Three Into Two Doesn’t Go – 2/8/14

DanielSo it is a warm welcome to Daniel O’Shaughnessy who signed for Brentford yesterday on a two year contract, subject to international clearance.

The young central defender has looked solid and impressive whilst on trial over the past three weeks and, no wonder, as he has already packed a vast amount of experience into his tender nineteen years.

He has spent three years at FC Metz and is a Finnish Under 21 International who played against England Under 21s last season.

He came on for the last few minutes on Tuesday against Osasuna when the cause was already lost but he played with energy, strength and commitment and looked highly promising – another talented youngster to add to the coterie already at Griffin Park.

His arrival means that we are now immensely strong and well covered in central defence with Tony Craig, James Tarkowski and Harlee Dean competing for the starting positions by playing their own version of three into two doesn’t go, with Raphael Calvet, Alfie Mawson and now Daniel all in support as back ups.

It has been a competitive and evenly matched battle for the first team shirts and is one that is just symptomatic of the quality of our strength in depth in most areas.

It will be interesting to see who starts in today’s final friendly match against Crystal Palace as that should provide a strong hint as to which central defensive partnership Mark Warburton will favour come the big kick off next Saturday.

tarkTony Craig and James Tarkowski finished the season as the men in possession and, apart from that disastrous afternoon at Colchester when, in fairness, the entire team slept-walked through the ninety minutes, looked a dominant partnership who dovetailed well together.

Tarkowski was a revelation after his arrival from Oldham in January as he combined strength and anticipation with a level of quality on the ball and passing ability unseen at the club since the heady days of Hermann Hreidarrson.

craigTony Craig remains, well – Tony Craig – a rock and total inspiration to all who play with him. No-one dares to hide or shirk when the skipper is around and he serves as the ultimate example of the skill, dedication and character required to be a successful professional footballer.

Unlike many of his team mates, he has plenty of Championship experience at Millwall and his knowledge of what is required at this higher level will be of immense value to the entire squad.

Harlee Dean is a man on a mission after recovering from the long term injury which hindered his progress last season.

He played hurt for many months without complaint and took some criticism from supporters for doing so when, understandably, he was unable to summon up the pace to reach balls that he would normally have eaten up and cleared with comfort.

deanHe deserves praise and not brickbats for his bravery and dedication to the cause.

Remember how well he played at Leyton Orient when he replaced Tarkowski after his stupid red card? He was a colossus and inspiration.

He looked sleek and fit on Tuesday and was our best player against Osasuna.

Mark Warburton has an interesting and difficult selection decision to make, one that I really do not envy him and he will then have the difficult task of keeping the third wheel happy as he frets on the bench, chafing at the bit, desperate to recover his place in the team.

We are certainly blessed with depth and ability in central defence.

I would guess that young Daniel will be kept at the club over the coming season to learn about the Brentford way and become steeped in our methods whilst Calvet and Mawson can expect to be sent out on loan to gain further experience and learn their trade.

Calvet has had an exceptionally good preseason, highlighting just how talented he is.

He has been hidden away from sight and scrutiny for the past year whilst he learns both the language and the English game, but as a France Under 20 International he is an exceptional talent and he now needs to play League football.

I would guess that by this time next season he will be making a firm challenge for a First Team place at Griffin Park.

One last thought.

Let’s hope that our central defenders chip in with their fair share of goals next season.

Tarky managed to score twice in his thirteen games, an impressive record, but Tony and Harlee drew blanks.

Tony has yet to open his account for us, ignoring, of course the three he has stuck into his own net, but will long be remembered for his wonderful rip-roaring penalty kick and even more dramatic celebration, in the pulsating Swindon Shootout.

Harlee hasn’t managed a goal since the Yeovil Playoff Final and is long overdue.

It is a week until the season starts in reality and there is still much to play for as the squad jockeys for their places.

Interesting times!

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4 thoughts on “Three Into Two Doesn’t Go – 2/8/14

    • Thanks Nick, enjoyed your article today too! I honestly feel that Harlee will end up on the bench and he won’t like that situation. Very interesting battle ahead and I wonder if all three combatants will be at Griffin Park come the end of the season?

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  1. Maybe with the striker situation(Hogan injured and Bamford seems to be going elsewhere) Tarky could be the solution.He is one of the best headers of the ball at the club,great running with the ball,good first touch.Will also replace an area that Clayton was good at and that was helping out in defence at corners and free kicks.

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    • Interesting idea. I remember Nelmes at centre forward and probably a few other central defenders lumbering around up front too! That being said Harlee has looked dangerous – to the opposition and not just to us – when Uwe moved him up top a few times. He caused panic against Preston and helped win us that last second penalty kick. I think James will start in defence and it will up be to Harlee to try and win his place back.

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