Date: 25th January 2017 at 10:15pm
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If you have the middle name of ‘George Best’ then your parents clearly have the route of your life planned as a footballer. So to say David Cotterill was destined to become one despite being a little cliché, probably is quite accurate. At the time of his arrival, he was a great addition to the side joining from Doncaster Rovers. He was the type of player that flourished under Rowett’s management and for a period of time he was one of the first names on the team sheet.

Now, I am not doubting his ability as a player for one minute. He has skills that some players would only dream of and he strikes crosses from deep which is quite a unique way of playing the game; made trendy by David Beckham. But is that the style of player that Zola wants on the wings? I have my doubts and here’s why.

I have written articles before explaining that Zola loves wingbacks. This is why we have seen additions of attacking and pacey wingbacks throughout the January transfer window and why I have said that Caddis, with his lack of pace and stamina, may not fit into this style. I think that it’s the same with wingers. Zola wants a constant relationship with his wingbacks and wingers whereby they both defend and attack together so are constantly using pace to get up and down the byline supporting one another. I don’t think that it’s any secret that Cotterill’s defensive abilities are average at best and despite working hard to get into defensive positions, he just doesn’t have the patience or ability to be very effective.

Also, as I have mentioned, he often crosses the ball from deep in order to launch the ball into the back post area. We have seen this consistently from him ever since he joined the club so I highly doubt that this style will change; it’s inbuilt. Zola seems to prefer players who race down the touchline and cross the ball low to cause chaos in the box. I think Maghoma could do this and so can Viv but I’m less sure that Cotterill will be able to play in this style.

But maybe Zola could adapt. Cogley, Nsue and other wingbacks that may play will bring the pace. They will overlap the winger and it would be the wingbacks that would add the attacking dimension to the team. So Cotterill may just be the pivot in terms of releasing the ball down the line or even playing the ball inside. It’s a possibility and it does depend how flexible Zola is in terms of his style of play. We will just have to wait to see if either of them can adapt but at this moment in time, I do think that Zola wouldn’t have signed him if he had not already been at the club.

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4 Replies to “Opinion: Does Cotterill Fit Zola’s System?”

  • I dare say Zola wouldn’t have signed him but then Zola would’t have been at the club in those dark days. We signed what we could get at that time and barring this season was one of our most consistent players. Yes things have changed and although we now have wing backs they wont be used this way in every game. There are another 11 players with their own ideas on how they want to play so Zola will do what he has to do to try and win the game. We have players who can operate as a wing back or as a full back and at times there will be a winger in front of them, so yes Cotterill will still be in his plans. It isn’t as though he has money to burn and replace the whole squad. He may bring in someone in ahead of Cotterill but we still need cover for all positions. IMO I think Cotterill has found a bit of enthusiasm recently and this has come from having the ball in front of him instead of behind.

  • Cotterill has a part to play he fit’s the system but he will have to be at his best no wondering of to Chace butterfly’s for him he has to work hard ever second of every game if not he can GO PIFF.

  • Cotterill is a player I like.However,if a decent offer came in then I am sure he would leave. Free kicks will now be left to Gardner and wing play and crosses by hopefully our new full backs. This is a funny period we are going through at the moment with us fans really unsure and in my case a bit jittery-reason being I am not confident that had we not got the points on the board,our current haul of points would certainly have had us down with the dead men.Relegation dogfights I don’t think is Zola’s forte.Cotterill,for this season,is needed-ahead of this I don’t think so for a minute.

  • Cotts can still win a match with a couple of good crosses but like all good crossers of the ball if the strikers are not heading it in you can lose your mojo …The signing of the Juke was a blessing to cotts being good in the air , I don’t think we can afford to let him go as the Juke would lose out , Gardner is BEST in the middle so it makes sense to keep him as long as he keeps playing consistently , but I suppose no one irriplaceable….

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