Australian midfielder Kenny Dougall proved to be the only shining light for Blackpool as they fall to a disappointing loss at home to Derby County
Let’s look back at the weekend and dissect some of the Aussies that played well across the footballing world.
Starting in central midfield for Blackpool, Kenny Dougall has continued his brilliant form for Blackpool this season, despite his club’s mediocre campaign in the league. His most recent match, a 2-0 loss at home to Derby County, proved to be one of his better ones, as his presence in the midfield prevented his side from getting blown out.
Sitting in a double pivot as a part of a 4-4-2 formation, Dougall is deployed in a much more defensive role, acting as the anchor that sits Infront of the back four to cut off passing lanes and break up promising attacks. He shuttles from side to side and very rarely makes forward runs, this is because he is the key pillar in breaking up counterattacks.
Because of this, his attacking output is heavily diminished. However, this is made up for by his incredible defensive output, a key tactical implementation that the Blackpool manager Neil Critchley heavily relies upon to get success out of his side.
Despite the poor overall performance over the weekend, Dougal was a standout for Blackpool. Being that defensive pillar that he is known for and being one of the very few shining lights for Blackpool in that match.
Having a match-high nine tackles is just proof of how well he can read the play and how much tenacity he possesses. Winning 11 from 16 ground duels and not committing a foul all match, Dougall was a brick wall for his side, destroying every opposition player that he came across.
He still provided something going forward, completing two key passes, and completing seven of his 10 long balls.
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These well-rounded numbers, with an emphasis on his defensive game, are something that the Socceroos have lacked in a major way. This selfless and disciplined game, should he be able to translate this to the international level, could be the key to unlocking some of the Socceroos’ more creative players.
Dougall is putting together a very consistent and effective season, being one of Blackpool’s better players through the campaign. This should lead to an international call-up for the must-win matches in June, and he could be the difference-maker in getting the Socceroos the World Cup spot that they so desperately need.
Moving from one Australian central midfielder playing in England to another, Massimo Luongo has strung together a good patch of form in recent times, and this continued on the weekend as his Sheffield Wednesday side beat Portsmouth 4-1. Luongo, playing as the central midfielder in a midfield three, proved to be the archetypal box-to-box midfielder.
At the end of the proceedings, he completed five tackles while only committing one foul. He won eight of his twelve ground duels, only losing possession 10 times, and completed two from three dribbles.
Gianni Stensness is proving to be one of the most informed players that the Socceroos have available. Putting together another fantastic performance playing as a left-sided centre half, he is firmly putting his name in the hat for not only an international call-up but a starting spot for those vital matches in June.
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