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ANDY CRYER COLUMN: Rhodes needs service to be top of the Scots
JORDAN Rhodes arrives at Ewood Park with a massive amount of expectation heaped on to his young shoulders.
I just hope he gets better treatment at the club than David Goodwillie ever did.
If he doesn’t, Rovers’ £8million man will wish he had never come.
There is no doubt the club have paid over the odds for Rhodes’ signature, but if that is what it took to get him – after they set their hearts on him – then so be it. That was the price that had to be paid.
Venky’s have to be praised for splashing out such a large sum for a young British striker – even if it was a trifle lavish – with their Cham-pionship rivals understandably green with envy.
Rovers thought they had signed a goalscorer when they brought David Goodwillie to the club a year ago though, but transfer deadline day saw him move to Crystal Palace on loan after a truly uninspiring 12 months at Ewood.
So what happened? This was a man who was way ahead of Rhodes in the Scottish pecking orderand who was prolific for Dundee United – albeit in a lesser quality league.
Most who knew him expected him to flourish in the Premier League, but that was without considering they system that Rovers were to play.
Goodwillie was actually doomed to failure from the off. He was never going to be able to play the lone striker role and, with Yakubu showing such prolific form in front of goal, a lengthy spell on the bench was inevitable.
Things could have been very different for ‘Goodie’ had he been utilised differently. In a two-pronged attack with Yakubu, maybe he would have shone?
We will never know.
The player himself must wonder what he did wrong. He must also regret coming to a club that was never going to play a system duited to his talents. Perhaps he should have done his home-work first.
That is why my eyebrows were raised at such cash being spent on Rhodes. A player who has scored most of his goals at Huddersfield, with players creating the chances alongside him. He was allowed to be the ‘Johnny on the spot’, solely focus-ing on banging the ball into the back of the net.
If Rovers continue their current ‘lone striker’ system, those days could be long gone.
His debut at Elland Road showed he has a good touch and strong link-up play. It showed nothing of his finishing brilliance – and that is what the money was paid for.
Most of Rhodes’ best work was done with his back to goal and too far away from the penalty area. He did nothing wrong, but he wasn’t able to show his best attributes.
The youngster needs a striking partner.
He needs a striker playing close to him and enabling him to be waiting where he can do the most damage. In the penalty box.
Rhodes clearly has the ability to become a fans’ favourite at Ewood Park.
What he needs now is a system where he can deliver his best.
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