Jamie Redknapp nails it with his analysis of Southampton's Shane Long
Jamie Redknapp played with some top forwards in his day. He also shared the pitch with some... triers.
For every Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen the midfielder played with, there was Brett Ormerod, Dexter Blackstock, Hélder Postiga and Titi Camara. Honest pros but names that would hardly strike fear into opposition defences.
Redknapp is 12 seasons retired and has been working as a pundit ever since. He's getting there.
In fairness, Redknapp does not shy away when an opinion is sought. He doesn't always get his calls right but he's out there, week on week, calling away.
Looking ahead to Southampton's away date with struggling Crystal Palace, Redknapp was asked about Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long being called in to replace Marco Gabiaddini. His response was dripping with condescension but, looking at Long's career to date, it is hard to argue with much of what the former England midfielder had to say.
Redknapp told Sky Sports:
"I wouldn't say he's a natural goalscorer but with Gabiaddini, who has been the main man for Southampton, the goals have obviously dried up for him. I imagine when the team-sheets came through, Scott Dann and Timothy Fosu Mensah - the Palace central back - thought, 'Hmmm, that gives us a bit of a different problem'. He will run in behind. He chases balls, chases lost causes. Not necessarily technically the best but he will chase everything. As a defender that's the last thing you'd want. You'd rather have someone like Gabiaddini who gets the ball in to his feet. Yes, he comes alive in the box but this guy chases things. And you're going to find yourself running back to your own goal a lot.
"As a midfield player, you know you can just hook the ball in and he will chase it. He makes bad balls look good. Is he the answer from a goalscoring point of view? Maybe not but he'll give you great energy up there and I think that's probably what Southampton are missing at the moment."
Redknapp's analysis might seem condescending, but then you look at the numbers - three goals in his last 37 Premier League games for Long and none since February 11th - and one can't but see where Redknapp is coming from. Anyone who watched Long in action in the recent World Cup qualifiers would be inclined to second the pundit's analysis.
— Robert Redmond (@RobRedmond10) September 2, 2017
Long, though, is a player that gives his best returns when he gets a run of games. Finding the net in a league game, soon, would surely help his cause.