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Best of Besic still to come

by | 13/04/2015  Comments (84)  jump

(Clive Brunskill, Getty Images)
Roberto Martinez says that Muhamed Besic is ahead of where he expected him to be in his first Premier League season as he adapts to a new position.

After the Everton manager had identified the Bosnia-Herzegovina international as one of his main transfer targets at the World Cup last summer, Besic signed for the Blues following protracted transfer negotiations with his former club Ferencvaros.

The 22-year-old had come to the fore in the Hungarian club's side as a centre half but Martinez saw him developing into a top-class defensive midfielder, the role he filled for his country in Brazil and where he gained attention for his man-marking efforts on Lionel Messi.

Thanks largely to James McCarthy's injury battles over the first half of this season, Besic has already made 29 appearances for Everton and become something of a cult hero among supporters who have welcomed his tenacity and commitment.

Martinez believes his 4m acquisition is still an uncut diamond but that Besic will only get better and can grow to become a linchpin of Everton's midfield in seasons to come.

When you assess Mo Besic as a footballer you need to look into his character," the manager says in the Liverpool Echo. He is someone you can rely on and someone you can build a special future on.

The reality is that Mo has come from a different league and so to arrive into the Premier League and play the amount of games he has done is magnificent.

And then becoming a master of a new position is going to take a bit of time.

"But Mo is someone how has played a lot of football this season and his experiences are helping him develop all the time and he's probably ahead of where I expected him to be.

He is still a very young player and the best is still to come, especially with another pre-season under his belt.  

Reader Comments (84)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 13/04/2015 at 18:43:56
For a kid being played out of position in foreign surroundings, I think he's been superb. Next season we will see the best of Mo Besic.
Peter Mills
2 Posted 13/04/2015 at 18:54:40
I like his attitude and believe has potential.
Paul Hewitt
3 Posted 13/04/2015 at 19:00:02
The only way we will see the best of Besic is if Martinez Leaves.
Harold Matthews
4 Posted 13/04/2015 at 18:56:24
A good lad who will definitely improve with experience.
Dean Adams
5 Posted 13/04/2015 at 19:20:09
The sooner he takes the Barry position full time the better for me. He has bags of energy and has good pace. He can be a real rock for us for years.
Frank Crewe
6 Posted 13/04/2015 at 19:27:08
Assuming he can get past Barry, McCarthy, Gibson and possibly Cleverly. Not to mention having no European football will mean a less games for him to play in.

Personally I don't think he has a chance unless Martinez leaves the club and we get a manager who is more inclined towards attacking football instead of stuffing the side with defensive players.

Colin Williams
7 Posted 13/04/2015 at 20:20:38
Bobby Bullshit off again! He was only a top performer for his country at the World Cup... Besic is a regular for his country, consistently plays well, and certainly one of the first players on team sheet. This guy should be playing for us on a regular basis, not when this CLOWN of a manager has a "brain wave" and decides to give him 5 mins at end of game.

Bobby, you are truly clueless and full of shite.... thinking you can use bullshit bollocks to Evertonians! Just leave... please!!!

James Flynn
8 Posted 13/04/2015 at 20:13:37
As soon as he stops with his little "back pass to myself" creativity that had him all the rage in Hungary, the better.

He definitely has his work cut out just to keep from being trampled underfoot He's a mid-fielder smaller even than Baines or Ossie. Anyone seen anything so far indicating Besic has something close to their skills?

I like him, want the best for him. But, sorry to say, I'm looking at a pacy MLS player.

Darren Hind
9 Posted 13/04/2015 at 20:07:55
A tackling machine, not much more.

Like McCarthy and Barry he doesn't seem to have any creativity in his game. He's made hundreds of tackles in those 29 appearances but how many goals has he scored? How many assists?

He has already managed to get himself noticed by every premiership referee (not easy to reverse). If the guy created chances like he gave away free kicks he might be worth getting excited about.

A water carrier who was afforded cult status by people desperate to justify their hero's extended jolly in South America.

Praise him all you want, but he is another Martinez signing who will never get your arse working its way to the edge of your seat.

Dan Brierley
10 Posted 13/04/2015 at 20:54:45
Agree with the opinions above, a player that will not flourish until paired with a manager who can build a system around the players strengths, instead of trying to force square pegs into round holes. He looked hungry when he first arrived, and then had his passion coached out of him in place of rigid discipline.

The right manager will set the likes of Barkley, Besic and McCarthy free instead of stifling them with ineffective tactics that do not naturally suit their style.

Tony Hill
11 Posted 13/04/2015 at 21:01:28
He's a player of obvious ability and courage who has been mysteriously messed about this season, no doubt because of the manager's Barry fetish. For a period of time, he was consistently our best player.

Fellaini collected numerous bookings when he began and indeed still does but that"s exactly what we need, players with bite and a bit of nastiness.. He's far more than a water carrier and we would do well to recognise his ability before he leaves us and flourishes elsewhere. Of course, in his first season he's had blips but so what?

Besic and McCarthy are major plus points for Martinez and, as someone who thinks the manager should be sacked in the summer, I have no problem in saying so. If we treat them right, those two players will be the heart of our side for years to come.

Peter McHugh
12 Posted 13/04/2015 at 21:10:29
Darren Hind is quite blunt in his opinions but I think there's a lot of truth in what he says.

Loads of people having a go at Martinez. I think he deserves more time and don't see two seasons as enough to judge him. Perhaps my opinion is slanted because of way I viewed Moyes.

However, the one point I found hard to criticise Moyes on was his transfer dealings with us. The biggest doubt I have with Martinez is his transfer dealings whilst with us. When at Wigan, I don't think he did too bad but with us, the jury is well and truly out... and his prospects look bleak currently.

Ross Edwards
13 Posted 13/04/2015 at 21:15:21
It would help if you actually played him, mate.
Helen Mallon
15 Posted 13/04/2015 at 21:26:01
Darren Hind – I am so glad you are not a manager...

A water carrier? Are you mad. He's our best midfielder by far and has great vision. The boy needs games. Next season, him and McCarthy and Ross will rule the Premier League.

Ian Jones
16 Posted 13/04/2015 at 21:27:46
I like the look of Besic but also worried about his creativity in midfield. Now of course I have been reminded on here of possibly his main position as a centre back. A position not necessarily known as a creative one. Perhaps as many have mentioned. He is just another defensive mid. Great at breaking up play etc.
Mark Frere
17 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:06:35
I love his enthusiasm for the game. Unlike many other players this season, heÂ’s given 100% every time heÂ’s being called upon. You can tell heÂ’s the type who just hates losing and will run through brick walls for the club.

I thought his best game this season was when he was partnered with Barkley against QPR. He was a real tiger in midfield and Joey Barton was scared to death by his raw aggression.

I think thereÂ’s so much more to come from Besic. If we think back to the shambles of pre-season, Besic was the only major plus to come out of it. He showed some amazing rage of passing that had many of us purring. For some reason he hasnÂ’t shown that same ability in competitive games, but he definitely has it in his locker.

The future is bright for Mo, and we are lucky to have him.

Trevor Peers
18 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:02:45
Using our best midfield trio of all time Ball, Harvey and Kendall may be a bit harsh as a comparison, where would Besic figure? No of course not, I'd say he's more in the Alan Harper mould. Darren got it spot on.
Lyndon Lloyd
19 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:13:52
He is 22, playing his first season in a difficult league and in a team that has struggled for form, deployed in a dual-DM system that, by instruction, stifles any midfield creativity he might wish to express. I think writing him off at this stage is massively premature.

There were occasions when he was playing (West Brom at home comes to mind) where he was the only creative influence in a Blue jersey on the pitch, suggesting he can be more than just the holding midfielder he has been allowed to be so far.

My one gripe is his immaturity when it comes to flying into challenges (he essentially admitted that he will go in recklessly every game until he is booked) but that will change over time. In the meantime, I think he's an exciting prospect and the longer-term (I'd prefer shorter but I'm not Martinez) successor to Gareth Barry.

Kevin Tully
20 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:32:26
For ٢m, we should be signing the complete midfielder. I mean, for that sort of money, you would expect at least 10 goals a season and for this young lad to be at the top his game in his first season in the Premier League.

Seek. Medical. Help.....

Gavin Johnson
21 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:34:44
He could prove to be an in-house option at centre-back. Hopefully we'll bring in a player who at the level of Stones/Jags this summer, if not, he's an option who couldn't be any worse than Distin and Alcaraz have been this season.
Tom Bowers
22 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:11:08
Besic, much like Atsu, has a lot of promise. I would like to have Atsu for next season also and a bid should be made. This lad was brilliant at the African Cup and obviously has great talent.

The Blues have to now look beyond Pienaar, Osman, Gibson and Barry.

Trevor Peers
23 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:31:42
We need a creative CM like Yohan Cabaye, I think Besic would prosper working alongside someone with his ability. It will be difficult for him otherwise. Mcarthy, Barry, Besic and now probably Clevererly are all too similar.
Mark Frere
24 Posted 13/04/2015 at 22:56:36
Gavin, Besic is only 5'10" in height which is way too short to be a PL Centre-Back. In Hungary (in a poor league) it wasn't a problem.

That's my worry with Browning as well, he's only a inch taller than Besic. Perhaps Browning's future is as a RB.

Peter McHugh
25 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:00:51
Kevin 20 # Arteta Cahill Pienaar all cost less as midfielders and if defender – Lescott and Jags cost similar (not to mention Coleman).

Unknown footballers playing in Hungary (or the Championship, Germany, France) or wherever don't cost loads. Somebody said Cabaye before – obviously no way we could afford him now but Newcastle got him for a snip.

It is possible to get gems for ٢m. I do think people are exaggerating his potential from what I have seen of him.

Eddie Dunn
26 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:03:30
I thought that pre-season he played some good penetrative passes in offence, but the longer he has been here, the more destructive he has become. This is down to his manager. Macca suffer from the same affliction.

Occasionally Barry wakes up and remembers what he can do, and gets forward and plays a good pass. Just what is our boss drumming into our players? He seems so positive in his words, and "bigs" his boys up, but he is stifling their creativity.

It's really baffling. If Lennon does sign, will he become the bastard son of Ray Wilkins?

Gavin Johnson
27 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:08:27
I'm not 100% sold on the idea, Mark. I also think that his height could be a major stumbling block. But I think everything else in his game gives him the potential to make a top CB. That said, height never stopped Paul Parker being a decent CB when he played there, and he was a midget.

It'll never happen anyway. It's like Baines moving into the Lahm midfield role.

Mark Frere
28 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:18:28
Paul Parker was always a RB as I remember Gavin and can't remember him at CB to be honest. I do remember a player called Perry who played for Wimbledon and Spurs who had one hell of a mighty leap that enabled him to out-jump much taller players. He was the only short CB I remember having any success in the PL.
Gavin Johnson
29 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:26:40
I was a kid when Parker played for QPR but I always thought he started as a CB before moving to RB – a bit like Earl Barett who played at CB a bit at Oldham before settling as a RB. I could well be wrong though, I was about 12 when Parker was playing for QPR.
Eddie Dunn
30 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:29:29
Parker did play centre half for Spurs and England. He was clever, read the game and was a good well balanced player.
Eddie Dunn
31 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:32:02
.Sorry, not Spurs – QPR and Man Ure!
Gavin Johnson
32 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:35:26
Eddie, Parker was pretty fast too, and like you say, he must have been able to read the game well because he was tiny for a CB.
Colin Glassar
33 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:42:54
Eugene #14, nothing new there.

Lyndon and Kevin T, spot on. Give the lad a chance.

Kevin Tully
34 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:28:19
Peter # 25 - Yes, and all those players you mention were completely underwhelming until they found their feet, but don't let that get in the way of judging the lad already.

Also, if you want to balance the argument about OFM's signings (Why would you bring that up?) Simon Davies, Bilyaletdinov and shandy Andy were all garbage, and one a known drug abuser. Transfer fees have also rocketed in the past 7 or 8 years. Look at all the 㿀m players across the park, most of them wouldn't have been worth ٢m even five or six years ago. The equivalent fee in 2007 when we signed Arteta, or any of the above players you mention is irrelevant. I am sure you realise that 8 years on in the Premier League, transfer fees are not comparable?

We are talking about a 22-year-old, who will be excellent value for money. I've seen enough of him to think he could be a very good player.

Patrick Murphy
35 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:44:13
As a distraction from today's footballers and their lack of heart and enjoyment of the game, here is a game I haven't seen before on TV or had forgotten about from 1987:

Chelsea 87

It's hard to believe the state of Stamford Bridge and the state of the pitch. Watch out for a fantastic goal from Alan Harper and a wonderful save by Big Nev. Add to that the unbelievable decision by the referee to award Everton a free-kick on the edge of the area when it was a clear penalty.

Phil Sammon
36 Posted 13/04/2015 at 23:54:29
Terrific character... uncut diamond... best yet to come... phenomenal talent...

Same as every player on our books then. Sick of hearing it, Roberto.

Kevin Tully
37 Posted 14/04/2015 at 00:15:38
Patrick, you may be interested in this. It gives an insight into what fees some transfers would be worth in today's market.


Patrick Murphy
38 Posted 14/04/2015 at 00:25:12
Kevin - I know the list isn't definitive as it makes adjustments etc, but could you have ever imagined that the top 100 purchases during the last 20 odd years would not have a single Everton arrival amongst it, think back to the 80s when Everton and Liverpool had a tacit agreement not to go above the ٟm mark.
Peter Fearon
39 Posted 14/04/2015 at 00:36:45
Besic is a good tackler but he gives the ball away too cheaply too often. If he can solve that next season, he will be more of an asset
Mark Andersson
40 Posted 14/04/2015 at 02:23:05
Thanks for the link Patrick. That team would smash most teams today. So even back in 87 the refs where blind.

As for Besic, I'm not sold as yet and anything Martinez says is not to be believed.

Colin Williams
41 Posted 14/04/2015 at 02:07:32
Besic is a excellent young talented footballer who we are "so lucky to have at our great club". The only thing wrong with Besic is the guy who tries to manage him....

This manager is out of his depth.... Martinez, please leave – you’re destroying our talented youth lads and also totally messing with our senior players’ heads. Your decision-making all things Everton over the last year or so – has been amateur at best! Leave... After 50 years of total devotion to my special club, I have started to be confused and very upset with what you say and things you do!! You’re embarrassing our great club.

Jim Hardin
42 Posted 14/04/2015 at 02:17:06
Tony #11. Sorry Tony but even during his supposed good run his passing stats were still below Barry and McCarthy regarding percentage completed, length of pass, etc, including the unheard of to him, forward pass to a teammate.

He did lead in chances created for the other team and assists for the other team's goal over the three with his woeful no-look passes and easy turnovers. Agree the position might be different but in Europe is a forward pass something other than what we understand it to be?

Darren Hind
43 Posted 14/04/2015 at 06:09:55
Kevin Tully,

Nobody expects David Silva for ٢M. We are getting what we paid for, a ٢M player, somtimes slightly above average and sometimes slightly below.

I despair when I see genuinely gifted players like Bojan signing for half the club at half the price. Yet we are shouting about this guy from the roof tops.

I may well reconsider if he ever creates a chance or two – at the right end.

Paul Andrews
44 Posted 14/04/2015 at 06:49:53
Have I missed something?

How many goals has Bojan scored this season?

Peter McHugh
45 Posted 14/04/2015 at 06:53:15
Kevin Tully – I don’t necessarily agree that transfer fees have rocketed. In the Premier League they have, but in the other top 4 European leagues the amount spent is circa half of what the Premier League spend. This despite top transfers being from clubs abroad – eg, Bale, Neymar, Cavani.

The Premier League is hyped beyond belief when standard is poor. Obviously I hope IÂ’m wrong with Besic but just donÂ’t see it.

The teams that have come up from Championship all have some players that I would happily see in our side. I remember with Arteta tearing my hair out when we were haggling over the fee as he was pure quality. Whether Besic cost 㾶m or ٢m, I just donÂ’t see this quality player others see.

Neil Pickering
46 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:07:40
A superb young player. Should be playing ahead of Barry, and when Stones was injured should have slotted in at centre-back, as that's actually the position he's learnt his trade in. I see our manager is spouting his usual dross again; if he's that special then play him. That's what he needs to develop, not 45 mins here and there.

He's probably on the small side for a centre-half but, if you're going to tell me that Alcaraz was the safer option at the time, then you're as mad as Bobby is, I say.

Jim Bennings
47 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:25:14
Still not sure really what he actually does yet that really gets so many people excited.

He doesn't shoot, doesn't score goals, has hardly played a forward progressive pass when he's played but he does run around a lot.

I'm failing to see what the midfield of McCarthy, Besic and Barry are going to achieve next season. One goal all season between the three of them!! They are all too alike and it's even more noticeable when Barkley has only scored two all season.

Our central midfielder has been shite all season and sticking with the same group won't bring about any better fortunes next season. No movement, nobody who can play a creative pass... Get used to it, guys.

Jamie Barlow
48 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:26:51
He looks like he's going to be a good player. Pretty calm on the ball for a young lad but plays about a bit too much at the moment. He isn't better than Barry though. Not yet. He has loads of time on his side.
Jim Bennings
49 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:34:52
Besic is a prime example of modern day fans getting too excited by one performance he had at the World Cup, let's not forget Atsu looks a world beater playing for Ghana!

I don't dislike Besic I just don't think he's done enough yet to justify all this "world class" or "phenomenal talent" clamour.

What he is, he is a relatively competent stopper, he's not disciplined enough to play weekly basis yet and he's not better than McCarthy at defensive duties.

As for him at centre half??? Sure he's really going to win headers against the the like of Stoke or West Ham isn't he? Against strikers with rapid pace and power and movement, people need to accept this is the English Premier League – not the bleeding Xbox!!

Andrew Ellams
50 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:38:02
But Darren, Bojan cam with injury baggage and has picked up another long-term one. If Martinez had signed him like some were calling for in the summer and his season had ended half way through, what comments would we be seeing on here? Another crock, the new Gibson etc.

Besic is very young for the position he is being asked to play and will mature into it. I still chuckle every time he plays and there is a stream of derision on the live forum because of the guaranteed red card coming his way. How many of those has he had this season?

Chris Gould
51 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:44:38
You don't expect a defensive midfielder to be creating chances. That is not his role. The problem we have is that with two DMs we are stifling any creativity from the middle of the park. Arsenal are the in-form team. They play with one defensive midfielder whose sole job is to break up the opposition's play and then distribute to a more creative teammate.

We need just on DM on the park at any one time. RM's system has just one striker and two DMs. Why are people surprised with the lack of chances created? It's too negative. We need to phase out Barry and just use McCarthy in the role with Besic as backup.

Harold Matthews
52 Posted 14/04/2015 at 07:43:51
Spot on, Darren. For ٢M we don't get a 24-year-old finished article. We certainly don't get David Silva. What we get is an intelligent, hard as nails, enthusiastic footballer who can perform at Premier League level and is delighted to be part of the Everton first team squad.

I'm with Martinez all the way with this lad. He personally scouted him in Brazil and will bring him through gradually. The schoolboy errors will be eliminated and he'll probably become a regular starter. Maybe in the Barry role, maybe in the McCarthy role. Who knows.

The most interesting thing about the Swansea game was McCarthy in the No 10 position. People who think he pushed himself further forward can forget it. He was deliberately played between Kone and Barkley and, apart from fluffing a scoring chance, linked very well with Kone, Barkley, Pienaar, Lennon, Coleman and Baines. Occasionally he did chase back but only when it was necessary.

Personally, I hope we try this again. It helped create our goal and our passing in the final third was much better than of late. Probably because all those concerned had a good first touch.

Jim Bennings
53 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:52:05
Have to laugh at the way Roberto says we will see the best of Besic next season "especially with another pre-season under his belt". Bloody hell... another of your pre-seasons and he will fit for nothing.

Rather bullshit talking, why doesn't Martinez show us Besic for the remaining few games of the season and let's see if he can offer something different than we have seen so far in his performances, which is basically just a carbon copy James McCarthy... or James McCarthy-lite.

Martinez has just finished telling us that at the age of 34, Barry has played in more matches than expected, so bloody give him a rest now there's nothing to play for.

Sam Hoare
54 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:47:14
Darren Hind, I often agree with a lot of what you say but can't here. Not all good players have to be creative. Besic is not an eye-of-the-needle-pass type of guy who will rake up assists but he does have a decent range of passing and also I think is capable of driving forwards with the ball and going past people with his pace. He is confident on the ball (sometimes too much) and fiercely competitive (also sometimes too much). I think he has the attributes to be a top DMC. Matic is arguably the top DMC in the league but doesn't create a huge amount, he gives it to players who do.

His biggest problem is that he is very similar to McCarthy. Both offer great energy and dynamism, can pass the ball decently but lack forward penetration.

As pointed out earlier you really want to have a combination of a destroyer and a creator if you are playing two holding DMCs as Chelsea have had with Matic and Fabregas. Our problem is that we have not had that creative option except for Gibson and that's what we need to look for this Summer. Cleverley is not the solution. I've heard Cabaye could be available for ٦M... probably a longshot but he would add a huge amount alongside McCarthy or Besic.

Trevor Peers
55 Posted 14/04/2015 at 08:57:46
Roberto's insistence on buying this type of player and flooding the midfield with defensive players is probably his biggest downfall. Besic is a decent player but his game time will be limited.

Roberto should forget about Cleverley and sign an attacking creative CM; otherwise, we're in for another poor season.

Kevin Tully
56 Posted 14/04/2015 at 09:04:23
Anti-Martinez logic No 1: Take any given player (esp. a striker) who is having a decent season, or who is proving to be good value, then use the fact Martinez didn't sign him to prove the manager is useless.

Anti-Martinez logic No. 2: conveniently dismiss all the garbage OFM signed, just point out the successful transfers, then cherry pick those to prove Martinez is useless.

Transparent nonsense that's all too prevalent on here these days. At least Walling disliked him regardless of any results or transfers.

Jim Bennings
57 Posted 14/04/2015 at 09:11:55
No chance of Cabaye, he left Newcastle for being in the exact same position as us, no Europe and probably in his eyes we aren't a big enough catch.

There has to be a creative little gem out there somewhere. We said during the summertime that Ross Barkley was the man that this burden would fall upon and we were right, sadly Ross has failed to live up to it, both physically and mentally.

Agree that Cleverley is NOT that man to answer our problems.

Cleverley may have been a decent signing if we were lacking that type of player but we are overloaded with them.

Sam Hoare
58 Posted 14/04/2015 at 09:16:36
Kevin, you used to do exactly the same when Moyes was in charge and worse so you may want to take it easy on the condescension! Football fans usually have agendas as you well know so if it irks you so much I wonder why you spend so much time on here?
Phil Walling
59 Posted 14/04/2015 at 09:24:33
So Roberto plays McCarthy as No 10 to accommodate Besic, eh? Just what we need... another forward who can't shoot!
Harold Matthews
60 Posted 14/04/2015 at 09:29:29
He's working on it, Phil.
Kevin Tully
61 Posted 14/04/2015 at 09:45:06
Sorry, Sam. I will try my best not to post in future. However, I may read something that is clearly misleading, so apologies in advance if I feel I want to reply.

You also ask "I wonder why you spend so much time on here?"

Well, I have been a Blue for 40 odd years, and I have been a season ticket holder for most of that time,apart from a few years spent overseas. So you see, Everton are sort of a big part of my life.

Is that OK with you?

Sam Hoare
62 Posted 14/04/2015 at 10:05:05
OK, Kevin. You have my permission. Just try to play nice. Ish.
Franny Porter
63 Posted 14/04/2015 at 10:26:03
If we played the "Phenomonal" Besic and the even "Phenomonallerer" Barkley together, we would be gifting the ball back to the opposition every time the ball went to our midfield. Both players constantly give the ball away and it's fucking infuriating.
Terence Leong
64 Posted 14/04/2015 at 10:26:22
A few thoughts:

I am in agreement that Besic needs to be eased in. Some players need that, others don't. And if they are needed, then it's reasonable for the manager to do so.

Lyndon pointed out that (and has many others) that Besic picks up yellow cards far too easily. I'm reminded of Dacourt and Materazzi. Walter Smith bought them (they were in their early 20s), and they were picking up yellow cards rapidly. Gravesen took a few seasons to become productive.

Re comments that Besic is too small, Denis Wise wasn't too big, was he? Neither was Peter Reid or Paul Bracewell. And these players did alright.

I see him as the player to take over from Barry. It's unfortunate that Barry's decline this season is faster, which heightens everyone's expectations that Besic should be put into the first team much earlier.

Re the point about picking bargains outside of England and possibly Europe, the fact is, you'll need time for them to get acclimatized. To expect a bargain buy to acclimatize quickly and perform like a world-beater, I guess the formula is not that easily found.

Remember Juan Sebastian Veron? The media were all touting him as the next Player of the Year, even before the season started. Look where that got him, an experienced player, and a record buy then.

Colin Glassar
65 Posted 14/04/2015 at 10:47:25
And how many one-season wonders have we seen in the Premier League? Mido, Jelavic, Michu, that Egyptian fella, Fernandes, the Argentinian kid at Pompey that 'Arry said would be a world beater etc...... I'd rather they mature gradually and become great than be flash in the pans!
Peter McHugh
66 Posted 14/04/2015 at 12:22:25
Kevin Tully – for the record, I rate Martinez and want him to remain for next season but consider his transfer record whilst with us dodgy to say the least.

Also, whether I like Martinez or not has no bearing whatsoever on whether I think a player is good. And finally, I thought Moyes's transfer dealing were his biggest strength but disliked him as a manager!

James Marshall
67 Posted 14/04/2015 at 12:18:23
Besic? I don't think any of us have really seen enough of him to make a truly informed decision on how good he is. He seems 'alright' if you ask me, nothing special about him, nothing awful about him either.

Gives the ball away at times (à la Barkley) and occasionally makes a decent tackle about as often as he makes a bad one. He's no Paul Scholes when it comes to passing the ball, and he's no Paul Scholes when it comes to tackling either – if you see what I mean.

Andrew Ellams
68 Posted 14/04/2015 at 12:45:47
Franny @ 63, I can see where you are coming from with those two as individuals but the irony is the one game they played as a partnership was probably both players' best performance of the season.
Phil Walling
69 Posted 14/04/2015 at 13:32:39
Given this manager's record, that seems evidence enough never for him to try it again, Andrew!
Conor Skelly
70 Posted 14/04/2015 at 13:43:12
Oh please, will you all give it a rest regarding Besic. Darren is spot on. He's gained unjustified cult status for reasons unknown. Personally I think he's more on the bad side than the good. Our record when he plays speaks for itself. One win?
Andrew Ellams
71 Posted 14/04/2015 at 14:05:02
Well, Phil, he has had chances and not managed it so far so you are probably right.
Tony J Williams
72 Posted 14/04/2015 at 17:03:57
He looked good at the very start of the season. He was pushing forward with the ball and as the season went on, the less minutes he got, the less he seemed to try and push the ball forward.

I like him and think he will be a great player for us.

Darren Hind
73 Posted 14/04/2015 at 16:30:57
Paul Andrews

"Have I missed something. How many goals has Bojan score this season" . . . Dear me

You clearly did miss something. Despite having his season cut in half through serious injury. He has STILL managed to score and probably create more goals than McCarthy Besic and Barry put together . . actually you can throw in Kone into the mix too - another of "swashbuckling" Robbies signings. He's a proper footballer see

Besic is not a bad little player, but you guys really do need to get a grip . . . "He's someone you can rely on, someone you can build a special future on" Do you actually believe that ? I bet Martinez doesnt

Our midfield has been one of the most unproductive in world football this season - sadly fact - yet this "top class" signing still needs other players to be injured before he can get a game. Go figure

like I say, decent little player, but if we are ever to make inroads, our sights need to be considerably higher.

Jim Bennings
74 Posted 14/04/2015 at 17:25:27
The phrase "World class" is to loosely used nowadays that's the problem here with modern day football fan's.

The reality is that few players are actually world class but talent like Messi, Ronaldo, Ribery, Robben, Suarez, Pirlo, Schweinsteiger, Iniesta, these players are what world class is.

I have read fans on here referring to Besic or McCarthy as world class, get a grip guy's.

They are competent, solid performers who have a decent engine on them at Premier League level... But world class??

Not in a million year's.

Paul Andrews
75 Posted 14/04/2015 at 17:44:41
Darren Hind,

I havenÂ’t checked but I would imagine Naismith has scored more goals than StokeÂ’s 3 defensive midfielders combined total?

Kone has missed more than half a season; injured to be fair.

Keith Harrison
76 Posted 14/04/2015 at 18:19:01
World class players invariably end up at World Class clubs for World Class transfer fees and on World Class wages.

Which, like it or not, precludes us for at least the foreseeable future, and probably well beyond.

Whoever the manager is.

Paul Tran
77 Posted 14/04/2015 at 18:08:49
Besic is a water-carrier. McCarthy is a water-carrier. Barry is the thinking man's water-carrier. I'm waiting for us to sign someone who can hold the ball, see a forward pass and get a few goals. What we used to call a proper midfielder.
Doug Harris
78 Posted 14/04/2015 at 21:08:26
If he – or, as a matter of fact, anyone of our midfield(?) players – can pass a forward ball and run 10 or 20 yards to get the return, then maybe we can call them proper midfielders and not defensive midfielders. This applies to not just Besic by the way.

Hasn't it been good to see McCarthy getting somewhere near to our opponent's penalty area... but sadly he won't shoot.

Dan McKie
79 Posted 14/04/2015 at 22:39:48
Hopefully Besic will become the player Martinez wants him to be, but the focus should be on other areas of midfield. We have the defensive ones, so let's get some decent attacking ones. It's sad that Pienaar is still the only midfielder we have that is comfortable on the ball under pressure.
Ant Dwyer
80 Posted 15/04/2015 at 00:21:46
I like Besic but fact is, if we want to win more games, we need attacking midfielders, not defensive midfielders.

McCarthy is a starter every week, hopefully he's enough to stifle 90% of Premier League teams. With this in mind, either McCarthy or Besic have to add goals to there game.

Harold Matthews
81 Posted 15/04/2015 at 05:41:48
Dan. Totally agree though McCarthy wasnÂ’t a midfielder getting himself forward. Martinez played him in the Naismith position ahead of Barkley which allowed him to link up with Ross and Kone for the goal. Your "wonÂ’t shoot" comment should have read "didnÂ’t shoot" because it only happened once, when he was put through by the clever Barkley back-heel. Pienaar, who was thundering in to his right, was probably screaming for the ball but we all know Macca should have just belted it. HeÂ’ll learn.
Harold Matthews
82 Posted 15/04/2015 at 07:36:19
Sorry ,Dan. IÂ’ve just had another look at the Macca moment. It was Naismith thundering in screaming for the ball. Not Pienaar. He was still screaming when it all went wrong. Head in hands stuff. No way he wanted McCarthy to shoot.
Paul Andrews
83 Posted 15/04/2015 at 18:21:10
Just had a quick look at BojanÂ’s stats out of curiosity.

HeÂ’s got one goal every four games for Stoke with just the one assist in 16 games.

Andy Meighan
84 Posted 17/04/2015 at 06:47:02
Helen (#15) – so... er... why haven’t Besic, McCarthy and Barkley ruled the Premier League this season, then?

I'll tell you why: McCarthy and Besic are not creative enough – and are never likely to be. You can afford one in the midfield but not three as it is with Barry as well.

As for Barkley, well what a disappointment heÂ’s been. Yes, you could argue heÂ’s been shunted out wide... but that doesnÂ’t excuse his ability to lose the ball all the time or easily get shoved off it.

I happen to think Barkley is a fantastic talent and I am always waiting for him to run games but this season it just hasnÂ’t happened. Whether heÂ’s playing under orders, only he and the playing staff know that... but heÂ’s been poor.

As for Besic, he's not what we need. What we need, dare I say it, is someone in the Couthino mould – hard to come by, yes, but that’s what scouts get paid to do. No, we'll end up with Tom Cleverley or someone of that ilk.

Personally I don’t think Besic is strong enough or pacy enough to hack it in the Premier League. As for some posters saying he’s been superb, some fans are easily pleased. I’m with Darren Hind myself – he's nothing more than a water carrier.

Brin Williams
85 Posted 20/04/2015 at 22:03:56
AM 84 - Â’heÂ’s nothing more than a water carrier.Â’

Hey Andy there have been some pretty memorable Â’water carriersÂ’ mate, the one that stands out for me played somewhere up the Punjab - you may remember him a chap called Gunga Din.

And he was probably a Â’better manÂ’ that Besic! The sort of fella that would put his life on the line!

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