Still questions for Buzsaky to answer

I’ve received some nice comments since Saturday suggesting I was proved right about Akos Buzsaky, which in fairness is a bit premature.

Even while Taarabt was in his pomp I’ve always said Buzsaky is the best player at Rangers and the one whose attributes are most transferable to the Premier League, which upset some admirers of Ale Faurlin as well as Taarabt’s fan club.

But even after Saturday I think questions still remain about Buzsaky. Three bad injuries in succession and other periods of inactivity are bound to affect a player.

I doubt even his staunchest critic would deny that Buzsaky is dangerous from set-pieces and can deliver a ball, so in many ways the Wigan game told us nothing we didn’t already know.

The main question is whether Buzsaky has the legs to play consistently in the Premier League and so far that hasn’t been answered. The Wigan game was ideal for him. Faurlin, who I’ve been critical of, looks a great player in matches like that too.

The signs are good though. Buzsaky’s actually getting better and sharper with every game and during games, which is exactly what you’d want to see from someone who needs to recover his sharpness after a long spell of inactivity.

It’s been particularly difficult for Buzsaky, because the odd cameo appearance in which he’s desperate to impress is the worst situation for a player of his type to be in.

He’s a touch player, and those kind of players need games – and confidence.

With that and some match sharpness back, I’ve no doubt whatsoever that Buzsaky isn’t only Premier League class, he’s top half of the Premier League class.

I’ve believed that since he wasn’t even a first-team regular at Plymouth and stand by it. But the centre of a 4-4-2 can be very unforgiving in the top division and tougher tests lie in store for him, that’s for sure.

I’d really like to see him establish himself as a first-team regular, which won’t be easy under a new manager who is urgently looking to strengthen every area of the team apart from goalkeeper – despite being linked with Ben Foster and Heurello Gomes.

It’s a great chance for Buzsaky though, made possible as much by Faurlin’s sad injury as the sacking of Neil Warnock.

In fairness to Warnock, he did initially regard him as a first-team player and planned to make him a key part of the side last season.

But Buzsaky picked up an injury shortly before the opening game, Shaun Derry – who was signed purely as a squad player – started instead and the rest is history.

That said, only a club with more money than sense would have been looking to offload a player like Buzsaky while, as usual, trying to buy half a team during the transfer window – something no-one else does but which at Rangers seems to be accepted as the done thing.

Buzsaky was written off too quickly, and I think the same may be happening with Jay Bothroyd.

I can’t claim to be Bothroyd’s biggest fan, but I would have taken him on a free last summer and think he’s since been a bit unlucky.

Apart from last season, Bothroyd has never been a goalscorer. So getting on his back for not scoring is a complete waste of time.

He isn’t that kind of forward. His strengths are his touch, being at the centre of things, bringing others into play, moving defenders around and so on. He isn’t and never has been what you might call a number one striker.

And like Buzsaky, he’s a touch player who needs games. There’s no point putting him in and taking him out. You either stick with him or ditch him, and I’d be inclined to stick with him.

Part of the reason he was so effective last season was that he played regularly for Cardiff. Their other striker changed repeatedly, but be it alongside Chopra, Bellamy, McCormack or Whittingham, he played.

It’s different for someone like Helguson – once similarly written off and now the blue-eyed boy – as he’s more of a battering-ram type of forward so can be chucked on during a game and expected to do his stuff.

Bothroyd did his job as a lone striker very well earlier in the season, but that job is a thankless one and it’s no coincidence that players in that role are consistently criticised by fans at QPR and elsewhere.

It’s a team role appreciated mainly by the team – not least the attacking midfielder who pops up in acres of space in the penalty area. Few ask how and why he got there or where the opposing centre-backs were.

Helguson is a recent example of that. Kevin Gallen made Rangers tick and was a fine Mark Hughes-type forward but, according to some, slow, overweight and often the weak link in the side.

Bothroyd’s confidence dipped a bit after his time in the firing line and he’s having to work his way back into the swing of things when he’s not a crowd favourite.

Personally I’m not a fan of his attitude, but he’s one of these players who doesn’t respond to being berated, either from the stands or touchline.

He does have a contribution to make and, like most number two-type forwards, that contribution is always more appreciated on the pitch than in the stands.

Proof of that is in the reaction of other players to him.

Think of the QPR players you’d consider to be the best pros at the club and have the best attitude. I imagine the kind of names that come to mind are Derry, Hill and Mackie maybe.

Now think back to last season and those players’ reaction to Taarabt during games.

Yes, they tolerated him and at times marvelled at him. But there were times when their anger at him was obvious. Before his injury, Mackie often looked particularly frustrated with Taarabt during matches.

Look at the very different reaction to Bothroyd from those players when they’re on the pitch together.

At every opportunity they’re having a word in his ear, patting him on the back when something doesn’t come off for him, and are always looking to get around him and encourage him. That tells you a lot.

So I’ve got some time for Bothroyd. As misfiring strikers with questionable attitudes go.

6 Responses to Still questions for Buzsaky to answer

  1. Mel Huckridge says:

    Whilst agreeing that Buzz still has the talent to be a good player for us, especially in Faurlin’s absence, to say that he is the better player is well wide of the mark.
    Ale has got to be one of Rangers best signings of the past two decades.
    Do you ever see Akos put in a decent tackle? Or win a 50/50 header in central midfield?
    They can both spray ‘Hollywood’ passes & perhaps our Hungarian has the edge on shooting, but overall there are many that I’d swap for our Argentinian.

  2. PHIL says:

    I agree with a lot of that – I remember being told by another player that Gallen was the best player at the club and a very smart player at a time when he was getting it in the neck from the stands.

    For Akos surely he will need to stay fit and that must be a risk given the last few years.

    Interesting also what you say about keepers.

    For Bothroyd though the crowd are after him and he does tend to go missing when the heat is up so he will need to show quite a bit of character to come through that.

  3. Might Kenny suffer from the perception that he is a ‘Warnock man’? That would be a great shame, because he’s been a great asset to the team.

    Dave, I’m interested in your thoughts as to the likelihood that QPR survives in the Premiership this season. Do you have any strong feelings either way as to whether Warnock’s dismissal and Hughes’ arrival will make that any more likely or not?

  4. Non League says:

    I saw Buzsaky play at Plymouth a couple of times and he did look like he had the makings of a great player. It would be great to see him get back to his best with a goog run of gamesunder his belt.

  5. Andy Stedman says:

    Buzz is, in my opinion, potentially our best player. He certainly has the most technical ability and he will score you ten goals a season in any standard from free-kicks and shots.

    There is an ignorance about his defensive qualities which normally comes from people who have never had decent coaching or played a decent level of the game. Central midfielders in this day and age rarely need to dive into tackles (as our new African signing should note), but even saying that Buzz does tackle reasonably well. His keeping of shape when not QPR are not in possession is excellent. And of course he generally keeps the ball well, which is the best way of defending.

    For me QPR need a quality central defender. The ones we have seem to make too many errors, and seeing Hangeland last week reminded me of how much better there is around than what we have got.

  6. QPROlly says:

    He was always a favourite of mine too but nevertheless it was so sad to see Akos’s performance at Stamford Bridge during the 6-1 humiliating evisceration.Completely bypassed & ineffective in midfield and proved he didn’t have when push came to shove the necessary chops to perform against Prem Big 5/6 clubs.

    Can’t believe that a Championship promotion/play-off contender hasn’t come in for him though.Would really like to see him shine injury-free somewhere in UK ‘cos he’s a joy to behold.

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