If Mourinho Was Port Manager…

 

In my last Transfer Talk, I quoted top managers who subscribe to the ‘less is more’ theory on squad size. Managers like Mourinho, Scolari and Hughes have all suggested that between 23-25 was the ideal number, citing reasons such as improved morale within the squad and more effective training sessions.

With this in mind, I thought it might be interesting (for me, anyway) to try and pick a 25 man Port squad, and see just how much fat could theoretically be trimmed form the current crop of players. Is this in any way likely to happen? No. Am I wasting my time? Yes, in the sense that it’s completely hypothetical, but hopefully not in the sense that it will introduce our readers to some of our less well-known squad members, albeit that it is in the context of me calling for them to be cut. So, without further ado, here goes

 

Goalkeepers

  • Rattanai (17)
  • Worawut (36)
  • Watchara (66)

No-brainer here. After the departure of Weera and the return of Watchara, we now have three good, young-ish goalkeepers, all of whom I think are perfectly decent options. First choice Rattanai is likely a future national team ‘keeper, with Worawut and Watchara excellent second and third choice options.

Defenders

  • Rochela (22)
  • Dolah (4)
  • Pravinwat (55)
  • Todsapol (6)
  • Nitipong (34)
  • Meechok (20)
  • Panpanpong (19)
  • Yossawat (23)

I’ve gone for eight defenders. Four centre backs, two right backs and two left backs. Rochela and Dolah are first choice in central defence, with Bangkok Glass loanee Pravinwat third choice and currently crocked Todsapol fourth. I know its water under the bridge, but how nice would it be to have the departed Niran Hansson in there? Whilst Pravinwat looks to be a good player, Hansson was young and full of potential – a fact that Police Tero have underlined by putting him straight in their first XI – whereas Pravinwat will be back at Bangkok Glass in 6 months.

At right back, Nitipong and Meechok are both excellent young players, and at left back there is the contrast of Panpanpong’s experience and Yossawat’s youthful potential. With smaller squads versatility is crucial, so with midfielder Adisorn capable of filling in at full back, Port would still have options in the case of injuries.

On the Chopping Block

Anisong (15) has played once this season, giving away a penalty in the 2-1 loss at Chonburi. He isn’t terrible, but it really isn’t necessary having him around.

Pakasit (2) is quite some way over the hill. Port’s third choice right back has recently opened a football coaching school with former national team captain Datsakorn, so should probably just focus on that, rather than pretending to still be a professional footballer.

Suchon (11) is a long way from being able to cut it at T1 level, as was brutally exposed when he made his only appearance of the season against Bangkok United. As fifth choice left back, I can’t think of a single decent reason why he’s still here.

Piyachart (23) obviously doesn’t have Jadet’s trust, so why keep him around? He’s now fourth choice at left back, so it would make more sense for everyone if he moved on.

Jetjinn (51) is a new signing at left back, so this is very harsh. He seems pretty good from what I have seen so far, too. Unfortunately, if you are going to have a squad of 25, there isn’t space for 3 left-backs, especially when other versatile players can fill in. Nothing against the player, just daft transfer policy at fault here. There’s probably a good argument for keeping Jetjinn and letting Panpanpong go, but I haven’t seen enough of him to make that call.

Central Midfielders

  • Siwakorn (16)
  • Adisorn (13)
  • Tatchanon (39)
  • Piyachat (88)
  • Ittipol (7)
  • Techin (25)

I’ve gone for a mix of youth and experience with my six central midfielders, providing plenty of cover for injuries and suspensions. Siwakorn and Adisorn are first choice, with Piyachat being cover for Siwakorn, and young but already excellent Tatchanon cover for Adisorn. Ittipol is a solid, reliable player who can do a job in midfield or defence, and has a decent set-piece delivery on him too. Techin is young and looks half-decent, so he gets a place in the squad, although he will likely not see any game time.

On the Chopping Block

Siwapong (97) played 45 minutes against Honda in which he looked so inept he was withdrawn, and hasn’t played since. A waste of space if ever there was one.

Pummared (41) is another new arrival from BBCU, so this one is pretty harsh. He’s looked pretty decent in the friendlies he has played, too. Unfortunately for him, a 25 man squad has no place for journeyman sixth choice midfielders, and it makes more sense to me to pick a younger player like Techin, even if he isn’t as much use right now.

Patrick Bentley (?) hasn’t been with the first team this season; he has been training with the youth team instead. At just 18, that makes perfect sense. No reason for him to go, but also need for him to be in the first team squad.

Wingers

  • Genki (18)
  • Pakorn (9)
  • Ekkapoom (8)
  • Pinyo (21)

There may seem to be a shortage of wingers here, but in emergencies Jadet can look to the forwards and even the full backs for pretty good reinforcements. Genki and Pakorn have been first choice for most of the season, but with injuries to Ekkapoom and Pinyo, Tana has been filling in for Ekkapoom and Pinyo as an impact substitute. With Ekkapoom now back, and Pinyo making his first start in nearly a season and a half in the cup on Wednesday (although he predictably ended up in a heap and was subbed off at half time) hopefully Port will be more fortunate with injuries and have more options available to them in the second half of the season.

On the Chopping Block

Narakorn (29) was another superfluous transfer window arrival. The winger who has arrived from BBCU doesn’t seem to be particularly quick or skillful, and is unlikely to be picked over any of the above mentioned players when they’re fit.

Forwards

  • Josimar (30)
  • Maranhao (92)
  • Asdrubal (27)
  • Tana (99)

Josimar is first choice striker, but who plays with him is still an open question. Maranhao, Asdrubal, Suarez, Jadue? I’m not saying I have the answer, but this would be my preferred option. I would have Maranhao in the hole, with Asdrubal as an option either in the same position or either wing when he is fully fit. Tana hangs on by the skin of his teeth by virtue of the fact that the only other option is Wuttichai.

On the Chopping Block

Kaludjerovic (10) had his chance early in the season and failed to impress. With Josimar stepping up and leading the line to much greater effect, there is no space in the squad for Kalu.

Suarez (5) showed great promise in pre-season, but has only shown his undoubted ability in a few competitive games this season. It hasn’t helped his cause that he’s been played behind the striker, although he’s more of a central midfielder. With Maranhao and Asdrubal better options in that position, I can’t find a place for Suarez in my squad, although with Asdrubal’s contract status a mystery to everyone, Suarez could still find his way in.

Jadue (32) is a bizarre signing if ever I’ve seen one. With seven foreigners already on the books, why on earth would we want to sign another attacking midfielder, especially one who had just been dropped from a mid-table Malaysian side? Answers on a postcard, and sent to PO Box WTF.

Wuttichai (14). ‘Nuff Said.

 

The Special One Concludes…

 

This is my 25 main squad. I challenge anyone to tell me how this is any worse than what we have already, and if we would have missed any of the players I suggest cutting in the first half of the season. Of the thirteen I have axed, only Suarez and Kaludjerovic contributed any goals or assists, but I fancy Asdrubal and Maranhao to supply many more than that in the second half of the season if they are picked.

So, we could cut 13 players from the wage bill, lose nothing except options not worth considering, and ultimately have a tighter group of players all of whom will understand their role in the squad. Of course it’s never going to happen, but I had fun pretending!

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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