Aug 24 2011

Vladimir Weiss Jr. Is he any good?

Published by at 11:07 pm under Uncategorized and tagged:

I’ve been giving a bit of thought to the link Starý Jazvec posted earlier, and which I’ve made more prominent here :

In summary, the article reports that former Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram, reacting to Vladimir Weiss Junior’s assertion that manager Ally McCoist hasn’t given him a fair chance at Ibrox, believes that young Weiss might not be as good as he thinks he is. You can, of course, discount Goram’s view. You can discount it because it’s appeared in the Sun, or on the grounds that Goram, a good mate of McCoist’s, is a less than objective judge.

But what if there’s a grain of truth there? Weiss’s club career has hardly taken off yet, with Manchester City, Bolton or, indeed, Rangers. He’s looked exciting at times at international level but it’s two years now since that memorable night when he turned poor old Jonny Evans’s legs to jelly in Belfast. He played well against New Zealand in Slovakia‘s first game of the 2010 World Cup but his influence on the tournament faded after that and his only real contribution to Euro 2012 qualifying so far has been a brilliant goal in a losing cause away to Armenia.

Then there’s something his father, Vladimir Senior, said after Slovan Bratislava could only draw 0-0 at home to Vion Zlaté Moravce on Sunday. ‘My players can’t beat opponents in one-on-one attacking situations,’ lamented Weiss. Then, more relevantly, ‘this isn’t only a Slovan problem. We have the same problem in the national team.’ It’s true that Vladimir Junior is not mentioned specifically here but it does seem that he is implicated in this perceived Slovak failing as much as anyone else. It is of course possible that, in bringing up the subject of the national team, Weiss is trying to deflect attention away from a disappointing Slovan performance. It could also be that, as a wily old campaigner, he is trying to kid Ireland and Armenia into thinking Slovakia are incapable of posing a threat in the forthcoming qualifiers. Or it might be that he is giving his players a metaphorical ‘kick up the backside’ in the belief that they will work on their tricks in the run up to the games. But I think the coach genuinely believes there is a problem here. And the evidence of recent international games rather backs that view up.

I would say that the attacking players Weiss Senior believes should be able to beat opponents are likely to be the wide men (wingers, if you prefer) and those strikers who would count speed and/or trickery amongst their greatest assets. In the national team, these would include (and this is not an exhaustive list) Weiss Junior, Miroslav Stoch, Stanislav Šesták, Erik Jendrišek and Filip Šebo. Weiss Junior, as I’ve said, hasn’t produced a match-winning international performance for two years. Stoch was by far Slovakia’s best player in last September’s games against Macedonia and Russia, as well as in the Armenia defeat, but injuries and off-field indiscipline have kept him out of most of the games since. Šesták’s goals were a major contributory factor to World Cup qualification but, playing mostly out wide since then, he’s been hard-working without producing many moments of inspiration. Jendrišek too is a grafter but you don’t often see him go past players while Šebo, though easily able to get in front of defenders from, say, Dunajská Streda or Andorra, struggles to do the same when up against decent sides.

It is Weiss Senior’s job, of course, to develop his players, those of both Slovan and the national team, individually and collectively. At international level, he has at times been able to win games by ensuring the team are well-organised and a good collective rather than through isolated moments of individual brilliance. He might be able to do the same this month against Ireland and Armenia. But he – and those who support the Slovak national team – would surely be happier if at least one of his players could (re)discover the ability to do to his immediate opponent what young Vladimir did to Evans in September 2009. And if young Vladimir himself could be that player, Andy Goram might have to take back his words of criticism.

James Baxter


10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Vladimir Weiss Jr. Is he any good?”

  1.   Stary Jazvecon 25 Aug 2011 at 6:48 pm

    While there’s nothing anyone cld teach the boy Weiss from a technical pt. of view, he just lacks football intelligence, when to take the guy on, when not to, whether that is something that can be coached at this stage in his career, I dunno, but that’s what he needs to break into the big big time. From your non-exhaustive list, I’ve always thought Stoch was the pick of the bunch, hopefully he’ll be fit for Ireland along w/ the galloping Holosko. I doubt we’ll see Šebo in Dublin, Weiss will want to keep him fresh and hungry for his next attempt to score against a village outfit.

  2.   James Baxteron 25 Aug 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Agree with most of that. I haven’t played football to any great level but my suspicion is that football intelligence is a question of instinct and experience. I mean, you can sit a player in front of a video and say ‘you did X here when you should have done Y’ but I’m not convinced that will make him better able to make those decisions back on the field.

    To give a cricket analogy, Shane Warne said about Monty Panesar a while back that ‘he’s played 30 tests but he’s played the same test 30 times’. It’s not fair to say sth similar about Weiss Jr yet – he needs a bit more time and patience – but it does bother me a bit that 3 clubs already seem to have gone lukewarm on him. If he doesn’t progress over the next 12-18 months, then I’ll be starting to think he’s an unfulfilled talent.

  3.   britskibelasion 25 Aug 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I’ve also never been convinced with Weiss Jr. I used to think it was purely down to his light-weight build and lack of age / experience, but as James is emphasising here, the more seasons / clubs that go by without him breaking through, the less chance there is of it happening I guess.

    Was reading an article in Tuesday’s Guardian entitled ‘Rise of the little people’, looking at Mata, Aguero, Silva, Wilshere, Modric all at under 5’8″ tall. Stoch also falls into that category and in my opinion, he is the best (creative, attacking) player I’ve seen in a Slovakia jersey. Weiss is obviously nowhere near that class, but it also bothers me that he is having such a random career progression. Who is actually thinking about which league he might be better suited to and trying to get him into a team / position where he can actually play a full season of 1st XI football to be able to build upon.

    Highly outlandish suggestion, I know, but what better way for Weiss Sr. to get the best out of his boy than by calling him back to Slovan for a season, to me that would benefit all concerned, more so than a move to, say Dinamo Kiev, but I guess Weiss Jr would consider it too much of a step backwards .. the question he has to ask himself though is, from what …

  4.   Stary Jazvecon 26 Aug 2011 at 1:00 am

    Mr. ifutbals 2hapeth on Weiss, Stoch and the Ireland game:

    Weiss Jnr. to team up w/ Dad, hmm. What do u need a winger for? Pack the mid and bang it long to Sebo and mebbe have Guede gallop thru the middle occassionally has got u into Europe proper, stick w/ a winning formula, I reckon.

  5.   George Mon 26 Aug 2011 at 3:13 am

    Weiss is crap and as most Slovak players, wants a good, easy life for no huge amount of real work ….he has also decided this himself and gone for a huge payday cheque for 3 years and will end up back playing in Slovakia for Slovan perhaps or a nearby Austrian club in Vienna made for life .

  6.   James Baxteron 26 Aug 2011 at 10:45 am

    Dan, agree completely with the point about sb thinking properly about what league/club would really suit Weiss and get him a good season’s football.

    But I see flaws in the Slovan idea. Not the least of them is that I think the older Vlado has his own doubts about the lad. Next is that young Vlado should prove that he can get 1st team football and ‘do a job’ somewhere where his dad isn’t the manager. They’ve steered clear of nepotism charges thus far but they’d be opening the way for those if he went to Slovan.

    An odd thing is, though, that while organising an aggregate victory over the likes of Roma is all in a day’s work for Weiss Senior, he seems to need a bit more in his team to prise open those like Zlate Moravce who’ll try to give him a dose of his own medicine. (It now appears he doesn’t rate Milinkovic either, btw.)

    Re Weiss Jr, I would throw the idea of Zilina into the mix but, what with Majtan, Ceesay and Pich, the fans here already have quite enough players to scream at in impotent frustration.

  7.   britskibelasion 26 Aug 2011 at 11:17 am

    It was a slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ comment James, for the same token he could go to Zilina, Trnava or even DAC and I wouldn’t mind! Definitely true that all kinds of stories would kick-off if he went to Slovan now.

    I also noticed that Milinkovic had slipped down the pecking order since Weiss joined. I’m surprised really, but Grendel & Zofcak seem to be playing quite well at the moment and with Guede and Kladrubsky pretty much guaranteed to play, plus Weiss’ inclination towards playing wingbacks (Stepanovsky, Bagayoko), it is hard to fit Milinkovic in. Interesting that we are doing without Kiss at the moment too, I think George is being rather harsh to call Slovan a team of ‘unprofessional footballing misfits’ … although I am not rushing to the defence of Sebo. Was Halenar still suspended last night? He wasn’t even on the bench, I notice. Lacny seems to be ‘in favour’ as first reserve, but having not seen him play I can’t really comment on that one.

    Also interesting that Dosoudil is now seemingly reserve CB. How long till Marian Had could be looking at an international call-up? The Repre is not exactly bursting with defensive options, and apparently Rostov have the worst defensive record in Russia, is Salata really still first choice?

  8.   Fat Eckon 26 Aug 2011 at 4:26 pm

    That’s two great reasons to discount Goram’s opinion on this topic, James. And I’m afraid I can add another – he’s borderline psychotic.

    He’s easily my favourite goalkeeper of all time and, in terms of heart-stopping never-say-die contribution to the greatest Rangers team of my lifetime, arguably my favourite ever player. But the downside of his uncomprimising genius and ferocity on the pitch is a complete lack of rationale off it. Having read his latest book, it confirms my view that Andy, away from the game, is one tragic case, more deserving of sympathy than adulation and, unfortunately, incapable of objective analysis. Think Gazza but less addled and more venal.

    Goram – “THE Goalie” or, as I called him when he was between the Ibrox sticks, GOD – is indeed sticking up for his ex-team mate but he’s mostly just signing off the headline and the angle most likely to line his tragically empty pockets.

    Yet, if we ignore the tabloidese language of the Current Bun article, he may have happened upon a half truth about “Vlad the Tim-paler”. The real reason we’re not keeping him at Ibrox is not because he’s no use but because hes not useful enough to justify the wages he’ll be on a Man City or Dynamo Kiev or wherever he ends up.

    I wish him all the very best, though – he’s a great wee character and there’s a lot of affection for him round Govan way. When he was injured towards the end of last season he went into the stands with the Rangers ultras for the final Old Firm game. The You Tube footage of him giving it large right next to the Celtic fans is, however, only his second best off-pitch moment. In that game, almost directly in front of where Weiss was singing and cheering, our current never-say-die crazy keeper, Alan MacGregor, saved a last-minute Celtic penalty which ended up costing them the League title. When Rangers secured that title at Kilmarnock on the final day of the season then returned to a packed Ibrox to display the trophy, Vlad made MacGregor go back in the same goals so he could re-enact the moment again. Both men in their blazers and ties, one impersonating a tragic Celtic striker and the whole crowd utterly pissing themselves laughing.

    In terms of his abilities, most of you on this thread already have him down: He’s technically great but tactically naive. How anyone with a dad like his could be tactically dumb is about as mysterious as how Cesare Maldini and Hary Redknapp could have produced sons with model good looks but Vladimir’s at an age now where that naivety has to be eliminated or it’ll dilute his career. In terms of physical effort and overall commitment to the cause, no Rangers fan would ever have a problem with wee Vlad.

    He can go round players all day – but his problem is he often does. His pace and his shooting ability are spectacular and, okay, yes, I have to add the caveat that we’re talking about the Scottish domestic scene here (all out of Europe before the dark nights come in), if your team is on top in a game he is the perfect icing on the cake who can exploit gaps like no other. In two games against Motherwell last season he scored great goals and generally destroyed one of the better SPL defences outside the Old Firm.

    It’s promising, though. The signs are there that he can and will learn about the wider aspect of his place in a team. His most startling moment of tactical clarity came in the Scottish League Cup final. He came on as a sub (and that’s another thing – the boy is patient and bears no malice about being dropped. He gives his all whenever he’s required) in a game which had gone to extra time and where Rangers were playing well against a Celtic side who were just at the point of looking like they could make a domestic clean sweep. Vlad’s quick-wittedness in taking a free kick split the Celtic defence just long enough for Croat Nikki Jelavic to slot home the goal which won the cup and changed the momentum of our season. As we then tried to see out time and Celtic pushed more desperately forward, Weiss had the wherewithall to take a breakaway run across the bows of Celtic’s player of the year, overlapping full-back Izaguirre – red card for the Honduran and Rangers on easy street for the remaining few minutes of the game.

    So while he’s not the finished article, I’d say Vladimir Weiss junior is currently a very, very handy player and potentially gold dust. That so much remains potential is probably why securing him long-term wouldn’t have been regarded as a marquee signing for Rangers therefore not worth our cash-strapped while stumping up the level of money it would require to keep him.

    For the sake of the Slovak national team, Vlad must get himself into a decent league and into a club with the depth of squad to field him intermittently while coaching him vigorously on the tactical side of his game. And get him on the phone to his dad every night!

    But he’s an absolutely smashing wee bloke and I genuinely wish him all the very best wherever he ends up.

  9.   britskibelasion 28 Aug 2011 at 9:32 pm

    … and now I hear Espanyol .. what a random list of clubs !!

  10.   George Mon 30 Aug 2011 at 6:47 pm

    On his way to …..

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