Date: 15th August 2011 at 10:17am
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Being asked to play out of position is often thought in footballing circles as a big ask.

In essence it seems pretty simple… large hulking man with good fitness and paid by the bucket load being deployed in a different part of the pitch appears fairly simple and not that strange.

But the attributes required to play central midfield and centre back are very different.

A central midfielder is required to be more mobile, to cover more ground across a football pitch and to provide a link between defence and attack.

Sure with both positions you have to be strong in the tackle and have a certain level of discipline but with a defensive role comes a higher degree of anticipation and positional awareness.

On both those counts young Steve N’Zonzi fell brutally short on Saturday. It wasn’t pretty, his deployment at centre back was done out of necessity not choice but it did knock the stuffing out of the tall Frenchman.

It’s occasions like that which can knock a guy’s confidence for a long period of time.

But despite being the worst performer on the pitch by a fair distance, one horror show should not cloud the fact that Steve N’Zonzi will be a BIG player for Rovers this season.

Steve Kean has set us out to be expansive and attack this season. We actually have the players (bar that one big striker) to open sides up but we need that solid base at the back of the midfield that allows us to settle and protect our interests at the other end of the pitch.

Steve N’Zonzi is that man and he has the capabilities to regain the level of form and confidence that allowed him to be Player of the Season two years ago.

He’s never, not in a million years, a centre back but he is most definitely a quality central midfield player.

A return to his prime position will see the Zonz come out of the traps.

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10 Replies to “Zonz is down but not out”

  • I believe he can be a top player for us this season. I hope he wasn’t knocked too much by his exploits on Saturday.

  • Under the circumstances he didn’t do badly. Hope he can play in his normal position next Saturday. Not fancying the trip to Villa if there is no change, at least Givet should be fit!

  • I agree Mikey, he will become a massive player for us this and in seasons to come. Also agree with Persephone, under the circumstances both Hanley and Zonz did well. Salgado for me was quite poor. Maybe his age is catching up with him. Still a legend though!

  • It left our midfield well exposed. Not so sure it was such a good idea TBH. Just a thought but wouldn’t Emo have been a better choice with N’Zonzi playing in front of the defence?

  • “being the worst performer on the pitch by a fair distance” Are you joking? N’Zonzi was better than a lot of the players. Pedersen, Emerton, Salgado, even Hoilett.

  • Was good in the air, good at playing the ball out of defence, and comfortable on the ball. The only thing that was poor was his anticipation and positioning.. which is understandable as he didn’t even train in that position this week!

  • Mikey normally agree with you,but Nzonzi didn’t had a decent game in an unfamiliar position.none of the goals were down to him, and didn’t make any glaring mistakes.Salgado,however, couldn’t do athing right,both goals down to him and didn’t make 1 decent pass, he an absolute mare of agame(normally a fantastic player for Rovers).Formica only Rovers outfield player to look at their best.Wolves did their homework on Hoilett, 2 on him all the time,the rest were just average,but football is a game of opinions. Nzonzi in fact may benefit from an outing at C.D. in the long run,he will appreciate the problems of playing in that position.

    My glass is half full

  • Salgado cost us the game, both goals were his mistakes. I think Robbo decided to go for the ball in the box after the missed pen because he knew Salgado was having a nightmare, then the goal was wide open. Hoilett didn’t look match fit IMO. N’Zonzi was much better than at least 3-4 players from what I saw.

  • Get petrovic beside the zonz and it will be a great line infront of the defence. I agree with itsallrover, I’d have put emo at the back.

  • Zonzi and Hanley did very well on Saturday. Up against two experienced prem strikers, they held their own and should be thanked for the job they did. I wouldn’t like to see him at the back again but centre half is a specialist job and shouldn’t be under estimated. Remember when Samba was asked to play up front on his own? Similar story – did his best but ultimately it wasn’t his usual role. So well done Zonz and Grant – hope you get to make your next appearances in more normal circumstances.

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