Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Should They Stay Or Should They Go? Debate, pt 1

Three games to go and it's time for GGOA staffers Furtho and Agent Orange to sift nervously through the wreckage of Jang Wae Ryong's 2009-era Ardija. Put simply, which players should we keep for next year and which players should be given a one-way ticket to Thespa Kusatsu... or Hitachi Tochigi UVA? We start, some might say controversially, with the goalkeepers:

1. Takahiro Takagi

Furtho: Takagi seems to have been injured over the last couple of months or so, given that he's even missed out on being the main substitute. Overall it seems reasonable enough to me to have a reserve who has some degree of experience of first-team football, but on the other hand how happy is Takagi going to be to stick around on our bench for another year?

20. Nobuhisa Kobayashi

F: Well, Kobayashi seems to have slipped down to fourth in the pecking order. He's like the uber (or possibly unter) Takagi. How much satisfaction can he have gleaned from his pro career to date? How can anyone even have an opinion on whether or not he ought to be given a contract for next season other than, "probably not"?

21. Koji Ezumi

F: Generally a solid year for Ezumi, although he has made a few slip-ups - for example, in the recent league game against Kawasaki. Overall, though, it would surprise me if Ardija fans weren't happy to see him back between the sticks in 2010.

31. Keiki Shimizu

F: I think the only time I've actually seen, or especially noticed, Shimizu in action was when he made a massive comedy error in either a reserve game or a friendly. Which is not a good sign, although I can believe that it was perhaps a little unrepresentative of him as a player. But let's be decisive here for a second, shall we? Let's say that Keiki Shimizu should definitely have a contract next year. Definitely.

Agent Orange:
I'll go a little broader in my assessment of the keepers. I don't have a huge problem with the group as a whole, but I would like to see one keeper who is being groomed for the future and one who can challenge Ezumi now. From what I saw of Takagi this year, he seemed to regress as the season wore on. In a year and a half of work, he looks like a classic J1.5 keeper... good enough to dominate in J2, but not good enough to play J1 consistently.

I don't see much point in keeping Kobayashi for his career, or our future as a team. I like Shimizu. I don't have a huge problem keeping the core but Ezumi is actually one of the older starters in the league. If someone like Takanori Sugeno or Shusaku Nishikawa comes up, I would go for them and let them challenge. We are in fifteenth right now, no one should be safe.



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