Date:Friday September 9 2011
Cardiff City's young utility player Darcy Blake has features regularly in the first team over the past few seasons - but has never made any position his own, instead covering for various positions while other players were unavailable.
In some ways, Blake was a victim of his own versatility, having operated effectively on either flank in defence, and in central midfield role. His best performances came in a centre-back position, though doubts remain as to his positioning and physique for that role.
Former Bluebird James Collins was suspended for Wales this week, and Blake was surprisingly given the nod to stand-in alongside Ashley Williams. Blake was exceptional, and impressed so much that Collins was left out for the game with England. An established, Premiership centre-back and important player for Aston Villa, kept out by a squad player at a mid-to-top end Championship side.
The 1-0 defeat to England was encouraging, with Blake again on form. Wayne Rooney was anonymous, an impressive feat - especially given the Manchester United man's stunning form of late. Blake even caused problems at the other end, and laid on a fantastic chance for team-mate Earnshaw, the little striker would've scored 49 times out of 50.
Plenty has been said and written about Blake's performances, but he remains out of the starting XI at Cardiff City. I'm sure Malky Mackay would like to reward his form, but where can you fit Blake in? In place of Kevin McNaughton - that would be highly unfair on the Scotsman. Andrew Taylor on the other side has also been steady, and is surely a safer bet on the left. Central midfield was an option, but the returns of Aron Gunnarsson and Filip Kiss would seem to put pay to that possibility.
That once again leaves centre-back, but City have an embarrassment of options there. Hudson and Gerrard are experienced and natural centre-halves. Ben Turner will surely come into contention, while Dekel Keinan and Gabor Gyepes are both more naturally suited to the role, but way down the pecking order.
Unfortunately for Blake, it seems we're always trying to 'fit him in' rahter than him fighting for a specific spot. However, we know he won't let us down, and with the reduction of substitutes to only 5 - a player able to effectively cover so many positions becomes a very useful proposition. Hopefully, Darcy will get his chance - and continue his impressive development and form.
This week saw Cardiff City Football Club, and football in general overshadowed by the tragic and untimely death of lifelong Bluebirds fan Mike Dye. Mikey was known to many around the club and many were extremely saddened and hurt to hear of the incident which took his life. Circumstances surrounding the events of Tuesday events have not been helped by some upsetting and ill-founded press reports, with some despicable and hurtful allegations made by supposedly reputable media sources.
If you are able, and would like to make a contribution to Mikey`s partner Nathalie, and their children as they try to come to terms with this tragedy, please donate here.
Date:Friday September 9 2011
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