21 Apr 2016

Emre Can raves: 'Amazing' World Cup winner is my 'favourite player'; Ronaldo and Messi 'the best'

Whether it's attempting ill-advised tricks (usually in the wrong areas of the field), or over-ambitious Hollywood balls, Liverpool midfielder Emre Can has a frustrating penchant for complicating things on the pitch. When he keeps it simple, Can is an effective recycler of possession, but unfortunately, he's a legend in his own mind, and in a new interview this week, the German provided a key piece of insight into why that might be the case.

When asked on Thursday about his football idols, and players he admires, Can enthused:

"Zinedine Zidane^ is my favourite player. Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are the best players in the world".

It's all becoming clear now :-)

Can idolises players like Zidane and Ronaldo, so he tries to emulate their skills on the pitch, and anyone who plays the game will understand that.

As a kid, John Barnes (my favourite ever player) inspired me to play football, and even now, I try and play like Barnesy whenever I'm on the field.

Unfortunately, just as I don't have one-tenth of Barnes' genius, Can doesn't have the required game intelligence or skill-set to reach the level of Zidane or Ronaldo. He's a battering ram, and lacks the creative nuance and refinement to be an attacking game-changer.

Occasionally, Can's flashy tricks will come off, but on the whole, his over-elaboration often leads to loss of possession and/or being dispossessed. Jurgen Klopp is aware of this, and it looks like he's working with Can to rectify the situation Indeed, Klopp alluded to this after the 4-3 victory over Dortmund, when he told reporters:

"You could see he [Can] felt really secure and was confident and he used his skills like he should use them - not always running with the ball like he did in the past - and he played man's football".

Clearly, Can is no Zidane, but if he simply accepted his limitations and played to his strengths, he could be a Didier Deschamps, or even a Patrick Vieira.

In my view, Can should be moulded into a dedicated defensive midfielder. There's a reason he plays defensive roles for Liverpool (central defender under Rodgers) and Germany (Right-back): he's good defensively, and that is where his strengths lie.

* Hailed in March as an 'amazing' player by Mesut Ozil.

Author: Jaimie K


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