It was with a very fatherly sense of pride that I watched my son’s football coach call him back for a “quick word” after he’d dismissed the rest of the team following their 7-1 victory this weekend.
The team are going great guns this season. They have won eleven of their thirteen league games, drawing one more and losing the other. And they’ve been winning by margins not dissimilar to the one this weekend on a regular basis. With just five games left and teams in the bottom half of the league to play, they are going to have to have a collapse of England Cricket proportions to fail to win the Championship.
Naturally, with so many goals being scored, the more attacking players, the forwards mostly but the midfielders as well, have come in for a lot of praise.
That’s not to say we (the supporters, i.e. the boys’ parents) don’t recognise the job the defence is doing. They’ve been solid all season and not conceded many goals at all. Sure, they’ve made ‘schoolboy mistakes’ at times, but hey, give ‘em a break, they are schoolboys.
Still it’s nice to see the coach single one of the defenders out for particular praise—which he always does in semi-privacy rather than in front of the team, something else to admire about his approach.
Nobbs Jr usually plays right-sided full-back. His job is to prevent the other team’s attackers from making progress down the wing and to offer cover to the central areas when needed. He can play the left-sided full-back as well, but since he’s right-footed, he simply does this job better on the right.
But this weekend, for some reason, Jr started the game over on the left, while the usual left-sided player was relegated to sub.
Our opponents only had one player that stood out and he was their left-sided attacker—meaning he attacked down our right-hand side where Jr usually plays. And he was having some joy and causing our team some problems. Despite us taking an early lead, this player always looked a threat and always looked like he might be able to get his team an equalising goal.
Until the coach made a sub, bringing the usual left-back on and switching Jr over to the right.
After that it was as if our opponent’s star-player had left the pitch, Jr did such a good job of nullifying his treat.
Jr is a very disciplined player. He does the job he’s been given and does it the best he can. Some days he does it better than others. This weekend, he did it brilliantly.
So brilliantly, that the coach said to him after the game, “That was excellent today. He’s a good player that number seven. A good player. And you kept him in your pocket all game. Really well done.”
Yeah, that was a fatherly-pride moment right there.