Thursday, 4 March 2010

Andy is still handy

Andy Dawson may have looked every inch the lower league defender he once was as he blundered his way through the defeat at West Ham United, but still he must be ahead of Kevin Kilbane in the pecking order.

There simply isn't enough overwhelming evidence of Kilbane's suitability for the role. The vast majority of his record-busting 103 caps for the Republic of Ireland have been at left back, but that's all we have - his appearance record in a middling international outfit. It's a laudable achievement of course, but a country that deploys Kilbane at left back so often is, very simply, a country without many good left backs.

The main arguments for Kilbane that some supporters have used all season are based on negativity. Kilbane should play at left back because he isn't Dawson; Kilbane should play at left back because it means he isn't playing in midfield. Neither of these are sensible ways to pick a good football team.

Dawson did have a stinker at West Ham, but he knew it at the time. He cursed himself, took the scoldings from others and knew exactly how much he was letting himself down. He's an experienced professional but that does not preclude him from bad days, yet in his many years at the club, he has had far more good days than bad, and that includes his spell in the Premier League.

Kilbane's role seems to be more as a figurehead than for any great uses with a ball at his feet. This might not be ideal for a person paid to play football, but within City's ranks it seems to be a useful kind of personality to have. He is always seen talking, encouraging, making demands of team-mates when he is on the park, but ultimately there are better players in possession of a football than him within the City squad. And, make no mistake, Dawson is one of them.