The Michael Wood Column

Monday 15 October, 2001

Why the price is right for Carbone

Simon Parker of the Telegraph and Argus argues that now is the time for City to get rid of Benito Carbone, I think that it the time to step up his role at the club, not discard him.

Parker argues that the City team needs patching up, areas of the field need new blood. A new full back, perhaps more creative midfielder, a pair of wingers it is fairly obvious from watching the Bantams that better players, players that have been and are available in certain positions, would make a better team.

Greg Shields, Juanjo and Robbie Winters are today's links to City. All three are good players, all three would find a role at City, but do all three suggest that City would turn around 3-0 defeats to Wolves?

To turn this tide City need not individual but collective improvement. The best example of this is the central defensive positions. Wetherall and A.N. Other seems to produce the same result. A month or two ago debate surrounded who would you rather have: Andy Myers or Robert Molenaar? Today debate is who would you rather not have?

These players have not got bad over the past two months. The truth is that everyone in the squad needs to be better. Collective improvement. Enter Benito Carbone.

Arguablily Beni is the most talented player in the division and with Carbone City always have a chance. Outside of Bradford reaction to the Wolves game has suggested that City were unlucky, that Carbone fizzed enough to have been worth more. It is true that when City pay well, Carbone is exquisite. It is also true that when City are bad, Carbone is ineffectual.

But perhaps that sentence reads the wrong way around. Perhaps it is more the case that when Carbone is bad, City are bad and when Beni is good, City can out play anyone. Collectively outplay that is. It is noticeable that in the thrashing of Gillingham and inspired Carbone was linking up with a free running Robbie Blake and a brave Andy Tod. In short, Beni sets the tone for the team.

So why avoid that fact? Carbone can be head and shoulders above everyone else in the division and as a result so can City, as long as we allow Beni to set the tone. Make Beni the hub of the team, not just a talented forward who we can not build too much around in case he is off soon.

Carbone should be City's Cantona.

And like Cantona's United the "one man team" will be that first and foremost, a team with a pattern set by the beat of the Italian's boot but built through a collective contribution.

Now is not the time to hawk Benito Carbone around, now is the time to work the team around the Italian, to a reasoned extent, and challenge both the squad to work from his pattern and Beni to set the tempo and path of games.

Do that and City will be the talk of the division. Rid us of Carbone and we will be another group of good players in a division that needs inspiration to get out of.

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From: Kieran Wilkinson

The fact is, that almost every team who manage to get promotion from Division One have an inspirational player. Fulham had Saha, Sunderland had Phillips, even City had Beagrie and McCall.

City will not achieve with a squad consisting solely of hardworking, journeymen professionals. Almost every team in the division could lay claim to this. Carbone adds something a little bit different, something a bit unpredictable that will distinguish City from the teams who always seem to miss out such as Birmingham, the teams who will be midtable such as Burnley.

City need to start playing as a team and not just passing to Carbone every single time. The other forward plyers need to have a go much more or at the very least get the ball to Carbone when he's near the box as opposed to the halfway line.

Getting rid of Beni isn't the answer.

From: Jerry