Vlasic plays integral role CSKA draw

Thursday, 20 September, 2018 54comments  |  Jump to last
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Nikola Vlasic scored a penalty deep into stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 draw for CSKA Moscow against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League last night.

The Croatian midfielder, on loan at the Russian club from Everton for the season, added to the assist he registered in the League against FC Ufa last Saturday when he created a goal for Fedor Chalov early in the second half.

Plzen were leading 2-0 going into the break thanks to two goals by Michael Krmencik's brace but Jan Kovarik's foul five minutes into time added on at the second half gave Vlasic the chance to level the game and grab a point.

Moscow and Plzen are in the same group as heavyweights Real Madrid and Roma which could give Vlasic some exciting evenings in the Champions League in the coming weeks.

It has given the 20-year-old a new lease on life after his promising switch from Hajduk Split to Goodison Park last year soured in tandem with Everton's fortunes under Ronald Koeman.

Largely overlooked by Sam Allardyce when he took charge in November, Vlasic found that despite the arrival of Marco Silva in May, he would have no guarantees of a spot in the first team this season.

As he revealed to Novilist recently, Vlasic made up his mind following a candid conversation with Silva during pre-season that he should seek a loan move elsewhere to ensure that he got regular action.

"I talked at the beginning of the (pre-season) training with Everton coach Marco Silva, who openly told me he could not promise me a place among the first eleven," Vlasic said.

“Since I'd practically lost last season, I didn't want to repeat something like that and Everton gave me permission to find the club where I would play.

“I had good offers from France, Germany and Italy. I had several quality chats with club coaches from these countries but in the end the decision fell to CSKA."

For his part, Marco Silva has justified his stance on Vlasic on the basis of an over-abundance of players in the same position, an error from Koeman's tenure he was keen to avoid.

"We have to take decisions and sometimes when you take a decision it looks, in that moment, not the best decision for the player," Silva said in the Liverpool Echo.

"He feels more comfortable playing behind the striker but this season we have Gylfi, we have Kieran and you can also play there with Bernard as well.

“I spoke with him and told him my idea. He told me that he didn't want to stay in the same situation as last season, not playing all of the games, and so I think we have found the best solution for him.”


Reader Comments (54)

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Brian Porter
1 Posted 20/09/2018 at 06:21:31
And as usual, we send a player out on loan and he becomes an instant star, with Nicola Vlasic doing the business on the Champions league for CSKA Moscow.

We signed him because of how well he played against us in Europe and he's doing it again for Moscow because, hey hi, he's been given the one thing he never got with us, a run in the team. He's played 5 games for Moscow before last night and has got better in every game, but Silva would rather keep Lookman who couldn't give a toss about Everton.

Why do we sign good players and then not play them in the team for a few games to let them settle in? Is it an Everton thing? With what we saw last weekend, I think we made a big mistake in not giving Vlasic his chance to shine this season.

Brian Porter
2 Posted 20/09/2018 at 06:25:39
We made a big mistake in keeping Lookman and letting Vlasic go. The lad has got better and better in every game he's played for Moscow because he's had a run of games to settle in with his new team, something he was denied at Everton. Why oh why do some of our transfer and loan deals so often make us look like idiots?
Victor Yu
3 Posted 20/09/2018 at 06:34:07
Can't be worse than Calvert-Lewin.
Kim Vivian
4 Posted 20/09/2018 at 08:02:05
Victor – tell me something... ii your opinion, who's good at Everton?
Martin Berry
5 Posted 20/09/2018 at 08:51:42
I always believed he was a very good player, you could see it in flashes but he is only 20!! coming to a new club in the toughest league in the world, and then some expect him to be totally up to speed.

Silva has done the right thing, he is playing in a lower standard league in Russia lets not forget, so you would expect him to excel. So I wish him further progress and then hopefully come back to Everton far more ready and then able to make an impact.

As for Calvert-Lewin, he is another who we expect far too much of at this stage in his career, but I really believe he has all the tools to be one of the very best strikers in the Premier League in a few years time. The conundrum is that he has to play at centre-forward to do it and should also have gone out on loan earlier in his career.

Victor Yu
6 Posted 20/09/2018 at 08:56:46
Who is good in the squad now? Is that your question?

Pickford, Mina (I suppose he is good), Digne, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Bernard, Walcott, Sigurdsson.

None of them are great though (ie, Lukaku's level).

We should have kept Rooney, Bolasie, Mirallas and sent Calvert-Lewin, Davies, and Lookman out on loan instead.

Niasse should have been gone and we should have signed a star striker to be the #1 striker while shifting Tosun to be the #2.

Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 20/09/2018 at 08:58:57

Calvert-Lewin is being played out of position, but every time he manages to sneak into the box, he gets a goal. I would play him at No 9 and see what he does with the crosses our new wing backs can deliver.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 20/09/2018 at 08:59:22
Well, he can join the list of other talented players (Stones, Lukaku, Barkley etc...) who have left the club to improve themselves elsewhere.

We can keep the likes of Niasse and Gana who, despite the fact they are poor footballers, put in an honest shift every game.

Ray Smith
9 Posted 20/09/2018 at 09:07:27
Vlasic v Lookman

Vlasic is mature for his age and his professionalism, doesn't sulk, weighed up the (numerous) offers for his services when told he couldn't be guaranteed a starting 11 place.

Lookman is immature and has the wrong attitude, by all accounts. Forced a loan move to RB Leipzig and had his head turned when they came calling. He was told he is in Silva's plans, but still mopes. In his defence he has not been given much of a chance this season so far, why not?

I'm glad we only loaned Vlasic out, because he's letting his football do the talking. I'm really not sure about Lookman, as, other than gossip from Finch Farm that he wants out, he should knuckle down and force his way into the starting 11.

Hopefully Silva will see the value of Vlasic and incorporate him into his longer term plan when he returns next season.

As for Lookman, I think the jury is still out!

Tony Marsh
10 Posted 20/09/2018 at 09:10:10
Silva said we let Vlasic go in loan because we already had Rooney, Klaassen, and Sigurdsson in that position?? Really, where are they now?

I got awfully worried on Sunday when I looked at Silva's face heading towards the end of the game against West Ham. Marco had that blank vacant almost gormless expression that Martinez used to display when he was clueless.

Keeping Lookman and letting Vlasic go then not playing Lookman is beginning to look a serious mistake. Not signing a real proven goalscorer is another mistake.

Phill Thompson
11 Posted 20/09/2018 at 09:35:49
I think the decision made has been a good one. Vlasic is doing well, getting game time at a reasonable level including the Champions League, and will likely get back into the Croatia squad, with more opportunities. Given our start to the season he would not have got a run of games, at best would have been on the bench.

He's not an experienced player who can dominate and win games for us in our present team, all he'd receive is stick from the fans when he failed to do so. Better off out of it in my view, getting experience elsewhere and coming back to us a better player.

Stan Schofield
12 Posted 20/09/2018 at 10:15:24
Ray @9: According to this article, Everton gave Vlasic permission to find a club where he would play, since he wasn't getting enough playing time at Everton.

I believe this was pretty much the same situation with Lookman when Allardyce was here. It's just that at the time, Allardyce stated (unprofessionally in my view) that Lookman was 'stubborn' in being firm about wanting a move.

As such, I cannot see any evidence that Lookman has a 'bad attitude' compared with Vlasic. People seem to be jumping to conclusions about his attitude based on insufficient evidence, as usual.

Tony Everan
13 Posted 20/09/2018 at 10:17:42
Well done to Vlasic, great to see him getting some headlines.

I hope he can become consistently good and play well against Real and Roma too. It is good experience. If he comes back an improved player ready to do the business for us, it will have been a good loan.

Ray Smith
14 Posted 20/09/2018 at 11:17:03
Stan 12

You may well be right.

However, I did qualify my comments about Lookman, that it was based on media gossip from Finch Farm.

I also stated that he hasn’t been given much of a chance so far this season!

Richard Mason
15 Posted 20/09/2018 at 11:37:56
Unfortunately, if Vlasic keeps playing well and gets into Croatian national team, his head will be turned and we lose out on a 20-year-old Croatian international who would definitely do a job for us in a the No 8 or 10 role
Minik Hansen
16 Posted 20/09/2018 at 11:41:08
Basically, we'd hear the same story with Lookman, if he had gone to Leipzig, he would've made goals and assists undoubtedly. Either of the players just needs good experience and run in a team, hey, one of them is.

I just hope Lookman is played more than we have to see Calvert-Lewin on the left wing, please Marco Silva, just use him as a striker if you are to use him. COYB.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 20/09/2018 at 11:53:22
Minik, you speak a lot of sense. Players will only improve by playing regularly, especially young players, who will only really learn the game by playing competitive football.

I'm sure all our young players would have wanted to get out on loan but, in some cases, this was not possible. We lack craft, but Dowell and Lookman remain on the fringes, and if they don't get regular football, who's to say they won't stagnate?

Good on Vlasic, he was given a choice and he's made the decision to go and play football, rather than wait for a chance that may never arise. But football changes quickly, especially for those who want to get their heads down, so hopefully this is what Dowell and Lookman are doing right now.

John Davies
18 Posted 20/09/2018 at 12:18:40
Good for Vlasic and good luck to him. Hope everything turns out well for him regardless of where he plays his football. Hope he improves no end so that we can keep him on board at EFC next season.
Fran Mitchell
19 Posted 20/09/2018 at 13:04:55
Hopefully Vlasic can really develop and maybe next season challenge Dowell for the No 10 and we can move Sigurdsson, as he really hasn't done enough to keep his place.

Frank Wade
20 Posted 20/09/2018 at 13:23:45
I'm glad to see Vlasic is doing well. I watched a highlights reel from last weekend and was amazed at the standard of play in the Russian League, which allowed him so much space. It's light years behind the hurly-burly of the Premier League.

He told Silva he wanted a place among the first 11. I agree with Silva's view that he couldn't promise that, so he agreed a loan. I was delighted we signed him as he looked good with Hadjuk, but was disappointing whenever he got his chance – albeit with a manager with dubious credentials for bringing players through.

Lookman came on for a cameo against West Ham and did very little to convince anyone he was worth more game time, yet he impressed at Leipzig. Jadon Sancho (Dortmund ex Man City) and Reiss Nelson (Hoffenheim on loan from Arsenal) are a bit younger at 18 and have been impressing. Maybe it's easier for young English wide players in the German league.

I hope Lookman can improve because the talent is there but, for now, he seems to be just taking the easy option rather than using his full talent and taking players on and making a difference, like he did at Anfield.

Sam Hoare
21 Posted 20/09/2018 at 13:52:52
I don't think we should be comparing Vlasic to Lookman as the Croatian prefers to play centrally. Perhaps we might compare him to Davies, Sigurdsson, Gomes and possibly Bernard.

It's clear to me that we really lack a player in the middle who can beat a man, pick a pass and shoot from distance. Barkley was the last player we had who could be that man and, though he was inconsistent, I think we miss his type.

Vlasic is that type of player. I read somewhere that during training this Summer he believed he was our best central playmaker. He didn't perform in his rare chances in pre-season but not many did. Perhaps he can prove he was right if he comes back next season after playing 40 odd games this season in Russia. Will be interesting to see how he does against Real Madrid and Roma.

Stan Schofield
22 Posted 20/09/2018 at 14:18:08
Ray@14: Fair enough, as you say, you did point those things out. However, you have made assertions in those first two paragraphs
@9, which intimate that Lookman has an attitude problem whilst Vlasic does not.

I think the problem with assertions like this relates to the problem with Everton, that we haven't been playing well as a team for too long. It must be difficult for young players to perform in a dysfunctional set-up, and we certainly seem to have been dysfunctional. A similar problem has appeared in the past, particularly with regard to Lukaku, Stones and Barkley, and also Davies and Calvert-Lewin.

Having followed ToffeeWeb for about three years now, it strikes me that when the team is playing shite, some players, especially the most talented ones with the most expectation on their shoulders to solve our problems, become the targets of a level of criticism that seems disproportionate. They seem to become scapegoats for what is really a systemic and chronic problem with Everton.

Martin Clark
23 Posted 20/09/2018 at 14:30:55
I also think it was the right decision in terms of his development. Still only 20 and would have had limited opportunity to play at Everton, so to be able to experience Champions League football and playing regularly, he's more likely to improve and be ready next season.

Interesting to see him given time as a Number 8 as, if he comes back the complete midfielder rather than just the labelled attacking centre midfielder, I think he could be a real gem!

Harry Hockley
24 Posted 20/09/2018 at 14:44:48
It was a good move getting rid of him on loan... and guess what? It still is. So what, he scored a penalty and now, all of a sudden, people are saying h'ss a star!

"More experienced than Lookman"; "it was a wrong decision keeping Lookman instead".

What planet are people on? He did nothing the whole time he was here, he showed flashes of ability but, on the whole, not much. His attitude was far from perfect either. If I remember rightly, he was a bit of a sulker; you could see on his face he was bothered by the way things were going for him.

No better than Lookman or Calvert-Lewin or any other youngster we have in the team at the moment. Hopefully Vlasic keeps up the good work in Russia and keeps his head down and you never know – maybe he'll get another opportunity with us.

Harry Hockley
25 Posted 20/09/2018 at 14:51:19
How are people saying it was a bad decision not keeping Vlasic now because he scored a penalty?

Can't compare Lookman either two completely different players, Vlasic wasn't good enough so his on loan where hopefully he will do well and keep his head down and maybe earn another chance.

Saying his "a star" now is completely ridiculous based on what is he now a good player?

It was a good move loaning him and guess what it still is.

Ray Smith
26 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:04:28
Stan 22

You should be the manager.

Your points are well made.

I have been to all 3 home games so far this season, and quite honestly we appear to be going backwards.

I think we beat Southampton fair and square, we fell into Huddersfield's trap with their delaying negative tactics (they got what they came for) and as for West Ham, they wanted it more than us, IMO.

West Ham and Huddersfield were the games that fringe players could have made their mark.

I hope that the Fulham match will be somewhat better, with Richarlison back, Digne seems to improve every game, and there was a glimpse of what is to come from Bernard, so fingers crossed for 3 vital points.

Roman Sidey
27 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:07:07
Stan Schofield, you're spot on about the criticism on here. Basically, the rule of thumb on TW from a big group of posters is to totally write off the players who have genuine football talent and take great exception to anybody who dares voice their opinion about the players who are very limited footballers but seem to always get game time.

Just the very mention of Calvert-Lewin's many limitations last season would start World War 9 with some posters.

Jay Wood

28 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:14:01
I'm delighted for Vlasic. I respect that he chose to go out on loan to get game time – in the Champions League, no less – with a team that has won a major European title. I'm delighted he is playing well.

That said, although he had some good moments in a Blue shirt in our turgid season under 3 different managers last season, there were equally – possibly more – many times he was very peripheral.

The highlights I've seen of his Russian League games are laughable, the amount of space and time he and others are given to play. You cannot begin to compare it to the intensity of the Premier League where, for the most part, Vlasic was found wanting.

The boy has ability. Time is on his side. He could yet adapt to the Premier League. He is benefitting from playing regularly in Russia, and as a consequence, so is Everton. It is a stretch to accuse the club of negligence (as some have in this thread) for letting him go out on loan.

It is also slightly warped, IMO, that some are holding Vlasic up in a more virtuous light in comparison to Lookman by trotting out the urban myth that the latter is a sulker who wants his own way and a negative influence within the club.

This conveniently ignores the fact that Lookman has never made, as far as I'm aware, one single public negative comment about the club. Nor is there any story in the public domain confirming he is a 'troublemaker'.

Contrast this to several stories in the public domain last season from Vlasic's father and sister, plus the player himself, openly questioning Vlasic's treatment and the selection policy at the club.

A year of regular football in the Russian domestic league and the Champions League can be of mutual benefit for the player and our club. Way too reactionary for me to translate this into another 'Everton feck up' story.

Alan J Thompson
29 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:38:54
Or does it mean more "deadwood" sold in the next window?
Stan Schofield
30 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:42:20
Ray @26: Yes, three points, why not. It can be done!

I've just written on another thread, the Pickford one, that the trouble with us is we expect to be elite, we're not satisfied being midtable. Most other clubs' supporters would be grateful for our position of always being in the Premier League and averaging around 8th place.

I'm no exception to this expectation, and see our shite performances as an aberration from the 'normality' where we're top dogs playing great football, like in the '60s and '80s, where top players join us in their prime rather than leave us.

But knowing that expectation makes me sensitive to the pressures put on our players to achieve better, especially the younger players. It's in this respect that I'm sceptical about claims that players like Lookman (or Lukaku in the past) have a bad attitude.

Eddie Dunn
31 Posted 20/09/2018 at 16:40:26
Jay, you nailed it talking about the space afforded Vlasic in his Champions League game for CSKA.

In the Premier League the lad was always closed down. Of course it doesn't help the likes of him and Lookman playing in a side that is so dysfunctional.

The lack of movement from Schniederlin, Sigurdsson and Tosun really gives these kids few options for one-twos or killer passes.

In an ideal world, we would have had a couple more wins wrapped-up and introduced these guys when 2 or 3 goals to the good, not chasing equalisers or protecting a narrow lead. I worry about Dowell if he too is introduced when we are two goals down at Arsenal on Sunday.

For all of the criticism of our older stalwarts like Jagielka, Baines and Coleman, we have certainly missed their leadership in recent games. The young lads need to be guided and with so many established players struggling with their own form, it is a tough ask.

Vlasic will hopefully blossom in Russia and return more equipped to stake his claim. As for Lookman, he may have a long wait for another chance .

James Hughes
32 Posted 20/09/2018 at 17:07:00
Victor (#3), for the record Calvin scored the goal that won an U20 World Cup. Stop sniping all the time.

If this club doesn't fill you with joy, love, hope, despair, frustration and a general feeling of "What the hell am I doing?" — move on, mate.

Beautiful club and equally annoying but I could not support them, or a heave big sigh when it's all gone pear-shaped again.

Try ingesting some of George McKane's pre-game messages and feel the posso-waves.

Jerome Shields
33 Posted 20/09/2018 at 17:09:11
CSKA are a well organised and coached side, that are set up to implement and adapt a tactical plan. Every player has a role within that plan and is coached on his part in it. They qualify for the Champions League as a result. Everton are not. . . and do not.

So Vlasic can be incorporated into the team in a position where he has been coached to play to the maxinium of his abilities and has clear instructions what to do, surrounded by players who also know what they are doing. In the Everton team of the moment, there is no chance that this will happen.

We all can look forward to his long-jumping sister at the end of the season taking to the airwaves, doing her utmost to push a transfer out of Everton, especially since she was right the first time.

Jay Wood

34 Posted 20/09/2018 at 17:20:40
Eddie @ 31.

With you all the way on how ALL our young 'uns were criticised last season when playing in a dysfunctional team.

The likes of Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Davies, Vlasic himself and Calvert-Lewin were not the cause of our forlorn form last season. It should not have befallen to them to them to get us out of the smelly stuff the team fell into last season.

They were led by vastly experienced managers, playing with vastly more experienced players. If anyone failed Everton FC last season, it was the managers and the senior players.

If those underperforming senior players had shown the same commitment to the cause as the young players, and if the senior players had shown anything close to the consistency and ability they are capable of, our season would have been a lot better.

That's one reason why I have a much higher tolerance level and patience with our young guns than a few others on TW are willing to give them.

Bobby Mallon
35 Posted 20/09/2018 at 17:29:43
For years now, successful managers have played players out of position. Pick your centre-forward play him there. Don't pick another centre-forward to play on the wing (Calvert-Lewin). When you buy a player who played a certain position for the selling team play him in that position don't change him.

Team for Arsenal:

Pickford, Kenny Zouma Jagielka Digne Lookman Gana Sigurdsson Bernard, Richarlison Walcott.

Peter Neilson
36 Posted 20/09/2018 at 17:53:10
Victor, good job for Spurs that they didn't give up on Harry Kane who had scored less Premier League goals at the age of Calvert-Lewin. Most of the games he's played in have been out of position and he's the grand old age of 21. Calvert-Lewin is not one of our problems. The position he's played in is but that's not his call.
Dan Brierley
37 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:00:50
Bobby, I think the selection has to go further than that. If your natural left-sided player has a poor attitude and work ethic in training, should he be picked ahead of a player who trains his heart out and earns his place?

Silva's comments about Lookman shows his attitude in training is well below what's expected. Nobody deserves to start if they aren't willing to roll up their sleeves and show they can fight for their place.

Rick Tarleton
38 Posted 20/09/2018 at 20:18:08
He struck me as having potential on the few occasions we got to see him. Then again, Besic always struck me as far superior to Gueye and Schneiderlin in that defensive midfield role.
Christy Ring
39 Posted 20/09/2018 at 21:16:36
Glad to see Vlasic doing well, he's only 20 and can come back a better player. He played a good few times since Koeman signed him, and to be honest he was inconsistent, and going out on loan was the correct decision.
John Kavanagh
40 Posted 20/09/2018 at 22:25:46
Eddie #31 So you'd bring Dowell on after only 6 minutes?
Paul Mackay
41 Posted 20/09/2018 at 23:05:37
We let Vlasic go because ‘we have other players like Dowell' who can play in that position. Silva's words.

Then Richarlison gets suspended and we play Calvert-Lewin in that position. We play badly as a team and the we play Calvert-Lewin again in the same role against West Ham. I know he scored against Huddersfield but he only gets involved when he comes in off the wing.

Why keep Dowell if he isn't going to get a chance? Surely it was his opportunity to play against West Ham. He didn't even make it off the bench.

I don't know if Dowell will cut it or not but surely if you make the decision and send other players out on loan, you then have to play him when the squad picks up injuries and suspensions, not play other players repeatedly out of position.

Eddie Dunn
42 Posted 20/09/2018 at 23:26:51
John, you confused me there! I hope not.
Bill Gienapp
43 Posted 20/09/2018 at 23:30:50
Not sure what people are complaining about. I mean, isn't this the whole point of sending players out on loan? Give them a run of games in order to (hopefully) thrive?

He's still our player – if he does well at CSKA Moscow, it only benefits the club. Worst-case scenario: we move him on for a decent profit. Best-case scenario: he returns next season and contributes to the first team.

Phil Smith
44 Posted 21/09/2018 at 00:18:45
Lookman played centrally for Leipzig as well last year Sam and looked like he could hold his own.

I watched the game yesterday and Vlasic was excellent. Much more skillful than I saw with us, but what really surprised me was his vision. Looks a real player when he has a bit of space. Don't get much of that in the Premier League though...

Gavin Johnson
45 Posted 21/09/2018 at 02:58:03
One player out of Vlasic and Dowell was always going to be going out on loan this season. I have no worries that it's Dowell we've retained.

Vlasic had a strop last season and would be sitting in Dowell's place on the bench this season if he'd stayed. He made it clear he wanted to play this season so the move to Moscow benefits everyone. If he plays well consistently, we make a decent profit when we sell him.

Liam Reilly
46 Posted 21/09/2018 at 07:44:50
Whether he does we'll out there or not, I seriously doubt we'll ever see him in an Everton shirt again.
Frank Wade
48 Posted 21/09/2018 at 09:11:21
Paul (#41), from Silva's comments, he sees Vlasic as a no 10 rather than No 11, as he mentioned Sigurdsson and Dowell and that is Vlasic's preferred position.
Terry McLavey
49 Posted 21/09/2018 at 09:22:27
The irony of someone deemed not good enough for us gets to play in the Champions League, you couldn't make it up, could you?
Gavin Johnson
50 Posted 21/09/2018 at 17:23:54
Terry (#49),

We're a world away from CSKA Moscow. And that's in a good way. The standard of football in Russia is abysmal. The boy will have the luxury of time and space with the ball that he'd never get in the Premier League.

Now, if he puts in a good shift against the big boys in CSKA's Champions League group – Roma and Real – people will pay attention.

Tony Abrahams
51 Posted 21/09/2018 at 17:45:10
Gavin, some good points, with the main word being boy. How many of Everton’s current squad, would be able to do the things that Vlassic is doing with a bit more time?

Not many have his talent, and giving them more time and space wouldn’t really matter, but it’s true, England is so very physical, where speed and strength is king?

I like that he chose to leave though, because if a kid would sooner sit in the stands watching players like snides hiding, and Gueye, trying to pass the ball, then what the hell would they learn?

Tony Everan
52 Posted 21/09/2018 at 17:48:46
An aside, Antonee Robinson and maybe Callum Connolly will be on sky tonight with Wigan if you want to check them out.
Gavin Johnson
53 Posted 21/09/2018 at 20:00:16

I think Vlasic was an unfortunate victim of circumstance for the most part last season. In the fleeting appearances he made, he did okay, but didn't do anything notable. Although he was always playing out wide instead of his favoured No.10 role.

That all said, he'd be in the same position this season and it looks like Silva prefers Dowell, and to be fair to Dowell he went to Forest and had a successful spell for the most part. Whereas Vlasic had his family making noises on his behalf when game time wasn't forthcoming. Personally I think Dowell's earned his right this season, but I can't help thinking he's going to be wasted this season too.

Kieran Kinsella
55 Posted 27/09/2018 at 16:57:42
Vlasic's Dad (and agent) quoted in the Echo today saying that his son told Marco Silva he was "the best midfielder at the club" before going on loan to CSKA. Nothing wrong with a bit of confidence but you have to back up your words with actions.

Also, not a great way to make yourself popular with your midfield team mates. So I am Gylfi Sigurdsson and I can pass to my mate Theo Walcott... or I can pass to some precocious kid who reckons he is better than me. Hmmm.... What to do?

Steve Ferns
56 Posted 27/09/2018 at 18:08:20
I don’t see Vlasic ever being good enough for us.

He’ll never be a winger. It’s not natural for him, and he’ll never have electric pace. He’s not a forward. He’s not a box-to-box midfielder.

So that leaves a number 10. He’s got good feet, good close control, he can turn a man, and I think he can get better at it. So he could play the number 10 role, but for one thing. His passing isn’t good enough. Not for the standard it needs to be to be a number 10.

However, he’s never really had a run in the side and we’ve never really given him a fair chance. So, people who’ve watched him for CSKA, any signs of passing and vision for them? What about when he’s pressed and marked?

One final thing, Silva gave him a starring role in pre-season in one of them behind the scenes videos. He played both ways on attack in a training match as a number 10 for both sides. Silva clearly had a good look at him, and either he thinks he’s not good enough (fullstop) or he thinks he can do without him for the next 12 months.

I’d bet he’s gone next summer and we won’t see him in a Blue short again.

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