It’s not often I find myself arguing with my colleague on this site.
Actually, this isn’t so much an argument as it is a response, but either way I’m not a fan of the initial statement.
Mitchell Bray is a fine writer on this site and I am a fan of the majority of his work, however I think he’s going about this approach all wrong.
He wrote a piece yesterday saying that Jude Bellingham is some sort of ‘get out of jail free card’ up the sleeve of Pep Clotet. How playing him and giving him more minutes will give him a bit of a rest from the abuse he receives from the fans.
“Bluenoses will instantly transfer all negativity surrounding ‘so called’ second rate players coming in by the busloads and the free agents etc..…Bellingham should be the first name on the team sheet-anything less will show caution and weakness. Fans do not want to hear the slow process of certain game introductions for ‘potential stars’ like what occurred with Redmond, Butland and to a certain extent Gray.”
However, I think that Mitchell has got this wrong here. I think it’s because of the stick Pep is getting from fans that he can’t afford to take a flyer on someone like Bellingham. Whilst the young man got off to an incredible start with his goal against Stoke City, I think to essentially put the hopes of the season on such a young man, as I have spoken about before would be asking too much of him at such a young age.
As the board have shown by their managerial history, they aren’t afraid to get someone on a whim, so Clotet has to be incredibly careful with how he manages the situation. Usually I’m in favour of playing the youngsters at the club, but I feel that this situation would be too much of a risk, both for him and for Bellingham.
What do you think? Do you think that playing Bellingham more will give Clotet a little bit more breathing space from the fans? Or do you think his position puts him in a situation where he has to win now and deal about the future, well, in the future?