Cardiff City have struggled during matches to adapt and find extra positivity going forward. They sometimes switch off (especially at set-pieces) and rarely seem fully motivated and committed.
One potential problem associated with the squad is the lack of a true leader and captain. Darren Purse is the club captain, and has experience, organisation and leadership qualities. However, he has been out of the side for some time after being dropped back in December.
Second to Darren Purse, is former West Brom and Notts Forest midfield general Riccy Scimeca. Like Purse, his experience and leadership make him an inspiration and positive presence on the field. However, Scimeca has been sidelined for much of last season and the whole of this season with a troublesome, recurrent groin injury.
Third in line is Stephen McPhail. The Irishman pulls strings in midfield and can control a game when on form. He too is fairly experienced but the former Leeds United and Barnsley man is much quieter and withdrawn. However, from midfield he can lead by example and has a cool head – plus he’s a guaranteed starter in the team.
On Tuesday, though, the unthinkable happened. Dave Jones chose to drop McPhail from the starting XI after a loss of form and a poor game against Norwich City. McPhail’s place went to Aaron Ramsey in midfield, which was (I think) the first game McPhail has not started for Cardiff when available.
That meant that Dave Jones was forced to select another captain to lead the Bluebirds. He opted for midfielder Gavin Rae whose committed and determined performances have impressed at times this season. Roger Johnson was a leading contender and has captaincy experience with previous club Wycombe Wanderers, however Rae got the nod.
Purse will be recalled for the suspended Loovens next week, while Scimeca is nearing a recovery and McPhail will surely feature again soon for Cardiff City.
So far this season, we have been captained by an Englishman, an Irishman and now a Scotsman – we’re still waiting for the Welshman…
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