Before I start I haven’t really seen what’s happened in recent days with Silvestri and the Twitter incident. I won’t be getting into it as this is purely football based. I haven’t followed what’s been said or done, just to make it very clear.
In my live Facebook feeds many of the questions have been asked about my thoughts on Robert Green and Marco Silvestri, that’s when we aren’t talking about Chris Wood anyway. Green arrived on a free transfer in the summer and has taken Marco Silvestri’s spot in the side, the Italian keeper dropping out and recently returning to the squad. For me there is no doubt that Green should still be the number one.
I’ve changed my opinion on what I want to see in a goalkeeper in recent years and I think it’s due to the unease I was at with the basics lacking by one of the best shot-stoppers seen at Elland Road for a few years. There is little question about Silvestri in terms of reflexes and ability to pull off the more difficult saves. Everything else fell short for me, and the basics were the worst of them all. Kicking, catching and positioning was all suspect to the point where teams didn’t have to do anything to put pressure on us, between Silvestri and Bamba mainly we did it to ourselves.
The Guiseley game in pre-season was the final straw for me, just like Birmingham was for Sol Bamba. Silvestri started and within 15 minutes we were 3-0 down. Before people point out that he wasn’t directly at fault I will, because for two he wasn’t. The lack of communication between him and the defenders was scandalous and frankly unacceptable, and that played a huge part in players arriving unmarked and getting free headers. To put it into perspective Ross Turnbull replaced him at half time and came to collect the first couple of crosses, Guiseley didn’t put another into the box and we won 3-4, coincidence, bad luck or confidence running from the goalkeeper throughout? The latter for me. The defenders looked better, they were told what to do and where to go by Turnbull and it was as clear as day.
If Green was to be replaced then Turnbull would be the one for me, we have moved on from not being able to do the basics and making catastrophic errors out of nowhere. The main suspects were Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci and Silvestri and 3/4 have been moved on and it looked like Monks initial feelings were that Silvestri wasn’t good enough for the squad, so much so he was sent back from Ireland to train with the under 21’s. Green isn’t what he once was, but even then he’s my first choice in the sticks at Elland Road. Where Silvestri would crumble after a mistake Green just brushes it off during the game and makes sure it’s the last of the game. The spotlight on keepers is huge and the other night was a good example. Green probably should have saved the effort, certainly Saturday’s goal but he pulled off two brilliant saves after in both games, a near post on Tuesday when the ball seemed destined for the net and Van la Parra’s half-way line curler on Saturday.
Green speaks to his defenders and it’s obvious. Jansson and Bartley looked brilliant on Tuesday and on Saturday to be fair and the confidence is helped by communication in front and behind them. Liam Bridcutt in front and Green behind means talking isn’t an issue any more, where Silvestri and Murphy for example were very quiet, Bamba was loud but prone to mistakes on a regular basis. I’d rather have an average shot stopper and a top communicator that the other way around. Each to their own but for me the talk of Marco Silvestri returning is far too premature. If he sorts out the basics which shouldn’t be as difficult as it seems he will be a brilliant keeper, until then he’s not for me.