Well it's that time again, International break. There isn't a lot to talk about on the Baggies front, with the only real bit of news being Albion's pursuit of the young Dundee United midfielder Scott Allan, who is supposedly of interest to Alex Ferguson and Man United. So I thought I would write something about the International break, and whether it is good or bad for us.
From a fans perspective it’s terrible, especially with the upcoming fixtures. The Black Country derby with Wolves, and then another derby with Aston Villa. Certainly for the Wolves game, the nerves are beginning to build already. Neither side are in great form, and with Albion yet to win at home, you just know it’s going to be a close, tense affair. The thought of seeing Wolves celebrate a win at the Hawthorns is something I don’t want to think about.
In terms of timing, the break has come at a decent time. We are not in a great run of form, so for most of the players to be able to focus on something else may be good for them. But that will have a similar effect for Wolves, so it doesn’t really give any advantage to us. For Roy Hodgson, this run of form will be worrying and I’m sure he will have some plans that he will want to put in place to solve the problems.
However, it’s not something he can do easily with an international break, with many of Albion’s first choice players away with their national side. He will of course have next week to work with all the players, but for this week, there is not much Hodgson can do. He can’t really start implementing his new ideas without the rest of the squad available, with the players he has in mind for certain roles.
I’ve already mentioned one of the possible affects for the players, but there are of course other things to take into consideration. Obviously injury is one of those potential effects, but to use an example, the effect this break could have on Joe Mattock. He could have had a two week run under Hodgson to impress him further, with Nicky Shorey out of form. But instead he has been called up the U21’s squad.
This could go one of two ways. Mattock could improve by playing with the best players in his age group, and the general confidence boost you get from being called up by your country. Or should he play, and have a poor game, it may well shatter his confidence that has been built up slowly by Albion since his court case.
Mattock will be hoping it’s the first option, something similar happened to his team-mate Craig Dawson. He had a goal-scoring debut for the Under 21’s, and then came straight back into the Albion team for the game at Swansea. Although The Baggies lost 3-0, Hodgson praised the effort and ability of Dawson.
I guess only time will tell as to whether the international break has come at a good time for West Brom.
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