Peter Crouch has taken a dig at Manchester United ace Cristiano Ronaldo, and other strikers who he feels have to evolve with the modern game.
As the footballing landscape went through massive changes in the past decade, the playing style and fundamentals have also modernised. There is a stark difference in the game between how the game was played ten years ago and the present day, with each position going through a massive transitional phase.
For example goalkeepers, from mere shot-stoppers, have evolved into important influencers through their distribution and ability to build up play from the back. Similarly, wingers score more these days than traditional strikers in the final third, while the no. 9 role has a new definition.
Since Manchester United’s consecutive defeats to Leicester and Liverpool, the issue of pressing has come into the focus of experts, who believe the Red Devils’ forwards were not doing much work off the ball. Cristiano Ronaldo has become a topic of discussion for his old school style of centre-forward play, wherein he barely presses.
In an interview leading up to the Liverpool clash, the Portuguese himself admitted that he saves his legs and energy for the right moment in the game. When he executed the very idea on the field, Ronaldo was criticised for not fitting into Manchester United’s system. The modern game needs forward pressing, and the Portuguese does not offer it.
In his Daily Mail column, Peter Crouch wrote a piece on the modernity of football and positions that have evolved since his playing days. Writing about how a striker should be playing, the former Liverpool ace had a point to make, with Ronaldo playing as a traditional no. 9 these days.
Crouch said, “We were famous for it in England, that No 9 role. These days, you look around academies, though, and they all want to play in those wing positions. They are the glamorous spots in the team — it’s fashionable to score the goals from there.”
“Standing up front just isn’t in vogue anymore, and this is an ongoing issue being debated around Manchester United this season after Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival. Things do change. New eras are quickly upon us, although there is definitely a part of me that is a little sad about it. I’m nostalgic and old now, remember.”
Judging by how Manchester United have repeatedly been carved open when they lose the ball high up the pitch, it goes without saying that Ronaldo needs to do more to help the team out. Otherwise the rut will only worsen, culminating with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s axing as the Manchester United boss.
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