Blackburn Rovers – Arte et Labore – Part 2 (Meet The Squad)

Welcome back! By now I’m hoping you will have checked out Part One, if not click the link and take a read. It takes you through the club I have decided to manage for my new series and the reasons behind it.

This post will take you a bit deeper into the playing squad I have at my disposal at the start of the game, what I plan to do with each of them and at the end a little bit about the tactics (I will delve more into this once I have completed pre-season).

One thing you will notice is the huge amount of injuries we have at the start, at least 6 players out with 2-3 months+ lay-offs. We also have a lot of players in on loan, they will stay for the time being until we get the majority of players fully fit and see how each of them perform through pre-season.

The First Team Squad

I won’t bombard you with screenshots, if you want to see the players profile then click their name, what I will do is talk about their strengths and weaknesses and how I feel the fit the squad.

 

Goalkeepers

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

  • Strengths – Reflexes, Handling, One on Ones
  • Weaknesses – Kicking

David Raya

David Raya

  • Strengths – Rushing Out, Reflexes
  • Weaknesses = Communication, Command of Area

Not much to choose between either of these keepers, my preference is to stick with Steele as he is older and also English.

Defenders

Adam Henley (Right/Left Back)

Adam Henley

  • Strengths – Pace, Stamina, Natural Fitness, Work Rate
  • Weaknesses – Crossing, Passing, Numerous Mentals

The first of many injured players, henley is out for 2-3 months. Henley looks ok with regards to his physical stats but his technical and mental attributes lets him down currently

Stephen Hendrie (LB)

Stephen Hendrie

  • Strengths – Stamina, Marking
  • Weaknesses – Decisions, Composure

My only proper left back, he looks OK and will do for this season. On loan from West Ham

Wes Brown (CB/RB)

Wes Brown

  • Strengths – Heading, Tackling, Positioning
  • Weaknesses – Pace

Experience in abundance and will be a vital part of the squad but not sure he is as good as the other centre-backs we have. Injured for 2 months.

Elliot Ward (CB)

Elliott Ward

  • Strengths – Heading, Tackling, Jumping
  • Weaknesses – Aggression, First Touch

Another cracking looking centre back and will more than likely partner Hoban in defence. Not real major holes in his attributes and possesses everything you would want. Injured for 3 to 4 months.

Gordon Greer (CB)

Gordon Greer

  • Strengths – Leadership, Determination, Natural Fitness
  • Weaknesses – Agility, Pace, Work Rate

A good back-up but that’s all he will be, not anywhere near the standard of the other centre backs

Charlie Mulgrew (CB/LB/CM)

Charlie Mulgrew

  • Strengths – Determination, Teamwork, Work Rate
  • Weaknesses – Marking, Pace, Agility

A versatile player and incredibly experienced. Not sure if he will be a starter due to his lack of pace and marking. Injured for 4-6 weeks.

Derrick Williams (CB)

Derrick Williams

  • Strengths – Work Rate, Tackling, Natural Fitness
  • Weaknesses – Jumping, Agility

A really good back=up and a decent looking ball=playing centre back. Will be on the bench more than likely.

Tommy Hoban (Centre/Left Back)

Tommie Hoban

  • Strengths – Positioning, Heading, Tackling
  • Weaknesses – Aggression

A really good all round defender, not much to complain about and will be my first choice centre back. On loan from Watford.

Central Midfielders

Corry Evans (DM)

Corry Evans

  • Strengths – Stamina, Teamwork, Work Rate
  • Weaknesses – Jumping, Off the Ball

A cracking looking player and will probably start as my Number One Defensive Midfielder. Injured for 2 to 3 months.

Hope Akpan (CM/DM)

Hope Akpan

  • Strengths – Work Rate, Stamina, Natural Fitness
  • Weaknesses – First Touch, Composure, Concentration

Looks like a top quality ball winning midfielder and will be in and around the starting 11.

Jason Lowe (CM/RB)

Jason Lowe

  • Strengths – Work Rate, Leadership, Stamina, Bravery
  • Weaknesses – Passing, Heading, Anticipation

Another player with great work rate and stamina will suit my high-intensity football. He does need some major improvement in his technical stats.

Darragh Lenihan (CM/DM)

Darragh Lenihan

  • Strengths – Work Rate, Stamina, Bravery
  • Weaknesses – Passing, Composure

A decent looking midfielder and only 22 so has time to progress, his physical stats are fantastic as well as some of his mentals but could do with improving his passing to fit in the roles I have planned.

Jack Byrne (CM/DM)

Image result for jack byrne footballer

  • Strengths – First Touch, Passing, Flair
  • Weaknesses – Anticipation, Decisions, Determination

I love a good creative player in midfield and this guy fits the bill. He is only 20 so has plenty of time to work on the weaker part of his game but I will definitely be looking to start him. On loan from Man City.

Wingers

Craig Conway (RW/LW)

Craig Conway

  • Strengths – Determination, Stamina, Teamwork, Work Rate
  • Weaknesses – Technique, Flair, Positioning

Another great looking Winger but not sure he will be ahead of other, better players. Injured for 2 to 3 months.

Martin Samuelson (RW/LW/AM)

Image result for martin samuelsen west ham

  • Strengths – Passing, Technique, Flair
  • Weaknesses – Crossing, Strength, Positioning

One loan from West Ham and I’m not sure in the long run I’ll keep him on. Too many gaps in his attributes and nowhere near as good as some of my other wide players.

Liam Feeney (RW)

Liam Feeney

  • Strengths – Acceleration, Pace, Work Rate
  • Weaknesses – Strength, Balance, First Touch

Not good enough or anywhere near the standard of the other wingers, will be a back-up with a view to moving him on at some point.

Elliot Bennett (RW/LW)

Elliott Bennett

  • Strengths – Determination, Pace, Crossing
  • Weaknesses – Strength, Bravery

A proper decent winger and may start on the right-hand side, he has pace to burn and also possesses a good cross. Injured for 2 to 3 months.

Ben Marshall (RW/LW/RB)

Image result for ben marshall footballer

  • Strengths – Technique, Flair, Dribbling
  • Weaknesses – Concentration, Pace

A really good looking winger and one of the best players at the club. Lacks a bit of pace but will be lethal when on the ball with his high creativity.

 

Marvin Emnes (LW/ST)

Marvin Emnes

  • Strengths – Technique, Dribbling, Determination
  • Weaknesses – Strength, Balance, Passing

Nowhere near as good as other options and will be a backup. On loan from Swansea and not sure I will keep him here once players get fit.

Strikers

Anthony Stokes (ST/LW)

Anthony Stokes

  • Strengths – Passing, Teamwork, Technique
  • Weaknesses – Decisions, Concentration, Jumping

Technically a very good player but his mental attributes let him down. Won’t be the first choice but will be a good backup player when required.

Sam Gallagher (ST)

Sam Gallagher

  • Strengths – Heading, Strength, Jumping
  • Weaknesses – Natural Fitness, Passing

On loan from Southampton, I love this guy, he may not be the best player stats wise but I feel with some good training and tutoring he could be a top class player.

Danny Graham (ST)

Danny Graham

  • Strengths – Work Rate, Strength, Bravery
  • Weaknesses – Pace, Positioning

Another great looking Striker, will probably be my first choice and will be tutoring Gallagher for the season.

The Reserves & Youth

I won’t bore you with going through every single reserve and youth player but here are a few that are rated highly by my staff and also look like they could play a huge part in the future of Blackburn.

Willem Tomlinson – CM/LM

At the moment he doesn’t fit my tactics but with a bit of training and re-training in the central of midfield or left wing I feel he can be a top player. My initial thoughts are to send him out on loan and get him some game time as a CM.

Scott Wharton – CB

Only 18 but his attributes are incredible, with a bit of game time he could be pushing for a first-team spot next season so I will be sending him out on loan for the current campaign.

Ryan Nyambe – RB/CB

Physically a brilliant player, with a bit of training on some of his technical attributes he could push for a call-up to the first team, we are currently short of RBs due to injuries so he may play some part in pre-season.

Lewis Hardcastle – CM

Another player who could be great with a little bit of work, I may keep him around the reserves for this season and get him tutored by one of the more experienced players and see if I can improve him.

Joe Rankin-Costello – CM

A great name and the highest rated youth prospect I have. I wouldn’t say he is any better than the others and I may look to loan him out for a season or two to try and improve him, at only 16 he has a lot of time to improve.

Jack Evans – CM

Lots of good CMs in my Youth team and Evans is no different. He needs some work but could be good. He is only 15 so has plenty of time ahead of him to make the grade.

Connor Mahoney – LW

Rated very highly by my staff, he needs some work and with the numerous option we currently have on the wings I will look to loan him out for the season.

We do have a few others but I will speak about them as and when they crop up.

Well I think I’ve gone on enough on this post, one final note is the tactics I want to play.

I said in my previous post I like to play with a lone striker, a creative midfielder and I like to make the most of the wide players. The tactic I want to employ will be no different.

I won’t put any screenshots for now until I have the tactic set in stone, which will be after pre-season is over but the idea is to play 41221 (451) with a flat back 4, a DM, 2 CMs (one a creator and one a runner), 2 wide players (1 IF and 1 Winger) and either a DLF or CF upfront. I like playing a CF as I feel it offers more in the build up play but it’s a hard role to get right, especially if the player doesn’t have the attributes to play the role.

As for team instructions, I like to play high-intensity football, pushing the opposition into a mistake and then getting the ball to the playmaker and then making the most of the wide players. A high line, with high tempo should help with this alongside exploiting the flanks and getting the full-backs to overlap.

This is my thoughts in theory but I am usually awful at tactics so I’m sure when I write my next post it will have completely changed!

Anyway enough of the waffle, my next post will tell you how pre-season has gone, any transfers in or out, the tactics and I will talk a little bit about my staff setup.

Thanks for reading and speak to you all soon.

 

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