Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Canadian depth chart: Wings

Now that I've got your attention, we'll get down to it.

No matter what formation Canada plays (and at this point, the likely candidates are 4-5-1, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3, probably in that order), the midfield/forward ranks include players patrolling the left and right flanks, and trying to create offense. There is some, but not a lot, of depth at these options.

Let's have a look, shall we:

Right wing

Tomasz Radzinski (Xanthi Skoda, Greece)
34 years old / 36 caps / 9 goals

He may have already been included in the forwards depth chart, but late in his career he is spending more and more time creating chances from midfield, and particularly down the right flank. The number 34 jumps out at you (though compared to Onstad he's a spring chicken), but it's hard to deny that Radzinski remains an effective and often dangerous player (check out this clip in which he shows off his killer instinct). Given his age, the speed with which he goes after every ball, and the hot and humid climes of our Central American opponents, Radz may not be good for 90 minutes every time out, but if I'm coach, he's my starter.

Issey Nakajima-Farran (FC Nordsjaelland, Denmark)
23 years old / 9 caps / 0 goals

I am beginning to think that Issey is the future at this position. He is the second leading scorer with his club, and hasn't looked at all out of place in his appearances with Canada. He has speed to burn, and is good with the ball at his feet. His first Central American matches may be a baptism by fire, but that's the only way to find out if he's cut out to be on the receiving end of bags of Honduran piss. He's a regular starter in the same league as one of our premiere midfielders (Hutchinson), so his pedigree is solid.

Iain Hume (Leicester City, England)
24 years old / 22 caps / 2 goals

Iain has been in the picture so long that it is a bit surprising that he is only 24. But it is also surprising that he hasn't taken the bull by the horns and become a star, either for club or country. His goal against the USA in the Gold Cup last summer was huge, but besides that he hasn't done much for the senior nats (his other goal came against Luxembourg, if I'm not mistaken). At the same time, he has been great in various age group tournaments, so he has big game ability. He is fiery, with loads of speed, and for that reason I like him coming off the bench, either as a forward or winger. He hits a pretty decent free kick, which is something worth having.

Left wing

Dwayne De Rosario (Houston Dynamo, MLS)
29 years old / 45 caps / 13 goals

It's not really a question of whether Dwayne is the best at this position. (He is.) It's a question of whether this position is best for Dwayne. I think it is, especially since I like Imhof at defensive midfield, and Hutchinson and De Guzman both need to be in the middle as well. Dwayne scores a lot of great goals, and hopefully we'll see a buttload of those this summer, beginning against St V & G.

Josh Simpson (FC Kaiserslautern, Germany)
24 years old / 17 caps / 0 goals

Josh was thrown into the fire in the last WCQ campaign, and he wasn't yet ready for prime time. Just another of Frank Yallop's mistakes. But don't hold it against Josh. He's taken some real strides in his career, and when he's not serving a 4-game suspension, he's a dangerous player on the left side of midfield for FCK. He's another quick player and crosses it well with the left foot. He's probably most likely to see time coming off the bench.

Marcel de Jong (Roda JC, Netherlands)
21 years old / 1 cap / 0 goals

This is another player to watch for the future. While I think we got the raw end of the deal in our little Dutch tug-of-war (they got De Guzman the younger, we got De Jong), he could be a useful player. He could probably use some more seasoning.

Jim Brennan (Toronto FC, MLS)
30 years old / 44 caps / 6 goals

I don't know what kind of plans Dale Mitchell has for the TFC skipper. He's hard to figure. I don't think he has the pace anymore to be a first choice player at either left wing or left back. And there are better options in the middle as well. But a player of his versatility, experience, and leadership ability should be involved in the squad somehow. This position, should De Rosario for some reason be unable to fill it, would be one place he could serve a role.

To sum up . . . now with ordinals!

Right wing
1. Tomasz Radzinski
2. Issey Nakajima-Farran
3. Iain Hume

Left wing
1. Dwayne De Rosario
2. Everybody else

As always, the comment section is your forum for disagreement.

Previous depth chart posts
[ goalkeepers | central defenders | fullbacks | forwards | def. midfield ]

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