24 Feb 2012

Alex McLeish insists: Struggling £55m Liverpool duo are 'great players'...

It's an understatement to say that £55m Liverpool pair Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll have taken a long time to settle-in at Anfield. Carroll was admittedly injured when he arrived at the club but, like Downing, he is a British player with experience of the Premier League, which should've theoretically made the settling-in process easier. Despite their slow progress, Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is convinced that Downing and Carroll are 'great players'.

Speaking to the Stamford Mercury, McLeish admitted that summer signing Charles N'Zogbia had been 'slow to settle in', and then made a comparison with Downing and Carroll. He observed:

"Charles has been slow to settle but you only have to look at other examples up and down the country.

"Why has Andy Carroll been slow to settle at Liverpool. Why has Stewart Downing been slow to settle there? You are talking about two great players.

"It is just one of the mysteries of football. You tend to think when you get an English player, or a player who has been playing in England, that they will hit the ground running".

McLeish's final sentence sums up the way many Liverpool fans think about Carroll and Downing: Both are English; both have experience of playing in the English Premier League, and both should've hit the ground running, something that hasn't happened.

As for Downing and Carroll allegedly being 'great players' - Even the most charitable observer would surely struggle to justify that analysis. Either McLeish's standards for what constitutes a 'great player' are very low, or his capacity for exaggeration is very high.

The ironic thing is that Carroll and Downing probably would be great players...if they played for Villa, a club which is - with all due respect - a perfect fit for their ability/mentality level.

If McLeish thinks they're so great, perhaps he'll bid on the pair in the summer? #DreamComeTrue

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Jaimie you're a prick, any football manager knows far more than you about football, even alex mcleish. if he says they're great players, they're great players, they know far more about football than you, it's not all about being flashy and foreign. Im not sure he knows much about carroll but he knows about downing because he watched him train when he was still at villa.

  2. Ability/mentality level.......wow, how arrogant was that statement? Did any of those players choose to be bought for that amount of money??????? NO. Are any of the big "stars" of any team running away with the scoring stakes??? RVP on 22 but after that its pretty average. Good to know what makes a great player, you ever thought of being a manager? apart from on the computer.......

  3. Jaimie, your capacity for smugness knows no bounds

    Utter disrespect shown to Downing, Carroll and Aston Villa in one foul swoop in the 2nd last paragraph

  4. Disrespect? Don't make me laugh. It's okay for masses of Liverpool fans to go around personally slagging off players they don't like; managers they don't like etc, but I'm not allowed to express my opinion in a non-personal manner?!

    You shouldn't be such a hypocrite; in an earlier comment you labelled Mourinho a 'horrible person and a destructive influence on football'. Is that not 'disrespectful'?

    Nothing I've said about Downing or Carroll is even slightly controversial or insulting; my opinion is that they have neither the ability or mentality to prosper at Liverpool. What's the big deal? And where is the evidence to prove otherwise?

  5. Are they to blame for the transfer fees paid??? not in the slightest, but to say they dont have the ability or mentality to be a success at our club is a ridiculous statement. Im sure you have all the stats in the world but the truth is, the 1st cup final to be won this season and we are involved!  Nobody in any team has set the world alight, RVP has 22 goals but no chance of a medal! after that it is pretty average. How you can say they dont have the mentality is amazing, are you their therapists????  Although like every fan of every club, I wish our players could do better and be a throwback to the 80s/early 90s, but nobody has that right, it has to be earned. I for one am happy with the PROGRESS! and thats what it is, our club is showing.

  6. 'With all due respect, great players if they are with Aston Villa'! uh oh where did KOP come from, let us all guess 'Dalglesh's yes men and fans, it was a long time ago guys when you won anything serious'. From a neutral fan how far are you advanced from Aston Villa. A few points by the looks of it and nowhere near CL for the foreseeable future. Sad times for LFC, poor signings, poor manager and poor supporters always trying to big up their club. Happy I support a very low league club and always have a great day out with my young boy.   

  7. Mourinho is the last person in football worthy of respect, in my opinion, he has presided over the worst displays of anti-football behaviour in recent years. From the antics of his Porto team diving all over the place years ago v Celtic, to more recently when he gouged the eye of a Barca coach, while prompting his lunatic midfielder Pepe to assault as many Barca players as possible and then complains about a conspiracy when these thuggish tactics are punished by red cards

    He yearns for a return to England because the media laps up his poison, Italian and Spanish media quickly tired of him

    He uses every dirty tactic in the book. He is a cheat. You are very forthright in your views on cheating

    Am in incorrect in my assessment of Mourinho's character?

    Your comments about both players is fair enough, it's your opinion, but I really don't see the need to denegrate Aston Villa, a fine football club with an excellent history and culture, until losing their way recently thanks to an narrow minded owner that sacked Martin O' Neill

    I felt the comment lacked class

  8. This was as unintelligent as it was disrespectful.  You have no idea what your talking about it, and on top of that you are terrible at writing.  This was as informative as a FOX news story, and filled with just as much BS.  Do us all a favor and smash your computer with a rock so nobody has to read your godawful writing.  PLEASE look up the word "ironic".  There was no irony in that statement.

  9. Jaimie, I was a regular reader in your ad-free days when you used to write objectively about Liverpool FC. Now this site has degenerated to an ad-ridden news-aggregator and your disrespectful annotations to add nothing to the content. Downing and Carroll don't have the right mentality? I wonder on what basis you can make such a low comment. 

    Anyway, not that it matters to you, I am not returning. 

    A Red.

  10. To put it in a nicer way, double standard...

    Why not write about something Robbie Salvage says...think will generate more traffic

  11. Jaimie You slag players off on a regular basis. Dont say you dont because you do. You are not as impartial as you make out.

  12. this site is doing my head in now,its all nonsense.how can you openly slag off lfc players and claim to be a red,?your a dickhead

  13. Nobody will say much if those players have a good game tomorrow and win the cup!!!!

  14. Hypercritical as always in an attempt to prove YOUR point Jamie....Downing has recently came out and admitted he has struggled to comprehend what it was to be a Liverpool player having, as you rightly point out been used to playing for a club the size of Villa.Carroll too has come from a smaller more insular club where he was the local hero to being made the most expensive british player ever, playing for 1 of the biggest clubs in the world where he's not guaranteed to start. All while carrying an injury AND both are trying to fit in with 5 other new players... Carroll's goal last week against Brighton which came from a Downing cross showed the potential thats there from these 2 so lets see how the rest of the season pans out?                                                                    Alternately we could have went out and brought world class foreign talent like Juan Veron who played for the mancs/chavs or that world cup/euro champ winner F.Torres who plays for Chavski. I mean those moves went seemlessly with both players hitting the ground running before going on to establish themselves as club legends for their teams....No? Oh, that's just me then....

  15. Agreed!!, let's judge the season when it's over!!!. It might be a special season still????.

  16. There's a lot to be said for that Bob , but because of our past it is pretty hard to enjoy it , crazy I know and you can't give up on it either ? So I hope you and your boy carry on enjoying your days out , and sadly we'll all keep hoping for the day when we win everything again , so they have to send a team from mars to beat us . We wouldn't have it any other way .

  17. At least they 'previous' to back up their ability and fee.

  18. 'nobody in amy team has set the world alight'
    oxlade chamberlain and james mclean perhaps?
    2 young players who've been a breath of fresh air this season.van persie is on fire,he mightn't win a medal but none of our players might either.

  19. 'Ability' was a very poor choice of word. That suggests Villa is a class below, but Villa are in fact the 5th best all time team in the premier league in terms of total points amassed, just behind Liverpool. Surely you must have meant 'qualities'. It is true that Downing especially suits their style of play. OPTA has indicated he is hardly doing anything differently for us as he had done for Villa except score and assist. He became their player of the season doing just about the exact same things that make him our flop of the season.

    As for Carroll, I concur with McLeish he is a great player. Form is temporary, class is permanent. As demonstrated by his last few performances, the aimlessly lumbering Carroll was a minor blip. His tackles and passing in the Brighton game had been very clever and purposeful, indicating he is beginning to gel with the team, it's not just about a club from a lower division being unable to cope with him. Like Lucas and Henderson, Carroll's game is all about knowing what the team wants and how he can fit in. Given Henderson is still miles from being effective and Lucas needed 3 seasons to even become decent, Carroll has done remarkably well to get there in 1 1/2 seasons.

    Carroll may be a foul mouthed moaner when things don't go his way on the pitch, but it doesn't translate to sulking and disinterest, unlike the dud who happened to be phenomenal for us c/o Rafa's brilliant vision. Carroll is more like Rooney in that the more he moans and cusses, the more determined he gets and that reflects in his performances. Other great sportsmen like McEnroe, Safin, Ivanisevic and Mike Tyson also demonstrated this quality. I too thought he was poor in the first half of the season, but he is looking a different player, and if he does get back to his levels exhibited in a Geordie shirt, he will profit from having better players around him. Not to suggest Newcastle didn't have a good team, but Suarez and Gerrard are world class and Maxi/Kuyt/Bellamy are very experienced campaigners.

  20. but they won't have good games,that's the problem.