Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Song's right - running is hard work

Lately, I've taken up running. I've never done it before, and it's hard work. I've downloaded a series of podcasts that's designed to turn me from a couch potato to a decent runner in 9 weeks. It's challenging. So far, I get about 8 minutes worth of actual running in a 30 minute period. The rest of the time is spent walking, gasping for breath and wheezing in a sickly manner.

Which brings me to Alex Song. 

I admit, I was one of those people who got on his case for not running around on the pitch. It upset me to see him loping around in a casual manner while we were being over-run in the midfield. It offended me to see him walking around while Flamini, his predecessor, would've been pressing and harrying for the full 90 minutes. But maybe I was being too hard on him. Running is hard work, and running around for 90 minutes a game might be asking too much of a 20 year old with more important things on his mind. 

But hopefully, Alex Song will start running again soon. I hope he does, because he's a good player when he does. I was shocked late last season when Alex Song started running around in midfield. I think around the time of the CL semi-finals, he was close to being our best player. He was pressing, and positionally aware, and bossing the midfield with his physique. That's the kind of player we all want Song to be. 

One DM to whom we've been perennially linked, Yaya Toure, has been - surprise, surprise - linked with us again. Now, this is a guy who Song should try to emulate. He's strong and good in the tackle, he's positionally sound and he drives forward, and what's more important, he can run. There's very little chance we'll buy him (the main reason we were after him was to reunite him with Kolo) but we need someone like him to protect the midfield and give a physical presence. Despite all the artistry on display, we need a midfield warrior to boss the opposition. 

I think Alex Song can still be that warrior, but he's got to start running again - even if it's hard work. I know it's tough. The first few weeks will be spent wheezing, choking and gasping for breathe. But we'll be a better team for it.