It has finally dawned on Freddie Sears that he is not a free-kick specialist, and now he has handed over responsibilities to who?! If you haven’t heard the news, this might come as an almighty shock, but Sears has handed over the mantle to captain fantastic Luke Chambers! Yes, that’s right, our central defender, who is currently occupying his time as a flying wing-back!
Now I am sorry if I sound a bit cynical but the reality is this. We no longer have a specialist at free kicks and this has been the case since Luke Garbett left us. Injured Alan Judge is perhaps the nearest thing to someone who might have enough in his locker to come close but just like Sears, most of his attempts at this have only hit the defensive wall.
I personally believe this needs to be addressed with some urgency, because during the course of a season we will get lots of them and if they are going to be wasted away by players who struggle to even control the ball adequately – let alone work at bending a free-kick, then we are going to lose an awful lot of points in the process.
As former blue Mick Mills alluded to on BBC Radio Suffolk in his match analysis, “Sears can probably curl the ball over the wall 9 times out of 10 in training but it is a different thing doing it when the pressure is on.” Freddie admitted to much the same. “In training, they’ve been flying in the top corner but they haven’t come off in games. I feel confident over a dead ball, but maybe I haven’t done myself much justice over the last few games.” You can say that again Freddie. Your free-kicks have been appalling, and as you stride up to take one, I never feel confident that you do anything much with it except hitting the first defender. Sadly you seem to be expert at that.
Now I do hope that Chambers proves me wrong but there is nothing in his armoury that suggests that he will. I was quite frankly flabbergasted when I discovered who our new free-kick specialist was going to be. Even Sears seemed hesitant when pressed on the captain’s goalscoring threat from set-pieces. “I’m not sure about the top corner. Maybe the bottom corner.” Or maybe, worst still, the wall – or more likely, the third tier of the stands!
I suppose you should never judge a book by its cover but I would like to think that either Emyr Huws, Jon Nolan, or Andre Dozzell should be volunteering for this job. Just because Chambers WANTS to take a free-kick does not convince me in the slightest that he is any good at it.