Cardiff City Season Review: Gavin Rae
4: Gavin Rae
Cardiff City`s midfield was a weakness and in many fans` eyes - this unit, and the inability of Dave Jones to identify a winning formula were the main reasons for our failure to reach the play-offs. Gavin Rae was one man regularly selected in the central midfield - perhaps unsurprisingly as only two natural central midfielders were selected all season!
Rae`s partnership with McPhail was under severe pressure last season and that pressure only intensified this year. It is absolutely clear that Rae and McPhail are not well suited as a partnership with both lacking creativity and neither comfortable in possession and able to drive the team forward. Rae`s partnership with Joe Ledley was by far the best we saw, but even this has some major shortcomings.
Gavin Rae is by no means a stand-out player in our squad. He rarely makes the final pass or telling contribution while you often hope it`s not up to him when we create a shooting opportunity. However, you do get a great deal of effort, determination and work-rate from the Scottish International. He does effective work breaking up opposition attacks and closes down effectively. His distribution is weak but I do feel sorry for him at times with McPhail, Whittingham and Parry all prone to hide behind opponents and fail to present for the ball. One thing you can say about Gavin Rae is that he didn`t hide this season, when things were tough he kept plugging away at his natural game and whilst he was less effective than he can be - he did contribute.
Just one goal all season for Rae, he was disappointed with the tally but it was a great goal as he collected McPhail`s pass and coolly rounded the 'keeper. Twice he also rattled the crossbar as it seemed luck had deserted him in front of goal. Rae is a defensive minded midfielder and alongside a creative player - he is effective. If he is to keep his place in the side next season, Rae must develop certain aspects of his game - but would certainly be helped by a better functioning midfield unit.
Season`s Rating: 6