Wednesday, 4 April 2012

One twin in, one twin out

For the small portion of you who know me this won't exactly come as a cataclysmic shock... my favourite Blackburn Rovers player is Martin Olsson. The fire and the desire he has for his football team allied with his passionate displays for the Rovers has always struck a chord with me and perhaps even more so because it is a club like Blackburn where most players see us as a stepping stone or a stop on the long winding road to super stardom.

His work rate and never say die attitude is something that doctors would do well to clone if they embark upon a quest to try and clone a footballer (god knows why they would, I am just saying).

So imagine my delight when we all found out there was two of him, well not exactly two of him but another one who's practically the same!

His twin brother Marcus has been tried and tested at Ewood before his January move, at the same time as Martin first won his deal, but after initially passing on him we finally took the plunge and signed up "the other one" six years after Martin first rocked up to these shores. I was pretty excited as the Olsson aficionado that I am but others weren't so keen.

It looked a desperate move at the time, almost as if Steve Kean had stood in training one morning and asked if anyone had a mate who could play as we were a bit short for the weekend game and Olsson said - "Err, I've got a twin brother I can ask him?"


But cynicism aside he deserved a fair crack of the whip.

First impressions of Marcus? Wow, it's difficult to tell Marcus and Martin apart which of course is an obvious thing to say about twin brothers but that same level of energy and commitment appears to have been bottled up in the Olsson DNA which in the Premier League is a massive attribute to have... especially if you want to make it in the land of the giants.

On close inspection Marcus' opening displays for Rovers have not been that dissimilar to the efforts of the more established sibling's early efforts back in 2008 - full of endeavour and enterprise but lacking in end product and productive output. Marcus seems to have that knack of getting in good locations with some clever movement and he certainly knows how to dovetail with Martin down the left hand side but the cross/shot/pass has been missing to cement his position in a creative part of the pitch.

In Marcus' defence his footballing upbringing prior to 2012 has been in the relatively obscure setting of the Swedish football league where as his brother has learnt from high reputation coaches under the systems of Mark Hughes, Sam Allardyce and (cough) Steve Kean. Martin is now a well rounded and competitive player at this level where as Marcus seems to have been left behind.

Overall though, Marcus has looked pretty promising and especially for someone who costs very little but is it too early for him to be playing in games of such high importance?

And with only four games to his name in a so far whirlwind introduction to Premier League life is it right to place such responsibility on what is still very much an infant in the cut throat world of England's top flight?

The answer to both questions, in my mind, is no.

Not necessarily because he doesn't cut the mustard, as with Martin he has the tools to be a success in England given the right nurturing from those around him and attitude on his part. But mainly because I believe Marcus is actually holding Martin back from playing his optimum position.

Martin for his part always puts in a shift at left back and when Rovers are on the attack he is a dynamic presence to have on the overlap from fullback but the problems come when we are under the cosh. Martin doesn't seem to have the discipline or the nous to pin himself back into that defensive spot for the duration of the match.

As a left winger however Olsson (the one wearing number 3) could be a huge presence given his pace and touch. He was a massive hit there in the Sam Allardyce days and even during the start of the Steve Kean reign but the lack of a dedicated left back has seen his more or less constant deployment in his second position.

With Gael Givet now back in contention for the run in and Scott Dann/Grant Hanley settled as a defensive axis I'd be tempted to plump the bearded French warrior back into the left back spot, which is ironically his second choice position as well, and give the more familiar twin the chance to push forward.

Marcus' time will come but Martin's time is now and I feel he is being restricted at the wrong end of the field for him.


  1. I'd agree with that.
    Orr Dann Hanley Givet
    Formica Nzonzi Dunn Olsson
    Hoilet Yak

    You could even push Hoilet to the right in a mid-5, and have twin pace down the flanks to support the Yak.

  2. Only problem is Givet is poor at LB. But totally agree that Martin is the superior left winger. Marcus is alright, but he needs to spend a while in the reserves and be coached about final product.

  3. Too bad this isnt a basketball team. Their sister could have invited her fiancee, possibly the greatest german export ever, to come play for rovers. Of course venkys couldnt take the wages but in a couple of years hell be too old for nba and they could have their marquee signing.
    Actually, the venkys helped me rediscover my love for basketball as i got too frustrated with the football world. thanks venkys.

  4. Agree that I'd rather have Givet at LB. Martin is great going forward, but not (yet) much of a defender- what a horror show he put on at Arsenal for instance

  5. I would prefer to see Adam Henley at left back with Martin Olsson forward.