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Juni   
WHY is Billy Knott being played at left-back? We don't have any decent left wingers and I really want him to develop as a winger rather than another left-back. We have a good player in Bertrand at left-back as a potential future first-team player.

Billy's been at Chelsea 4 years, which means he came when Jose was at the club, meaning he's pretty much always been a left-winger in a 4-3-3, and that has meant less defensive responsibility. In the current formation, the left winger is on the side of a diamond and needs to defend more. He's being tried at left-back to instill defensive responsibility into his game, which will serve him well longer in his career.

It's a pretty common thing for the academy to do, already this season we've had

George Saville (DL, DM)

Josh McEachran (DM, AM)

Aziz Deen-Conteh (DL, DC)

Tom Hayden (DR, DC, DL)

and various others, and over recent years we've seen Jacob Mellis at centre-back, Shaun Cummmings at striker and both fullbacks, Lee Sawyer and Tom Taiwo at right back, Bruma in midfield, Borini as an AM or a MR, van Aanholt all over the place, Magnay DL, Philliskirk DC etc etc. The more positions a player has experience at, the better his understanding of the game from a wider perspective becomes, and the better his decision making becomes both from a teamwork point of view, but understanding what an opponent will be doing too.

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My report

The official site reckons Fulham's striker got a hat-trick, he didn't. I've got their names in mine (not to big myself up but I do make the effort to find it out where I can).

Thanks for the report. Very enjoyable game though it was bloody windy out there. I have been impressed by Strickland from what I have seen. He reads the game well and has been a calming presence at the back. It would be hard for him though to make a career as a centerback unless he beefs up. Was he a second or third year scholar at Man United? He has just that extra bit of experience at this level which shows at times.

McEachran had a good game, he was making defense splitting passes with such ease. Knott had a better game at left back than his previous outings and was especially good going forward. Excellent goal as well I must add. Billy Clifford was much more useful with the ball for which he has been criticised in the past. Juni, is George Saville still a schoolboy? I saw him for the first time today and as far as first impressions go, I liked what I saw. Any idea why Rodgers wasn't involved? Mitrovic ran his socks off today and probably deserved a goal for effort alone.

The build up play for the second goal was the best passage of play in the game. The ball just zipped from one midfielder to another left to right and before you know it a cross from the right was blasted into the net by Knott on the left.

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Juni   
I have been impressed by Strickland from what I have seen. He reads the game well and has been a calming presence at the back. It would be hard for him though to make a career as a centerback unless he beefs up. Was he a second or third year scholar at Man United? He has just that extra bit of experience at this level which shows at times.

Was a second year and they released him, signing Pogba and Fornasier this summer.

Juni, is George Saville still a schoolboy? I saw him for the first time today and as far as first impressions go, I liked what I saw.

Nope, scholar, turned 16 in June, he's just not able to play so often atm because he's going through a growth spurt/having specific physical training which reduces his capacity to do that and play.

Any idea why Rodgers wasn't involved?

Has been away with Ireland Under-17s all week in their first stage of qualifiers.

On a side, looked up to the 16s pitch at one point and saw someone cut inside and absolutely rifle the ball into the top corner. Astounded a few around me shouting "what a bloody goal" when there was nothing on the 18s pitch :D Think it was either Bowerman or Loudon who scored it but I was a few hundred feet away.

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My report

The official site reckons Fulham's striker got a hat-trick, he didn't. I've got their names in mine (not to big myself up but I do make the effort to find it out where I can).

I think the bloke who does these reports for the OS sits in the middle stand. He surely fills in at least ten pages in his notebook going by the way he scribbles down stuff during the 90 minutes. Poor stuff from him if he can't get the scorers right,

Nope, scholar, turned 16 in June, he's just not able to play so often atm because he's going through a growth spurt/having specific physical training which reduces his capacity to do that and play.

How do you rate him compared to other first year scholars?

On a side, looked up to the 16s pitch at one point and saw someone cut inside and absolutely rifle the ball into the top corner. Astounded a few around me shouting "what a bloody goal" when there was nothing on the 18s pitch :D Think it was either Bowerman or Loudon who scored it but I was a few hundred feet away.

Didn't see that. I was to the right of the central stand and you hardly see anything of the u16 pitch. The second half just flyed by as I was engulfed in a conversation with a Wimbledon supporter of 50 years. It was his first visit to Cobham and was very impressed with quality of the playing surface.

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Juni   
I think the bloke who does these reports for the OS sits in the middle stand. He surely fills in at least ten pages in his notebook going by the way he scribbles down stuff during the 90 minutes. Poor stuff from him if he can't get the scorers right,

His name is Christian Collison, I've spoken to him a few times, offered corrections and stuff for previous reports. Bumped into him before the game today. With regards their scorers there's a team sheet of just names not assigned to numbers but he at the very least has access to Fulham staff to ask, I don't. I had a few Fulham around me who were referring to names and I listen to player shouts, then make the matches with names available. With the own goal scorer I just googled the names to find pics until I recognised the one. Fulham's site doesn't have any but they were in the pre-season Toomey Trophy and there are pics from that.

Anyway, random insight into how I do things. I've seen Danny Hoesen play before so I knew he was one of the scorers.

How do you rate him compared to other first year scholars?

Behind them, but he's alright technically. Needs to bulk up to stand any chance. England Under-17s have called him up before so they like him. Intelligent player.

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lazydude   
Billy's been at Chelsea 4 years, which means he came when Jose was at the club, meaning he's pretty much always been a left-winger in a 4-3-3, and that has meant less defensive responsibility. In the current formation, the left winger is on the side of a diamond and needs to defend more. He's being tried at left-back to instill defensive responsibility into his game, which will serve him well longer in his career.

It's a pretty common thing for the academy to do, already this season we've had

George Saville (DL, DM)

Josh McEachran (DM, AM)

Aziz Deen-Conteh (DL, DC)

Tom Hayden (DR, DC, DL)

and various others, and over recent years we've seen Jacob Mellis at centre-back, Shaun Cummmings at striker and both fullbacks, Lee Sawyer and Tom Taiwo at right back, Bruma in midfield, Borini as an AM or a MR, van Aanholt all over the place, Magnay DL, Philliskirk DC etc etc. The more positions a player has experience at, the better his understanding of the game from a wider perspective becomes, and the better his decision making becomes both from a teamwork point of view, but understanding what an opponent will be doing too.

I think we put a too much emphasis on tracking back and defensive work of offensive players. Sure they need to be able to do that, but that doesn't mean you completely change their style of play and place them in a brand new situation. Billy Knott has not mastered the LM/LW position, so why are we changing his position before he is able to do that? These players need to be taught how to track-back from their original positions. Playing as a defender is only going to hinder their offensive abilities. Unless these players are going to be playing in that position for the rest of their careers, I don't see why it should be done. Sitting here we can say that playing him in that position will improve his over all game, but what it will do is confuse the boy when he should track back and when he should stay forward since the full-back position can be considered as an inverse of the wingers.

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Juni   

Can never place enough importance on defensive responsibility, as unless you're exceptionally talented you're going to be relied upon for it at the top level. That doesn't necessarily mean tracking back all the time, but it does mean tactical maturity and an intelligence on the pitch. For a great example of this look at Lampard - he doesn't tear around with the work rate of a Cattermole say, but his positioning and understanding of the game allows him to be in the right place at the right angles and make life hard for opponents. Either this is something you get and understand, or don't and need work at. Every single youngster at Chelsea is developing different area of their game and it happens that Billy needs a bit more help on his defending, so he's being given the opportunity to the game from the point of view of the player he should be helping more, regardless of the formation (left wingers will always need to help left backs).

It's not a permanent switch and it's not a drastic change because the full-backs get forward a lot in this formation, but it's a useful tool. Versatility is key nowadays more than ever, the club has done a good job with some of the youngsters coming through in their ability to serve multiple roles, which benefits them personally as they forge a career (let's not forget that the majority of the club's players are statistically unlikely to make it with us, same as any club, so there's a responsibility to the individual as well).

If it confuses him, suffice to say he won't have much of a professional career. It's simply part of developing as a player.

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Have to agree with Juni. It's all part of a player's development and if he can't take these things on board then the chances of him having a professional career are pretty low unless he is bloody talented. A lot of wingers do end up as fullbacks eventually so it's not something which would go to waste. With more emphasis on fullbacks in the modern game, a fullback who can attack as well is an important commodity. You can already some improvements in his defensive game in the last two matches.

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Juni   

Back of today's programme, Sala has the 46 shirt.

As per UEFA.com, further squad numbers have been added for the B list

47. Nikki Ahmed

48. Daniel Philliskirk

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dooder12   
Back of today's programme, Sala has the 46 shirt.

As per UEFA.com, further squad numbers have been added for the B list

47. Nikki Ahmed

48. Daniel Philliskirk

Good for the youngsters. Juni, I've read your description of Sala and when I've watched him reminded a bit like Perrotta in style in that he has high energy, tenacity, and can play out wide or in midfield. What are your thoughts on him?

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