Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by GersMan, Sep 10, 2003.
Thanks for the article. Good stuff.
Zak is truly a rising star at Anfield - the only player from last years class at Melwood to be offered pro papers.
Even though his Dad heads up Melwood, his rise is due to his talent. Zak is expected to break into the first team for his first run out later this season or next season.
Whitbread plays for Liverpool reserves
Zak goes 90 minutes in Liverpool reserve team's goalless draw vs. Manchester City on Sept. 1st. Only mention of him in synopsis (besides his name being in the lineup list) is an "outstanding" pass he made on a Liverpool near miss. Here is the link:
They played another game (or were supposed to have played one) vs. Middlesbrough (not sure if it was last night or on Tuesday as the site lists it as being on Thursday the 9th which is not a valid date), but the match report is not yet on the site.
Zak vs Boro Reserves:
looks like he went the full 90
Showed that stiff Michael Ricketts a thing or two as well!!!
I wonder what country that Ricketts player is from............
Hey, we should get Ricketts to play for........... Oh, I get it.... Yeah.
I know it is far too early to start calling for Zak to be called up to the senior team, but I have a related question for anyone who has seen him play (I have not). Is Zak a possible answer for our vacancy at left back, or is he not the type of player that Bruce likes for an outside back. What I mean is Bocanegra has played a lot of left back, but internationally Bruce wants him in the middle. Ryan Suarez is a right back, but Bruce sees him as a "tweener", somewhere between outside or inside.
So I guess my question is, given Bruce's requirements for the outside back positions, would he give Zak a shot there, or is Zak a central defender in Bruce's scheme?
Zak used to be a left winger. But during a short period, he grew into a 6'4" frame that apparently too high for a winger. So he is not a Robert Carlos style left back , but more a Ashley Cole/ john O'Shea style left back who can also play in left-center.
Arena has used Bocanegra quite a bit at left back. All of the Gold Cup two years ago, in the winter friendlies this year. Boca is certainly not out of the picture at left back, especially if Corey Gibbs can play centrally.
Is Zak as athletic as Ashley Cole? Cole is blazing fast
Zak Whitbread certainly has a future with the nats ahead of him, but you have to think that talented left sided defenders like Dunivant and Gbandi will get long looks before he does. Whitbread will probably end up playing in the center of defense for the US like he does with Liverpool.
Zak played left back in last Liverpool reserve match. One of my co-worker is a paid Leverpool club member, let me see if I can get a vedio file of the game.
From what I have seen, Gbandi hasn't proved anything to warrant a callup from Arena.
He was injured last year, and was really hyped up coming into the league (top draft pick I recall?), and really hasn't done anything this year. Granted he is with Dallas, but he doesnt even stand out on a bad team.....
I really don't think you can blame him for that, our defense has been far and away the worst in MLS this year, but it's not becuase of the talent. Tenywa Bonseu, Ryan Suarez, Steve Morrow were all proven defenders coming into this year, and Shavar Thomas and Gbandi were two highly touted prospects (Salyer, too), but the defense has shown absolutely no organization. I think you'll see a marked improvement now that Jeffries is gone, both in team play and how good the individuals look.
I personally think Salyer's gotten the shaft from Jeffries. He played a nice game against the Fire and then at the end got beaten like a drum by Ante Razov. Shortly thereafter the Burn traded for Ezra Hendrickson and Salyer's been eating splinters ever since.
Gbandi has shown some ability going forward, but also has been involved with some of the Burn's legendary defensive collapses. In fairness, pretty much every defender that's played for the burn (Thomas, Bonseu, Morrow, Suarez, Gbandi, Salyer, Hendrickson...) has been mired in the defensive problems at some point, so there is some credence to the theory that the issue was systemic and not necessarily personnel based, but then again mistakes are mistakes.
Dunivant continues to play a very offensive minded position for the Quakes at left back and nearly had a nifty equalizer that only a great defensive play halted.
Whitbread's a tough call for Bruce based on his general preferences. On the one hand, he really prefers players receiving first team action as it's far easier to monitor their progress that way. On the other hand, the moment a player like Whitbread starts receiving regular first team action at a club as big as the 'Pool, he should already be past the point where you're considering a callup.
I think Bruce will definitely want to see more of him play before giving him a call. So I think someone like Dunivant might be ahead of him for a callup, not so much because Dunivant's the better prospect, but more because Bruce would be a lot more familiar with him and would therefore be more comfortable in having a look. I know Bruce uses his scouts, and I suspect Whitbread is well on Bruce's radar, but he can't have seen very much of the kid. He's young enough where Bruce can take his time and see just what is and isn't here before having to start making decisions about his Nats viability.
if this kid can somehow get a spot on the first team in the next year or two, how can he not get a call up from Bruce. Liverpool is one of the top clubs in the world. I am not a Bruce fan but I doubt he would pass up a starter for Liverpool over a starter in MLS.
I would be very suprised if Gbandi, Whitbread, and Dunivant are not ALL on the Nats by 2006, so any which way you look at it, our talent level in the back will increase 10 fold. Whitbread and Gbandi can both play in the middle if needed. Throw guys like Cherundolo, Onyewu, Boca, Gibbs, Pope, and Gray in the mix and you have a great backline filled with players that can man mark, dribble, score on set pieces, and have size (with the exception of little Stevie).
you know, we hear this every cycle.It is amazing how everyone is a superstar until they actually get into an international game.Then it isn't so easy.
Why do you want to ruin juventino3's fantasy by introducing such unpleasant reality to this thread? Defenders who can dribble. I wonder who are such players!
I did not say they were superstars, but they are players with talent. After watching "nightmares" like Agoos, Vanney, Berhalter, and Hejduk all these years I think that they will do fine with a little bit of international experience. In reality anything is an upgrade over players who kick it into their own net and players that give the ball away to opposing attackers right infront of their own goal. Dunivant and Gbandi will get caps sooner rather than later and Whitbread will break Liverpool's first team within a couple of years. As many above posters stated perviously, that would automatically put him in Bruce's pool of defenders.
No one knows if Whitbread will crack Liverpool's first team. There are a lot more guys in Whitbread's position trying to crack that lineup than there are spaces in that lineup.
Whitbread is an English central defender -- why does anyone think he can dribble all that good?
Of course nobody knows for sure if he will make it, but being a starter on Liverpool's reserve team at the age of 19 is certainly a promising start. He will play on the left for Thomas Rongen, but with Liverpool he has played both centrally and on the left. Supposedly he has a great left foot.
Ever hear of Jovan Kirovski?
My lord, it must be hard being such a 24 hour jackass. Why don't we just right off all of our young prospects as Jovan Kirovskis. Sorry if I choose not to be as pessimistic as you. Any team that has terrible players in their defense like Vanney and Hejduk will be looking to upgrade it with young players. As I said before, Dunivant and Gbandi will get looks soon while Whitbread will get his chance once he breaks into Liverpool's first team.