Filed: Wednesday, 19th September 2012
By: Tom Kilbey
To say Ricardo Vaz Te's career has been up and down would be a gross understatement. From his early days as a promising youngster, after failing to flourish in the Premier League despite remaining on Bolton's books for seven years, he found himself at an obscure Greek club before Barnsley offered the Portuguese winger a second crack of the proverbial whip.
After a short spell at Oakwell, Sam Allardyce had seen enough to re-sign the player who he had managed at Bolton. After an inconsistent start to the season, the question of whether RVT is Premier League quality remains to be seen.
Anyone who watched the winger last season, both for West Ham or the Tykes, would have learnt a few things about him. He is a tricky player, unafraid to take players on with his quick feet. He also demonstrated his eye for goal. Finishing as one of the top scorers last season in the Championship, Vaz Te carries a rocket of a shot which can often be too hot for keepers to handle (just ask the Brighton goalkeeper).
On top of this, despite being a technical player, he does not lack the physical attributes that are so important for a forward in the top English divisions. He stands at a deceptive 6"2, and although can be known to go down too easily, he is by no means weak, and combined with his pace, he looks to have all the ingredients required to be a decent top flight player.
Questions have been asked about his attitude, and this is something that Allardyce addressed at the end of last season, noting the player had matured considerably since his time at Bolton. Despite this, for an innocuous squad player, he does have the habit of drawing attention to himself. Granted, he's no Ballotelli, but in the last few months, he's been quoted as saying some ill advised things.
Take the example in the lead up to the Euro 2012 finals, where he complained about his omission from the squad despite applying his trade in the Championship and lesser leagues in Europe through the duration of his career. Or how about the example when he stated he wouldn't hesitate to leave West Ham if a 'bigger' club came in for him? Now, confidence can be a good thing, in fact it is an essential trait for a top player, but perhaps his attitude should be toned down at least until he has established himself enough to justify the claims he makes.
So is he the top player he claims to be? Firstly it is so important to realise that players who flourish in the second tier often do not make such an impact the season after. Take Adel Tarrabt for example. A very similar player who made arguably a bigger impact in the Championship never really capitalised as much as was expected of him.
Despite Ricardo's good attributes, there are definitely areas of his game that could be improved. I won't dwell on this too much, but the one outstanding area, which was highlighted to a ridiculous extent on Saturday was his crossing. He will score goals, but he rarely provides assists for his team mates, and his crossing is woeful at times. This will definitely be a concern for Allardyce who makes it no secret that his master plan involves getting quality balls into the box.
He also seems to be a confidence player who thrives on the knowledge that he can beat the defender in front of him. Against Fulham, he showed the familiar swagger that he regularly demonstrated last season. Against Norwich it was a different story. In a game where his pace could have been used on the counter attack, on numerous occasions, he ate up 30 or 40 yards before checking back, consequently slowing the tempo of the game down.
He is at his best when he is at his most direct, and we should be able to rely on him as a dangerous outlet (after all, how many direct wingers have we had in the last ten years that can take players on).
I think given time in the top flight, he will adapt his game. He is clearly motivated, and believes in his ability to shine at the top level, so I have faith that he can prove to be a Premier League player. My concern is that, with a fully fit squad, at this moment in time I wouldn't have Ricky in my first team, particularly at home, and more importantly I think Allardyce would agree with me.
With Carroll up front, I would place emphasis on crossing. Matt Taylor may not be the most dynamic player in the league, but he is a fantastic crosser of the ball on top of his ability to contribute to set pieces. On top of this, he will get a few goals, and his workrate and experience as a defender means he can put a shift in and help out our full backs when required. And on the other wing, we can't look past Jarvis to provide the quality of delivery that BFS is after.
To conclude, I think its incredibly important that Vaz Te remains patient this year. If his ego gets the better of him, his days at West Ham could be numbered. He may find his first team chances limited, and it will be so important for his attitude to be right when he does get his opportunities. We may find that he can be best utilised as an impact sub, and would appear to fit this role far better than say, Matt Taylor.
If he can channel his confidence, there's no doubt in my mind he can prove to be an integral part of our first team. This includes using the competition for his position as a positive, rather than a negative. Whether he can apply himself and vindicate Allardyce's decision to commend his maturity is something only time will tell.
Tom Kilbey may also be found on Twitter at twitter.com/tom29whu.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by Fred Cutler
05:28AM 20th Sep 2012
''That's 100% right, mate. Well done. The busting out of our end only to check back at the crucial moment made me CRAZY. Of course, he only had Cole to aim at and Coley wasn't getting himself in good positions. Rarely does.
The overhit cross to Maiga wasn't his fault. Maiga had to make a run inside the defender for Vaz to slip him the ball. Why he went to the back post, I'll never know. I think Vaz was frustrated that he couldn't play the obvious ball forward to Maiga and he blasted the cross too long.''
09:57PM 19th Sep 2012
''Matty Taylor is simply not good enough. No pace and can't beat his man. All our attacks die when he is in possession.''
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