Martin Jol during yesterday’s press conference:
I think this team did marvellously. They played in a certain style. I like the team. They are capable of playing good football, but you will see in the next couple of months we will try to change.
At Spurs, I always played with Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. This is what I like. I would always try to do something on the flanks and try to play nice attacking football – for the fans as well because you play for the supporters.
This would be a dramatic change. Hodgson might have inverted our wingers – and certainly Damien Duff enjoyed a great start to his Fulham career because of it – but he was also essentially a cautious manager. The success of Hodgson’s system lay in the amount of defensive work that our wide midfielders did. It’s no coincidence that John Pantsil’s limitations were laid bare last season when he lacked the kind of cover that had been afforded to him by a backtracking right midfielder in previous years.
Jol clearly wants to be more adventurous – possibly even than Mark Hughes. We don’t have natural wingers to rival Lennon and Bale at the club currently. Indeed, most of our wide players (with the possible exception of Marsh-Brown and Riise, who are unlikely to see much game time without injuries decimating the squad) are actually exceptionally one-paced. Duff and Davies would be your natural selections for this positions, but they don’t bring with them the deadly injection of pace that can leave a full-back floundering. Instead, they rely on guile and trickery, which can make our attacks more patient than pacey.
You would conclude that would lead to a couple of forays into the transfer market unless Jol believes the answer lies right under his nose. He mentioned Moussa Dembele several times during the press conference and I’ve already written about the intriguing possibility of playing him out wide. Is it worth a shot? And, of course, perhaps the bigger question is, where does last season’s player of the year, Clint Dempsey, fit into the set-up? Not a natural winger or a midfielder, Jol will need to find a place for him too.