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Squad size and composition

Our end of the season squad before departures is made up as follows:

Goalkeepers3
Defenders
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Comments

  • Apologies I'll start again

    Goalkeepers   3
    Defenders       9
    Midfielders    12
    Attackers         4

    The likely squad before any incoming or approved loans is likely to be:

    Goalkeepers   2
    Defenders       6
    Midfielders     8 (inc Wayne)
    Attackers         2

    For me we have been too light on attackers for some time, we dont have enough variety of roles in midfield and we have a serious lack of fullbacks/wingbacks amongst our defenders.

    The formations we are likely to play will of course dictate the type of players we need, but we do need to be able to play at least a couple of different formations and have players with slightly different skills to fulfil their roles.

    So for me we need a squad structure of

    Goalkeepers   3
    Defenders       9  (including 4 fullbacks/wingbacks)
    Midfielders    12 (including key roles with a couple of options)
    Attackers          6 (two main strikers, two secondary strikers and two young backup forwards)

    That would mean in the off season we need:

    - 1 goalkeeper
    - 1 CB and 2 fullbacks/wingbacks
    - 4 midfielders including 1 or 2 box to box midfielders, a true backup DMC and another creative type no. 10
    - 4 attackers including two main strikers and two secondary strikers

    Thats a total of 12 players. If we are going to stint on the numbers, then a few of our midfielders may need to leave, as imo we have too many similar players, who dont offer enough in variety to enable us to carry them.

    Hard hat at the ready!
    SeaJack
  • Hi Jack ,
    30 players seems on the big size for our club , would prefer 25  and add some youngsters if their ready  ,

    We did have 4 fullbacks ,
    Robert's,  Naughton , Bidwell , John , look forward to see Rushesha break through ,

    I think Cooper prefers a smaller squad with players more adaptable  that  can play in different  positions  ,
  • @Malc For me, as Im sure for you, the youngsters only get in if they merit it. Remember Rushesha is still only 18 and poor Govea seems to be almost permanently injured. Both are fullbacks and will need development at wingback to fill in permanently if we had an injury at wingback.

    Naughton like Routs is now more of an utility player and Im not sure he has the engine to fill in for one of the wingbacks. More of a full back, centre back and perhaps a temporary screening DMC.

    Declan Im expecting to be gone this Summer.

    We are imbalanced in defenders by role and also in midfield. there are too many similar players for me. Apart from perhaps Naughton on a temparary basis who could replace Matt as our creative DM. With Gallagher gone we dont have a real box to box player. Jay is closest, but more of a defensive player breaking up attacks. Although credit to him he is one of the few midfielders who contributes any goals.

    Our biggest problem is up front where we have Liam and Joel as our attackers. They should be in the squad as part of the 6 attackers we need but we need 2 main strikers (to cover injury and loss of form) and 2 secondary strikers for the same reason. Im assuming we play with 2 up front, but personally Id prefer 3 up front if we are going to improve our goal scoring.

    If we have a smaller squad then we will have to significantly reduce the number of midfielders we have currently, as the ones left this year as part of the squad dont cover the all roles we need.

    Happy to discuss further but when you look at the roles required, there is a real problem in balance in defence, midfield and attack.

    Im all for say 26 plus youngsters like Rushesha, Govea, Liam and Joel. However if I look at a player like Jack Evans what midfielder role have we developed him for. Is he a box2box, breaking up attacks, a creative Regista type or a no. 10 playing in the hole behind two forwards.

    A genuine question, as if you are in the squad you should know the role you will undertake should injury or form require it.
  • I am with you Malc a smaller squad is my preference.

    I believe the EFL are considering a squad size limit and this I think would be a good move as it would keep the finances down and also encourage the use of younger players.

    I would have a squad limited of 25 with unlimited players U21

    2 Goalkeepers
    9 Defenders
    11 Midfielders
    4 Forwards

    It can be done in fact the team who won the championship this year managed it.

    Leeds used a total of 29 players this season - 18 of them were over 21 when the season started and the other 11 were under 21 at the start of the season (and most still are U21 now).

    What this does is provides a consistent team and with good coaching of players to ensure some can be flexible enough to cover multiple positions (examples are Stuart Dallas playing LB, RB & CM made 45 appearances) without a drop in quality.

    Yes you need luck with injuries and good backroom staff to keep the players fit, also the team has to be disciplined so that Yellow and Red Cards do not cause too many problems.
  • All depends  on the clubs  recruitment  , we haven't  had a balanced  squad for years  , we are still looking for Leon's successor  ,

    My favourite  formation  is 4 - 2 -3 1
    The width comes from the wingers  , one holding  midfielder  , one box to box , a creative number 10 and a centre forward ,

    If you have an unbalanced  squad you have to find the system  to suit your players , not the other war around 
    Wing back appears  to suit the players we had ,

    Gosh if I was lucky and fortunate  to be good enough , I would  prefer clarity , but prepared  to do everything  for the team  , football is not rocket science  , its fairly  simple , pass and move   create space  , just watch Man City .
  • I suppose I started with what roles we need and assumed we would have injuries. Not sure any squad works wiith only two keepers.

    My basic principle is we need at least two players in each position in our formation, then you need to factor in additional roles like a third keeper, two players where we dont have any, such as box2box players and players for formation changes such as wingers and creative no 10's.

    You quite quickly get to 28-30 in the squad. presumably thats why Leeds had 29.

    I dont mind if we have a lot of u21's in the squad, as long as they are there on merit, otherwise, when they are needed, it will be a very harsh baptism for them.
  • 20 established players is fine for a side spending as much as we do on an academy. At this level it's perfectly acceptable to lean on youth for cover and the potential of new stars emerging. Get the starting 11 right as a priority, depth can look after itself.

    Counting number of players used over a whole season can be misleading given how much can change in the winter window, we're an obvious example of that.
  • @jasper_T If we want to survive in the Championship perhaps, not if we actually want to get promoted.

    I'll support the team no matter what, but lets not pretend a 2 new attackers plus Liam and Joel will get us 45 goals next season. No Box2Box midfielder leaves a hole, and no injury/loss of form subs for Matt and our two wingbacks leaves us hugely at risk.

    I just like to know where to set my expectations and if what has been said is true then we will end up midtable.
  • Always difficult  to set expectations  in the Championship  ,
    Millwall  nearly relegated  last season  , just missed the playoffs  this year ,
    Depends  on what the budget  or transfer kitty is , we have to spend what we can afford  ,  
    Wait until Sept 13th and see where we are 
  • edited July 31
    JackRaven said:
    @jasper_T If we want to survive in the Championship perhaps, not if we actually want to get promoted.

    I'll support the team no matter what, but lets not pretend a 2 new attackers plus Liam and Joel will get us 45 goals next season. No Box2Box midfielder leaves a hole, and no injury/loss of form subs for Matt and our two wingbacks leaves us hugely at risk.

    I just like to know where to set my expectations and if what has been said is true then we will end up midtable.
    Perhaps its best to set your expectations when the squad is finalised. Hopefully Liam will get out on loan and as for Joel. Hmm, the jury's out for many of us.
  • I think that Rushesha and John would provide good cover for Robert's and Bidwell as wing backs
  • RGDRGD
    edited July 31
    I hope we will build our squad around the 352 system which best suits our current squad
    I think we need 2 players for each position plus utilising Academy players 

    My 22 would be
    Woodman Benda
    Rodon Cabango Guehi Naughton Lewis +1
    Roberts Rushesha Bidwell John
    Fulton Grimes Byers +1 (Garner?)
    Dhanda +1 (Gallagher?)
    Ayew  Two from Cullen Asoro Garrick +1 (Brewster?)

    This squad should be competitive and good to watch 

  • @RGD Only one squad got into the playoffs with 22 players in the squad, but the value of that squad was about £10m more than our current squad even though we had more players. That team was Cardiff.

    The other promotion contenders had squad sizes between 25 and 31 and squad values between £25m and £75m more than ours. The three teams coming down will also be in that ball park if not more.

    We have overperformed this year as we were 12th in squad size and 13th in squad value. We cant keep expecting to skimp on both the squad size and value  and still be competitive for promotion. Survival, perhaps, but not promotion. Based on that size of squad we would drop to about 17th in size and 16th in value.

    I have no problem with us buying (?!) cheaply via out of contract and from unfavourable teams, but we cant afford to delude ourselves that if we skimp on both value and the roles we will need that we will be anywhere near promotion. you already have 5 u23 players in your 22, one of them 18 years old.

    Our attackers will need to deliver around 45 goals between them.

    I very much doubt Ayew, Brewster and Gallagher will be back. One of the three perhaps, but most likely they will have to move on with their careers, Ayew's age and the others' Clubs will demand it.

    So 2 new strikers, Liam and Asoro will need to deliver 45 goals. It wont happen in my view.

    As I have said I will support my team anyway but I wont delude myself about how competitive we will be if we lack the ambition to assemble a reasonable size and experienced squad.

    I'll make a prediction for Cadleigh now, if we have a squad of less than 25 we will not achieve promotion, or if we have a squad which includes less than 22 already established players, whether new or current
  • 25 all season is different from having 25 at the start of the season. We used 29 in the league this season but 5 only arrived in/made appearances after January (Brewster, Gallagher, Guehi, Cullen, Mulder), while 6 departed (McKay, John, Borja, Surridge, Peterson, Carroll... plus Dyer might as well have) that month. Ben Cabango wouldn't have been on anyone's list for starting 20 games for us this time last year, he's done a tremendous job as academy injury cover and kept his place at times over the more-fancied and fashionable PL loanees.

    We didn't have 25 members of the squad at the same time at any point, it can't be an expectation for the start of the season if we have any aspirations of bringing through academy players (they wouldn't get chances, like they didn't when we were in the PL), and we likely can't afford that many players on the books anyway. "Two for every position" is the dream of top flight managers eyeing up exhausting European campaigns that's somehow become accepted wisdom by every football fan for clubs at every level.
  • @jasper_T ; Having two players for each position is really the minimum for any team. Playing on the right and left is different. Jake couldnt easily cover for Connor and vice versa. Now if the youngsters are good enough then great, but some will need time to develop.

    If we want to bring through our academy players and money is short why are we loaning in players from PL teams. They have a cost and you only get the in year benefit! I'm not saying we shouldnt loan in players but this is the last year of the parachute payments so if we dont rebalance our squad and ensure we have our own established players in all key areas, when are going to do it?

    We wont be able to do it next year and we wont be able to afford the loans either. If we get a squad of our own players and add in our youngsters to develop this year then we will get the benefit next year. Having said that I would take Brewster again (even though I dont believe any of the loanees will return) as long as we have at least two of our own established/new players as well. I dont include Liam and Joel in that category yet.

    I'm concerned about the coverage for our players not just for injury and loss of form but for transfers. What happens if some PL club spots Matt's stats for the last couple of seasons and puts in a bid. Would we say no? But we have no-one to fit into that role and we then we suddenly have to rush around to find a player. that hasnt every worked out for us well.

    Surely the focus has to be to assemble our own squad before all the parachute payments are gone. For that reason trying to keep Ayew for another year would be a grave mistake imo.
    SeaJackBrownie
  • If we sold Matt Grimes late on like we did our centre halves last season then Jack Evans could be our Joe Rodon while we scrambled to bring in a Cameron Carter-Vickers to fill the void. An Evans/Fulton/Byers midfield would have played together before for the u23s, as in this game against Brewster and Harry Wilson's Liverpool what feels a long time ago:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lWI3QFV7Eo&t=78s
  • @jasper_T I'm glad you believe Jack will be able to replace Matt. I'll look forward to seeing him have some opportunities in the squad next season.

    Its having cover for these roles I'm worried about. We looked so much better for example with Gallagher even though his full box2box potential wasnt used. Now he is gone and we dont have someone.
  • With very little game time in the world of real football outside of the academy I think it is going to be a big ask if we feel Jack can replace Grimes. All very well to be cover but as a replacement we are almost going into the unknown
    JackRaven
  • Joe Rodon kept his place because he did so well. CCV came in as the (relatively) experienced replacement two weeks after Fernandez and Amat departed, but didn't make his first start until mid/late September, so it wasn't (and wouldn't be) a situation where we were relying on an academy player to step up long term should Grimes be suddenly sold. You give a lad a chance over a short run of fixtures and see what happens. 

    Hopefully our head of recruitment has been doing his job and has potential replacements lined up ahead of time (as we had CCV) but we can't be in the business of signing players just in case starters leave. You either end up signing players happy to sit on a bench and don't find the quality, or you make promises and fall out with the player when you can't fulfil them (Adam Davies at Stoke when Butland didn't depart as expected).
    SeaJack
  • By contrast look at how we approached the attacking areas in that same window. We bought McKay and Asoro believing Routledge and Dyer would be out the door, and then some little lad from our academy who'd flopped at Shrewsbury Town made them all look pretty ordinary.
    SeaJack
  • @jasper_T you make a fair point about players sitting on the bench. However if Matt got injured after the transfer window closed, we wouldnt have any options if Jack wasnt able to deputise. That could be the whole season gone.

    We have been spoilt by the fact Matt has stayed injury free and played every minute of the season. We cant rely on that continuing. We need real cover for key positions.
  • Not really Jack , you have another transfer window in January , Byers could probably  do the job , we shouldn't  have a team where one injury totally  affects the team regardless  of what position  it is .
  • jasper_T said:
    By contrast look at how we approached the attacking areas in that same window. We bought McKay and Asoro believing Routledge and Dyer would be out the door, and then some little lad from our academy who'd flopped at Shrewsbury Town made them all look pretty ordinary.
    Dan was always going to be knocking on the first team door and what we don't know is perhaps the rejection and disappointment he faced at Shrewsbury made him more determined when he returned to the Liberty.
    The downside of giving young lads first dibs in first team places is the short period of time to get a replacement in should the young lad struggle to handle first team football.  Am not sure what period there is between the start of the new season and when the window closes but its not ideal if a team wants to 'hit the ground running' when the new season starts.
  • I suppose that is my point, just the squad feels as though its missing a few key roles. The season could be gone because of the results whilst we were missing him, not because there isnt another transfer window.

    Byers is a no10 or central midfield really not a DMC like Matt imo.
  • Byers can play most positions  in midfield , played has a no 10 , also played alongside  Matt ,  play him and see how he does , 

    That's my point  , adaptable  players in the squad are invaluable  , Naughton can play both fullbacks  , in a back 3 or a straight  back 4 , 

    Who would have thought Matt could play in the back 4 against  Man City , 
    Didnt  think he was a fullback , played there a few times
  • jasper_T said:
    By contrast look at how we approached the attacking areas in that same window. We bought McKay and Asoro believing Routledge and Dyer would be out the door, and then some little lad from our academy who'd flopped at Shrewsbury Town made them all look pretty ordinary.
    Dan was always going to be knocking on the first team door and what we don't know is perhaps the rejection and disappointment he faced at Shrewsbury made him more determined when he returned to the Liberty.
    The downside of giving young lads first dibs in first team places is the short period of time to get a replacement in should the young lad struggle to handle first team football.  Am not sure what period there is between the start of the new season and when the window closes but its not ideal if a team wants to 'hit the ground running' when the new season starts.
    We don't have the cash (or desire to take on debt) to cover every base and gear up for a big promotion push like many clubs try to do. I'm pretty content with leaving options like "club captain who hasn't missed a minute this season gets injured/sold late on" to academy cover when said cover is Wales u21s captain at a good age and overdue his chances. Fulton is another makeshift interim option despite struggling with it early last season. Byers played the Grimes role in the City game, but that wasn't a normal setup with Grimes at CB and CCV at LB.

    DJ said himself he was seriously doubting his future and wanted to go on loan to Yeovil until he spoke to Potter, so not sure it sparked any new determination in him. But his "failure" at Shrewsbury was never down to him being a poor player. Circumstances and luck play a huge part in football. They wanted Ben Godfrey and needed to free up wages and a loan slot.
  • To go from having a DM whose stats put him as one of the top DMs in the league to an academy player without any real first team experience is a huge leap and not one I am comfortable with.

    Matt gets the whole team ticking and is real quality. Losing that without real confidence in the cover is just poor decision making.
  • Agree over the club not having the cash to cover every position but it can still be a gamble when options are left to the last couple of days before the window closes even though as you say we have a Welsh U21 skipper available who is due his opportunity, but still a rookie in relative terms at Championship level.

    Luck and circumstances play a huge part in the game as Ben Davies can verify when Laudrup took him on the pre-season USA tour but in no way would I quote his period at Shrewsbury a failure. 
  • JackRaven said:
    To go from having a DM whose stats put him as one of the top DMs in the league to an academy player without any real first team experience is a huge leap and not one I am comfortable with.

    Matt gets the whole team ticking and is real quality. Losing that without real confidence in the cover is just poor decision making.
    Who are you going to get to come sit on the bench behind him? The quality available increases dramatically after he's gone and you have some cash in the bank and first team football to offer. It's why we couldn't bring in CCV preemptively, Spurs wanted him to play (and were a bit miffed by Christmas that he wasn't getting much time). 

    I'm more worried about the positions we don't have quality than the ones we do but *might* lose at some point. Need a centre forward and a wide player for sure.
  • One of my concerns about our academy is that we produce generic midfielders rather than specific roles. Considering we pride ourselves on our passing game and have revered Leon, we havent targeted what has been a key role.

    Our academy recruitment and development should have a conveyor belt of DMs/registas as well as box2box and creative no10's. I hope you are right about Jack Evans, but it is a hope rather than expectation. We should know he is the next in line not hope he is.

    I agree we need a centre forward, two in my case, one of whom could be Brewster, but an alternative like Surridge would be ideal.

    I prefer us playing with wingers but whilst its 3-4-3 our wingers will be a dying breed Im afraid. I relish seeing pacy tricky wingers and whilst Garrick has potential we dont have anyone else, with no indication wingers are valued by the club.
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