At the top is forward Rosella Ayane.
Ramble of the Day
It’s been a minute since I asked one of those open-ended questions, so here’s one: What type of player do you find most endearing?
You could answer the question by simply naming a positions — an answer like wingback or forward is perfectly acceptable. Feel free to get as creative as you like, though. I have! My answer is the defensively-minded player who is unexpectedly chaotic.
I noticed this years ago, when Juan Foyth was still on the books at Tottenham. He was always a reckless presence on the pitch, and cost the team on several occasions. I couldn’t help but laugh it off each and every time, despite the goals conceded and points lost. I’m sure part of it was youth and inexperience. For me, though, a lot of it down to the fact that there’s a certain novelty to the defensive player who is a bit too risky for their own good.
Practically, defenders can be just as risky as anyone else on the pitch. Foyth’s problem was also probably one of execution, because there are plenty of calculated risks defenders have to take. It’s built both into the title and the reputation that defenders are the most risk-averse players, though. Sometimes, the ability to protect is the only thing defensive-minded players are judged by. It’s why I find the reckless defender so enjoyable.
This type of player inherently rejects the notion that defenders have one task. They do so in the most entertaining way, too — being ultra-defensive can be fairly boring, and the risky defender means the attackers are not the only entertainers on the pitch. It adds an element of surprise each and every time an attacker gets closer to goal. Attackers should be unpredictable, but matching that with an unpredictable defender can create a moment that keeps you engaged in the match. It’s not always a recipe for disaster for the defender, which allows for an unpredictability that always adds entertainment value to a match.
It is time to embrace the fact that defenders, too, have range.
tl;dr: My favorite type of player is the risky defender because they add intrigue in more ways than one.
Stay informed, read this: Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas on her passion for the game and navigating the sport as a woman for The Players’ Tribune
Links of the Day
content warning: sexual assault
Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy was charged with an additional count of attempted rape.
Honduras’ Luis López was treated for hypothermia during the team’s 3-0 loss at the US.
Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood was released on bail following his arrest on suspicion of rape, sexual assault, assault, and threats to kill.
Raith Rovers’ women’s team cut ties with the club after the men’s team signed a player who was found guilty of rape in 2017.
Barcelona signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a free.
Everton women fired manager Jean-Luc Vasseur after only ten matches in charge.
A longer read: Tariq Panja on the lingering questions for the Premier League months after Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund took over Newcastle for The New York Times