At last a win for the Rams on Saturday at the seventh time of asking this season. But it seems that head coach Paul Clement may soon be getting the label of “tinker-man” as he made a number of changes this weekend.
Yes, all the plaudits will go to Chris Martin for his two excellent strikes in the first half of a game they thoroughly deserved to win. But this week’s social media meltdown came at 2pm when the team was announced.
Five changes were made. Two were to allow Derby’s record-breaking transfer deadline day midfield duo to be included. Two more were tactical with our full-backs being rotated. But the one that grabbed the headlines and caused the most head scratching was the inclusion of Lee Grant in goal. Scott Carson was on the bench so he couldn’t have been injured, and he hasn’t put a foot wrong so far this season. Has he had a “falling out” with the boss?
Well it seems not as Mr Clement explained in his post-match press conference. He said that he had two very good goalkeepers and chooses which one to pick on a per match basis!! (Not verbose but that was the jist of it). A very strange circumstance if true of course. Only time will tell whether he actually meant that or if he was just trying to justify his decision. If Carson is picked on Tuesday night against Reading then it’s a distinct possibility. But if Grant stays in for the next few games then maybe there’s something more to it than we think.
I was trying to think of any other time that this has happened in the past, and the only time I can remember anything similar (and yes I am old enough to remember it) was when the late Ron Greenwood rotated Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton in every other game for England. But that was international football and with two truly great goalkeepers.
And has Clement maybe set a precedence with that decision. What is to stop some of the fringe players from knocking at his door with the same question in the future? These are all light hearted questions of course, but more seriously though, I hope our head coach is not trying to please everyone in the squad. I’ve seen that happen too many times in the past, and very rarely does it work.
For me personally I would stick with Grant in goal. I’ve got nothing against Carson at all but for me Grant should be our number one.
And it makes a change to be talking about something less trivial, although we did lose another player through injury – Chris Baird being the unlucky one this time.
One thing is for sure, there will more scrutiny of Tuesday night’s team selection than normal. But as long as the Rams bring home another three points, I don’t think too many will that bothered.