Unsung Heroes

Another football-related musing. Sorry. I’m still hurting.

Holding midfielders. The talk of the tournament as Brazil’s coach Dunga deploys two of them. Amazingly devastatingly effective, they even provide huge attacking impetus.

Former England internationals on pundit duty in S Africa, John Barnes and Gary Mabbutt, couldn’t stop talking about this one after Brazil demolished Chile to slide into the Quarters. I’ve celebrated this already, calling it the 6-6 formation.

Between them and their Nigerian colleague Daniel Amokachi, they rattled off several holding midfielders that successful teams were built around. Like Essien and Mikel at Chelsea right now. How Real Madrid collapsed once Makele was shipped out to Chelsea, after misguidedly being perceived as over-valued in the galaticos era. Even Palacios helping Spurs reach the Champions League this season.

And that issue of value came up. Barnes mentioned that England’s best player, Gerrard, could play there. But we’d all feel that it would be a “waste”. In his view, the English game under-values this most important of positions in today’s game.

It reminded me of Eric Cantona’s dismissive description once he’d been booted out the French set-up of Deschamps; nothing more than a “water-carrier”. He then captained them to World Cup glory.

Who’s your unsung hero? The one that stops opponents attacking, that launches and supports your own offensives? Whether in your own sales team or client-side, maybe it’s time to acknowledge their true value too?

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