THERE has been talk this week about whether Blackburn Rovers need a playmaker next season. Some have said it should be Ruben Rochina, but I’m not sure about that.
Ruben is a talented player but he has only shown it in glimpse at Rovers.
We’ll have to see what happens with him this summer but Gary Bowyer loaned him out to Rayo Vallecano for the second half of the season so you wonder whether he might not be in the manager’s long-term plans.
I know Ruben has had injuries and that must have been hard for him. But it’s whether you can rely on him to perform consistently, week in week out.
You can’t afford to carry one or two players in the Championship.
I think maybe the English game is too fast for him and too physical. Possibly in Spain there’s a gentler pace and that suits him more than the hustle and bustle here.
Ruben has had two loan spells back in Spain now and you could understand it if he does maybe prefer it there.
David Dunn has had a playmaker role over the years but he’s getting older and it’s getting harder for him to fill that role in every game.
It would be a great to have a Tugay type in there with his experience who can dictate the play, but those types of players don’t come along very often and they cost a lot of money.
I’m not actually sure whether Rovers do need what I’d term a playmaker at the moment.
It depends on what system they play. If you play one up front with someone sitting in front of the back four like Steven Gerrard does now at Liverpool, then you do need a playmaker.
But you would expect they would look to play a 4-4-2 again next season, with Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes up front because they were scoring goals at the end of the season.
I think in that system you don’t necessarily need a playmaker.
What you maybe need is someone with experience in central midfield, maybe 28 or 29, who can put their foot on the ball.
Lee Williamson is probably the only one of Rovers’ central midfielders with experience but he’s maybe not that type of player, he’s more one who stops the opposition from playing.
But whether Rovers can bring in another central midfield depends on their budget.
I know some fans have concerns that playing two of Williamson, Jason Lowe and Corry Evans in central midfield leaves you with two players who are too similar.
It is about having that balance, you need one player who sits and one who gets up and down like a Frank Lampard.
Tom Cairney is versatile, he has played out wide and in the centre at various points.
Sometimes that versatility can work against you. Look at Phil Jones at Manchester Untied who plays right back, midfield and centre half, he doesn’t have one position.