When things aren’t going so well we tend to forget the good ol’ times. There is some bright sides to our current situation; it may be the little nuances of the game but they all come together to make for a more intriguing prospect for the fans. Here are a few silver linings we can consider during this cloudy time for football.
Beginning with the most straightforward positive of the extended season; there are previously injured that now have an opportunity to play a major part in the final stretch of the season. A prime example of this is Marco Asensio of Real Madrid. The Spanish playmaker tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament in July 2019 in a pre-season friendly against Arsenal. He
was expected to miss the entire season, however, he made his return in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia on June 18th – scoring with his first touch. In the English Premier League, the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane, all benefitting from the late return to club football.
Second chance at selection:
The pandemic had caused the shutdown of most leagues but those weekly competitions were easy to restart once it was deemed safe enough. Large regional and global competitions, like the European Championship and the Olympics, take years to plan, which is why they’re usually held quadrennially; so cancellation just weeks or months before would not be simply rectified. Long story short; these major tournaments have been rescheduled to 2021. While it may be an inconvenience to a few, this has provided an opportunity for players who would have otherwise missed out, a chance at redemption.
For those managers that are sure of their job next season, right now may be a good time to
begin examining the talent within their squad. As the current season ends, footballers will have a quick turnaround before heading into the new 2020/2021 season. As such the last few weeks of this season might be the last chance to get a proper look at players before the
season restarts in September. One particular rule change to that might help is
the ability to use 5 substitutes in a game as opposed to 3. The idea is that the long layoff may
take a toll on the players returning to action. This will help managers explore the depth of
their squads; allowing them to assess the fringe players, tinker with different formations or even,
shop a want-away or unwanted player around to any interested parties.
Lastly and probably the most headline grabbing of them all, is the transfer window. The European transfer window closes on Oct. 5 while the start date varies between the domestic leagues across the continent, the earliest start is mid-July.
Now, the transfer market is sufficiently muddled with all that’s gone on with the pandemic but there are still some things that could yet be positive. Paul Pogba was appearing almost certain to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season, before the pandemic hit. His injury meant under normal circumstances he might have missed the opportunity to play much football with Manchester United’s latest marquee transfer, Bruno Fernandes. Pogba has been clambering for a better United team to play with; and he has gotten his wish with the arrival of Fernandes. Now, his performances in Man United’s engine room has Pogba looking like a world beater again.
On the other hand, there are players like Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez who have no idea what their next step is. The return to top tier football gives those players an opportunity to show off their value to any top tier club in Europe.
See, it’s not all doom and gloom. Instead of focusing solely on the negatives brought about by the pandemic, let us appreciate pros.