talk about this week's game at Dagenham during his regular Thursday press conference was both fascinating and illuminating in equal measure. 

“I’m a manager, and I kick every ball,” said John. “I don’t mean this in a big headed way, but because I played at a higher level, I see everything that should have happened on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately for us – and this is my biggest downer on my team – they don’t see things on the pitch that should have been done better and they don’t tell each other. But I’m seeing it; that’s why I am shouting all the time and the only voice they hear is my voice.

“But I’m on the side-line; I can’t go on and kick a ball. If I was on the pitch, I wouldn’t shut up. If Paul Wotton was on the pitch, he wouldn’t shut up.”

Referring to his former playing days at Sheffield Wednesday, a club the Pilgrims boss made well over 200 appearances for during a successful seven year stint between 1989 and 1996, Sheridan called for his current crop of Argyle players to communicate more while on the pitch.

“The biggest moaner I played with was Chris Waddle,” John said. “He was the best player I ever played with, but he was also the biggest moaner. He would moan if you weren’t doing the right things.

“It’s only talking. I’m not trying to be harsh on them, I tell them to play every game as hard as they can. Nelson is the captain but he’s got to see things better, his distribution has got to be better, and I want him to play higher but he’s got to learn, quickly.

“I watched the [Borussia Dortmund v Juventus] game; [Paul] Pogba, the best young player of the moment, didn’t do something right and [Carlos] Tevez absolutely slaughtered him. I’m talking about world-class players here but, if you’ve got three or four doing it on the pitch, it makes you a miles better team."