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Getting the best out of Scott Parker


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Guest Knightrider

OK the "he's shit, get rid" brigade have had their say, so I'm offering an alternative discussion for those who don't believe he is shit and wouldn't like to see us get rid of him, those who recognise his weaknesses but also see his strengths and would like to see him used properly, whether that be as a box to box midfielder or a defensive one.

 

For me, I don't think he has the attacking instincts nor the creative eye to play as an attacking midfielder so he's wasted in that role. No, I think his best position is as a defensive midfielder, a destroyer or anchorman if you like.

 

I base this on his core skills or attributes and his many sterling performances in that role under Souness, not blind optimism or some baseless argument.

 

We have been crying out for such a player for years now, since Batty departed, and here we have a player with the key attribuites needed to fulfil that role. Of course he is not the greatest of defensive midfielders and won't develop into one, unless he can learn the role fully and gains more than a years worth of experience in that role. In short he needs to be played as one and told that's his game, that's his career at Newcastle United. He is intelligent enough and dedicated enough to master it, I believe anyway.

 

Lets look at some of his core skills shall we...

 

Selflessness (an underrated trait) - Parker is an unselfish player, ideal traits for the role of defensive anchorman.

 

Pace - He is deceptively quick and while you don't need to be quick to play this role, it is a bonus nonetheless, this will allow him to cover the ground quickly.

 

Energy - One of his biggest assets, a must have for any modern day anchorman who are required to jocky, support, press, tackle, get back up, and cover the grass right left and center.

 

Good short passer - A defensive midfielder's job first and foremost is to destroy, to break up play, to win the ball for others, Parker rarely wastes a short ball and is more than competent enough playing the quick, short ball to team-mates.

 

Good tackler - Contrary to popular belief Parker is a decent tackler as proved by the few number of dismissals and yellow cards he picks up for actual tackling, and the few players who have been injured as a result of his tackling. I've read his tackling described as rushing in, sliding tackles that look good but do very little. Bull, he is no Paul Scholes who DOES slide in or rushes in. Parker isn't a wreckless tackler like Scholes or Gerrard, players who do rush in, he wins more than his fair share cleanly, as evidenced by the few fouls he's given away inside and outside the box, despite putting in many tackles in and outside the box.

 

Pressing - Parker is tactically spot on regarding the pressing component of game play (I've not seen a better presser of space, the ball and opponent than Parker in a Toon shirt), he learned a great deal at Chelsea regarding pressing evidently, a key component of their "transitional play" game. Watch him press compared to Butt and prior to him Bowyer for example, who bump into players and concede free-kicks, yellows or as in the case of Bowyer and Butt, aggitate leading to warring with the opposition for persistent kicking, disrupting the flow of our own play as much as the opposition's in the process and running the risk of falling foul to the ref. Pressing is an art form in discipline, and the front line of defending, to play a defensive midfield role successfuly you have to be both disciplined and skilled in pressing, something Butt isn't that great at, remember his red card against Hapoel Bnei Sakhnin not long after coming on? He just isn't on top of his discipline like Parker is and against quicker and skilful players Butt will be a liability in terms of free-kicks conceded and the attention of the ref as a result. That is why Roeder put Parker on Gerrard and not Butt , why Mourinho earmarked Parker as Makalele's long-term successor, and why Fergie considered him as a replacement for Keane and why Houllier also tried to buy him and Benitez rates him highly.

 

Good technique - Parker's close control is superb at times, for a non-creative player he is quite a decent dribbler which allows him to get himself out of tight situations very well. Technically he is better than Butt, our other defensive midfielder. This isn't opinion, you can see it in their general games when recieving the ball, running with it and their form (not form as in performances, their posture when striking the ball, or controlling it). The ball very rarely bounces off and away from Parker where as Butt needs more space and time in which to seize control of the ball or tends to give it away cheaply at times, something he is guilty of a lot if you look out for it. He did it numerous times away to Spurs, only for Dyer to win the ball back for him using his pace and energy.

 

On top of all that Parker is still young, very committed and has a spot on character, he will run all day for the course and is the embodiment of work rate, leading by example and consistency, again, more underrated character traits.

 

The way I see it Parker's job as a DCM would be to sit and protect the back four, to stop or break up play, to press and harass, to do the donkey work and of course, win it for his team-mates. I'd hand him a zone, and instruct him to operate within that zone strictly. That zone would restrict him from entering the final third like a centre-back is restricted to only operate within a certain zone and told to never venture away from that zone unless he has no option to, i.e. if isolated, breached or told to go forward to bolster attack late in a game slipping away, ala Huth at Chelsea often, or Terry, hyypia at Liverpool, Ferdinand at Man Utd or Campbell at Arsenal before he left.

 

By having such a committed specific player in the team protecting the back four, it gives those ahead of him the security they need to attack the opposition, and would allow us to play more attack minded players or to press higher up. Man Utd currently play this way, with Carrick that protection, instructed to sit and play the ball to others, to not venture beyond his zone, and what he lacks in tackling ability he makes up for it in his ability to pass the ball.

 

While many point to Carrick and ask him to demand more of the ball, to get further forward and to get more goals because "he has the ability" they fail to realise that would break Man Utd's system if he did that willy nilly. Fergie doesn't care about Carrick becoming this all-round player who gets goals, he bought him specifically to do a certain job, a limited job and doesn't care that Carrick often goes long periods without getting involved, just by having him there and as security, able to do a specific role, he's doing a job for the team with or without touching the ball, or more tellingly a job for Man Utd's attacking players.

 

And should Man Utd's play breakdown, who is there, always? Why Carrick who can pick the pieces back up and play it to one of Rooney, Scholes, Ronaldo et al on the offensive. That is why they break rapidly because their forward line is always advanced and they always have someone to feed them the ball. Did anyone watch MOTD the other night and see their analysis of Man Utd's movements towards the end of their game against Fulham? They often had 4 players in the final third at most times. They couldn't do that without a Carrick, because there would be a big massive hole in midfield and not only an obstacle to block the opposition, but someone to get Man Utd moving again, unless Vidic is going to come into midfield and feed the forwards.

 

If their game is a game of poker, Carrick is the dealer.

 

Anyway back to NUFC and Parker and the other key to getting the best out of him and thus improving that midfield and attack of ours - we need to find him a partner, a playmaker, someone quick, with brains, who can carry the ball, ala Ronaldo, Rooney or Scholes, neither of whom are great tacklers or defensive minded, someone who can knit play further afield (oh for a Beardsley...). In many ways the game has come full circle, teams often operate with a forward line of three or four these days, Barca, Man Utd, Arsenal, even Liverpool a cautious and pragmatic side, same with Chelsea and to play that way you need someone whose sole responsibility in the cold hard of light is to sit and win the ball for others. Parker is that player or can be that player IMO, he has all the skills, attributes and traits.

 

People see DCMs and think "too defensive", no it isn't, it is the key to attacking play, and remember attacking is the key to winning games, and the first line of defence. KK nearly won the league that way, Man Utd are winning this one that way, with more forwards than midfielders, Chelsea won the last two that way and Barca won the CL playing like that, so did Italy, who didn't have any wingers or box to box midfielders or traditional central midfielders.

 

Why spend fortunes on a DCM, when we have one already he just needs to play there and grow into the role.

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DCM = DMC? :D

 

tbh,This is THE place to play parker in,just in front of the defender,so he can protect them and cover for any mistakes made by the likes of Bramble and Ramage

 

I don't understand why Roeder gives him a role that looks more like an AMC/just behind the strikers then a more defensive role,Parker is Scholes/Makalele type Midfielder who can do the dirty work while others assist and score,he is class in doing this,ever since Roeder said that he wants him to be "Our Gerrard" and gave him a bigger role in the attack he seemed to have very less impact on the field,and people started saying things about him being shit and not good enough,its not his fault,like you said he is a DCM,and he got everything it takes to be a great one aswell,so why ruin whats work and change his postion?

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This Gerrard box-to-box bullshit has pissed me off to no end. He rarely gets a game in central midfield for Liverpool because Pool as a team play miles better when players with the right attributes for central midfield, players like Macherano, Sissoko and Xabi Alonso, are played in central midfield.

 

Parker's game has been destroyed in this attempt to turn him into another Gerrard/Lampard, and for that Roeder needs to be blamed the most. Hes an idiot of a manager who no doubt was stunned by Parker's goal against Charlton last season and said to himself "damn, if I can get Parker doing that every game I'll be rolling around in trophies".

 

Parker just needs to be played as an anchorman, with no creative or scoring responsibility, and hed be a class act. I see no reason why Parker cant be as good as someone like Mascherano, a class player who does nowt except mop up in front of the back four, win tackles, and play very simple passes. He just needs to be told to distribute the ball immediately, he shouldnt hang onto it, thats all.

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This Gerrard box-to-box bullshit has pissed me off to no end. He rarely gets a game in central midfield for Liverpool because Pool as a team play miles better when players with the right attributes for central midfield, players like Macherano, Sissoko and Xabi Alonso, are played in central midfield.

 

Parker's game has been destroyed in this attempt to turn him into another Gerrard/Lampard, and for that Roeder needs to be blamed the most. Hes an idiot of a manager who no doubt was stunned by Parker's goal against Charlton last season and said to himself "damn, if I can get Parker doing that every game I'll be rolling around in trophies".

 

Parker just needs to be played as an anchorman, with no creative or scoring responsibility, and hed be a class act. I see no reason why Parker cant be as good as someone like Mascherano, a class player who does nowt except mop up in front of the back four, win tackles, and play very simple passes. He just needs to be told to distribute the ball immediately, he shouldnt hang onto it, thats all.

 

My points entirely, Tmonkey.

 

Excellent point regarding Gerrard BTW, someone I've always thought would be better on the right, I posted that on Liverpool's forum at the start of last season to a few boss eyed replies and that's where Rafa played him and he subsequently had the season of his life.

 

I recently watched England under-21s against Spain's youngsters, for 60 minutes or so Nigel Reo-Coker was playing as what can only be described as Roeder's Parker, stuck between attack and defence not quite knowing what to do. Once Huddlestone came off injured (the anchorman can you believe) NRC reverted to that role and subsequently looked twice the player and out came all his attributes within quick succession as he performed a mini cameo of excellence in that role.

 

That player will probably have his career messed about too, yet he has all the attributes to play and excel in that role.

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This Gerrard box-to-box bullshit has pissed me off to no end. He rarely gets a game in central midfield for Liverpool because Pool as a team play miles better when players with the right attributes for central midfield, players like Macherano, Sissoko and Xabi Alonso, are played in central midfield.

 

Parker's game has been destroyed in this attempt to turn him into another Gerrard/Lampard, and for that Roeder needs to be blamed the most. Hes an idiot of a manager who no doubt was stunned by Parker's goal against Charlton last season and said to himself "damn, if I can get Parker doing that every game I'll be rolling around in trophies".

 

Parker just needs to be played as an anchorman, with no creative or scoring responsibility, and hed be a class act. I see no reason why Parker cant be as good as someone like Mascherano, a class player who does nowt except mop up in front of the back four, win tackles, and play very simple passes. He just needs to be told to distribute the ball immediately, he shouldnt hang onto it, thats all.

 

My points entirely, Tmonkey.

 

Excellent point regarding Gerrard BTW, someone I've always thought would be better on the right, I posted that on Liverpool's forum at the start of last season to a few boss eyed replies and that's where Rafa played him and he subsequently had the season of his life.

 

I recently watched England under-21s against Spain's youngsters, for 60 minutes or so Nigel Reo-Coker was playing as what can only be described as Roeder's Parker, stuck between attack and defence not quite knowing what to do. Once Huddlestone came off injured (the anchorman can you believe) NRC reverted to that role and subsequently looked twice the player and out came all his attributes within quick succession as he performed a mini cameo of excellence in that role.

 

That player will probably have his career messed about too, yet he has all the attributes to play and excel in that role.

 

Agree entirely with all of this as well. I have been avoiding the Parker argument for as long as possible and I'm glad to see you lads speaking my thoughts, I just hope he gets a game as a defensive midfielder with N'Zogbia or Dyer and Roeder realises he's our best option there.

 

Nicky Butt has been every bit as bad as Scott Parker lately, yet for some reason is still heralded for a few excellent performances previously in the campaign.

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Parker looks to me like a player who isn't completely happy. Whether he hasn't settled in the area, or he's pissed off at the way the club is run, or whatever, I don't know. But I suspect it's something like that, buzzing away in his head, which no amount of tactical changes will really alter.

 

And yes, I know he's said he's happy at Newcastle, but that's no real indication, because he could hardly say anything else.

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Parker looks to me like a player who isn't completely happy. Whether he hasn't settled in the area, or he's pissed off at the way the club is run, or whatever, I don't know. But I suspect it's something like that, buzzing away in his head, which no amount of tactical changes will really alter.

 

And yes, I know he's said he's happy at Newcastle, but that's no real indication, because he could hardly say anything else.

 

He's not himself is he? I think the forced changes to his game has upset the applecart or him not being able to adapt to it is pissing him off, that and his stop start season due to injuries, I also don't think he's recovered from his Glandular Fever yet either, in fact it is almost a certainty he hasn't. He seems to get knackered to easy or too quickly these days, looks fatigued. He'll put in a Liverpool shift and disappear for a few games as if he's catching his breath. And before people accuse me of making excuses on his behalf, check up on Glandular Fever or ask someone about it who has suffered from it, it never leaves your system and can take years to recover from.

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Aye good point about G.F, it knocks the stuffing out of you for years.

 

Think Parker is a good player, but not as an attacking midfielder by any stretch of the imagination. If we had the players to suit him he'd stand out more, but Roeder has to decide whether to try and build the midfield around Parker in the summer or to let him go and start again.

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I think his job should be protecting the back four and to break forward whenever possible. His defensive attributes are better than his attacking ones, imo. If we play him as an attacking midfielder then you’re not going to get much out of him through out the season.  He should be played as a DM…. he’d do an excellent job for the team and his attacking attributes would seem a like a bonus to us when he has to attack. 

 

By moving him forward, Roeder has ruined Parker’s game and also disturbed the team’s rhythm.

 

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I think what we need badly is a classy playmaker in there, between the anchor and point of attack, we could play Dyer there to some degree of success as he does make good runs and can carry the ball, but I question his creative eye, I think he hesitates too much and is far too unsure of himself to play killer balls or to conjure up something out of nothing. A Beardsley alongside Parker as a defensive midfielder would be a wet dream come true, with pace and trickery down the flanks and movement and pace ahead of him we would be some attacking force. That's what we badly need in my opinion, a playmaker. I tell you who would be perfect, Tevez, he's strong enough and quick enough to play deep and obviously has the brains.

 

We don't need to play a flat midfield, the top teams don't, admittedly they have better defenders and that is something we also need to address but the rules have been ripped to pieces in latter years concerning midfield and traditional ways.

 

Chelsea won two titles by playing 1-3-1, i.e. four attacking forward players ahead of a one man midfield. Man Utd are winning this one playing a similar system, with Carrick as the one midfielder, and Giggs, Scholes, Rooney, Ronaldo and Larsson/Saha as the forwards.

 

Just think, our most successful period in the modern game came about by playing 4 forwards ahead of a one man midfield, Lee the midfielder (and even then he was mostly attack), behind Beardsley, Ginola, Gillespie and Sir Les as the 4 forwards.

 

And what about Bobby's team? One true midfielder (Speed) behind all those forward attacking players.

 

Arsenal don't play a strict midfield of two central midfielders and two wide men, neither do Liverpool, Barca and at international level the likes of Italy, even Bolton don't play a flat midfield.

 

We don't need to follow conventional wisdom, I'd play Parker as a DCM behind a five man forward line of Milner, Dyer, N'Zogbia, Owen and Martins, although I'd like to see a centre-forward up front personally and a proper playmaker in there to replace Dyer.

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By moving him forward, Roeder has ruined Parker’s game and also disturbed the team’s rhythm.

 

Great point, and often overlooked.

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By moving him forward, Roeder has ruined Parker’s game and also disturbed the team’s rhythm.

 

Great point, and often overlooked.

 

Parker I believe has said he doesn't see himself as a DM, and the manager doesn't either. Until they address that, and as long as he's our more offensive minded central midfield player, we're going to struggle to beat the teams we feel we should beat consistently.

 

I said my piece in the other thread and it was generally quite negative, but I certainly see what he could offer to the team, if used right. He could be a very effective DM, and he put in some terrific performances in that position last season. He's generally done better for us this season in games where we'd be expected to be under the cosh and have to fight for results, tough away games or home games against the top sides. There the defensive/workrate side of his game is being tested more than what he offers on the ball. And he equitts himself well when faced with such tests.

 

But in games where we'd be favourites going in, and are expected to take the game to our opponents, he's exposed. Butt's the supposed holding midfield player, so Parker's job is no longer to support him in trying to stop the stronger opposition from overwhelming us, but to create good playmaking from the middle of the park.

 

And he'll never do that. He's limited on the ball but, as tmonkey says, you can still be a top class player without being fantastically gifted on the ball. Take Roy Keane for example, solid ball player but a player who became truly world class by doing things that Parker looks capable of doing. It's just how you use your strenghts, and avoid your weaknesses.

 

Of course Keane wasn't harmed by having Beckham, Giggs and Scholes making up his midfield compatriots. And therein lies the point, we need to find someone to be our Scholes. We've a couple of good young wingers in Zoggy and Milner who can get at teams and get crosses into the box for years to come. Add a quality, ball-playing center midfielder to dictate our play and provide service to the wingers and Martins and Owen, thereby allowing Parker to play a simple, effective, disciplined game.

 

A quality playmaker and two potentially very good wingers providing good service to Michael Owen and Oba Martins is a very attractove proposition, and I think Parker could do the dirty work to make us a formidable team. Assuming we get a couple of good full backs and a center half as well.

 

But Roeder and Parker really need to wake up and between them see that playing him as an attacking midfielder is just a shambles. It must have crossed Parker's mind a few times that he hasn't exactly done a whole lot for us going forward this season, and that maybe the holding midfield role is where he's meant to play. If he doesn't see it himself  I'm not particularly confident Roeder will either see or address the issue. It needs to be addressed and sorted for next season.

 

We're pissing in the wind until then.

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Fantastic post Shak, agree with everything you say and it is a welcome change to see some actual thinking being done on the subject, even if we are all pissing in the wind. Tomorrow: Getting the best out of Peter Ramage.

 

Actually, we should do a series for each player. I bagsie, erm, eh, oooh, lets think - Duff, a poor signing past his best in my opinion who is shit and we should get rid of. I like challenges.

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agree with every word of the original post.

 

My hats off to all the posters who have some degree of learning in footy tactics etc.

 

Very informative to the rest of us who's scant knowledge pretty much comes from fm.

 

PS. Getting the best out of Shola Ameobi? :p

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Getting the best out of Parker?

 

If we are playing possessive football ala Barca Parker would be an enormous asset.

 

But if we are playing quick counter attack as we are clearly more capable of, then Parker is half useful and half useless. He is extremely important and useful in protecting the back four and withstand the continuous pressure asserted by the opposition. He will break up a lot of play and win a lot of balls for us. However after he wins the possession he is not very useful. He couldn't release the ball fast and forward enough though he can retain the ball very very well. Our other players attacking players are generally quite weak in keeping the possessions, and obviously lacking the nous to play possessive football. Hence Parker's ball retaining contribution is often wasted.

 

We can debate till the end of the world as whether Parker is better stationed further up or down the pitch but you can never fault Parker's effort. He has never neglected his defensive duty wherever he plays. For this simple reason I agree with Roeder that he should play further up front so that he can also contribute to our limited attacking play.

 

Really, I am sick of this Parker bashing bandwagon. There are a lot of major problems in our general game plan that easily overshadow the limitation of individual player. Our ineffective long ball game (even when Sib get the ball he chests it back to midfield which completely nullifies the intention), our imbalance wing (good right wing play with Milner hugging the sideline with Solano doing everything else, very poor left wing play with N'Zogbia injured, Duff out of form, Pattison not very good, Babayaro in capable of overlapping and any other left back offering no attacking threats), keeper losing possession easily etc.

 

Get a working gameplan please Mr Roeder. One can point out to our midtable position and suggest that our counter attacking game plan is working. But considering the players we have we are underachieving without a doubt. Martins, Emre, Dyer, Milner, Solano, Duff, Butt, Taylor, Bramble. These are the players who have the abilities to play counter attacking game. If we still can't play good counter attacking game then we are not playing it properly.

 

Roeder should coach the players (according to the gameplan) properly first and foremost. What's the point of attacking a player who does whatever the coach asks for and plays best to his abilities?? As if Parker is the cancer of the club. Bellamy, causing rifts and finding troubles with manager and captain, nonetheless neither scoring enough goals nor providing enough assists, is being passionately defended here. Yet Parker, the antithesis of Bellamy, is being slaughtered here.

 

They say the Geordie fans are deluded.

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There could be something in the idea that seeing as he's not making a good job either of the defensive nor the attacking roles in the middle of a 4-4-2, he might be better off in one of the in-between roles that you get in a Chelsea-style 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 -

 

Parker Butt (DM) Emre

   Dyer Milner

       Martins

 

But just to throw another idea into the post, maybe the Captaincy doesn't help him. He looks a bit tense and inhibited on and off the field at the moment. Even when he's being interviewed after we've won, he looks a bit miserable. He also seems a bit quiet for a Captain.

 

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I like him but he isn't good enough to 'accommodate' in our team. It's not like he's some creative genius we should building a team around. We seem to have better central midfield partnerships and 4-4-2 suits our personnel imo.

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Anyway back to NUFC and Parker and the other key to getting the best out of him and thus improving that midfield and attack of ours - we need to find him a partner, a playmaker, someone quick, with brains, who can carry the ball, ala Ronaldo, Rooney or Scholes, neither of whom are great tacklers or defensive minded, someone who can knit play further afield (oh for a Beardsley...).

 

 

This is why I'm so confused as to why the Parker/Emre-partnership hasn't worked out well, really. Granted, some of the flak this partnership has received on this board is grossly exaggerated, but it definitely hasn't worked as well as it has the potential to do - and by potential I mean that Emre does indeed possess the skills you're advertising for here. He's quick, got great technique, passes the ball well, and he's a good finisher to boot. So why isn't it working? Well, in my opinion, it's all down to Roeder really. Unless there's something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about, players bullheading to play the positions they want to play in (ie Parker not wanting to be a DMC, or Emre not comfortable in that particular position), I'm thinking Roeder simply doesn't have the managerial or tactical skills to employ the players in their right positions, which is the only real big drawback I can think of about him.

 

The other option is obviously Dyer, and I think stringing a good run of games together, he'd make the perfect partner for Parker, cos let's face it; he does have the attributes to be a great success in that position, just as long as he can stay fit really. This would also allow us to play a real striker upfront with Martins, and add something we've been lacking whenever Sibierski hasn't been on the pitch; strength and presence. Martins really needs someone to play off to function properly, and I'm sort of wondering if Ameobi and Martins would be more than half-decent together.

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There could be something in the idea that seeing as he's not making a good job either of the defensive nor the attacking roles in the middle of a 4-4-2, he might be better off in one of the in-between roles that you get in a Chelsea-style 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 -

 

Parker Butt (DM) Emre

   Dyer Milner

       Martins

 

But just to throw another idea into the post, maybe the Captaincy doesn't help him. He looks a bit tense and inhibited on and off the field at the moment. Even when he's being interviewed after we've won, he looks a bit miserable. He also seems a bit quiet for a Captain.

 

 

You are ignoring our best midfielder in that formation.

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Getting the best out of Parker?

 

As if Parker is the cancer of the club. Bellamy, causing rifts and finding troubles with manager and captain, nonetheless neither scoring enough goals nor providing enough assists, is being passionately defended here. Yet Parker, the antithesis of Bellamy, is being slaughtered here.

 

 

 

Firstly, Bellamy wasn't the cancer of the club, that was Souness' role, 100%.

 

Secondly, Bellamy on the pitch was at least as useful in his role as Parker has been in his.

 

No doubt, Parker is a nicer person, but both come across as dedicated players on the pitch, just with different skills and ways of portraying themsleves.

 

Parkers attitude, personality and application have never really been in doubt, but his performances and style of playing have - rightly - been at various points this season. The manager shoudl take a lot of responsibility for this, because we KNOW Parker is a better footballer than that. but the player himself must too.

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I disagree with quite a few things mate, so I'm gonna go through each point I disagree with.

 

Pace - He is deceptively quick and while you don't need to be quick to play this role, it is a bonus nonetheless, this will allow him to cover the ground quickly.

 

Pace is no doubt a good attribute, but it's an unnecessary attribute for DMC's. Take a look at Makelele man!! He has barely any pace, yet it is this lack of pace that has forced him to improve his positioning, develop an anticipation of the opposition's moves and improve his tackling. If Parker didn't have the pace, he wouldn't run around like a headless chicken all the time. Sure he can put in impressive performances, but it's usually when we're under the cosh, rarely when we dominate and play a team off the park (not that we've done that recently anyway). Parker usually isn't aware of where he's suppose to be half the time - this explains why you sometimes see him at RB, then at LB and then just running around after the ball. You never see Makelele in any of those places and you rarely see him running after because a) he's not fast enough and more importantly, b) he's there before the ball reaches the player. That is what makes Makelele great, Butt average, and imo, Parker pretty shit at the DMC position. It's about positioning and anticipation, which are qualities that if a player has, will improve their other qualities such as pressing and tackling, and these are qualities that Parker doesn't seem to have.

 

Good short passer - A defensive midfielder's job first and foremost is to destroy, to break up play, to win the ball for others, Parker rarely wastes a short ball and is more than competent enough playing the quick, short ball to team-mates.

 

That's only because he rarely makes forward passes. Obviously that's not wholely his fault as our movement in general is shite, but I've seen too many times that his passes forward hasn't reached the target or has gone wayward. Sure he makes good 'short' passes, but most of them are simply him running towards our goal from the center of midfield then tapping the ball back to the defender who initially passed the ball to him.

 

Pressing da da da a whole lot of stuff here

 

This can be explained by the aforementioned fact that he runs around like a headless chicken. Seriously, if he didn't and stayed in a 'position', we'd be better off. This aspect of his game is probably not his fault; it's the manager's. That's essentially Parker's undoing ie. his manager's lack of a 'plan' for him. That's why I don't think we get a consistent Parker, or actually a Parker who knows what he's suppose to be doing at all times.

 

Maybe I'm just being overly-critical but I've seen enough times where he's given the ball away needlessly by acting like the playmaker which he isn't, or run around chasing the ball leaving gaps in the center of midfield which leaves the defence open to all sorts of dangers. He doesn't contribute enough to our attacking game as well. Rarely does one of his long passes reach a player, rarely does he make an accurate and perfectly-weighter throughball (although tbf, rarely does anyone in our team do that now) and he doesn't offer a goal-threat from open play (ie. long shots). To sum it up, I think he's symptomatic of a team that wins by working hard and hassles the other team off of the pitch, and to me, that's a team that can finish no higher than mid-table. He's average, but I don't what us to be just 'average'.

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