I’ve never really known what to make of Michael Dawson the footballer. Michael Dawson the person seems perfectly likeable; honest, hardworking, spirited. I like Michael Dawson the footballer and the person for exactly these qualities.
Originally a makeweight in the deal Andy Reid deal (not that Reid needs additional humans to make weight in any deal), Daws has become our club captain and the only player in the squad who has played all 2,160 minutes of our season so far.
Not so long ago, he was publically deemed surplus to requirements by Villas Boas. His reaction? An honest announcement that he didn’t want to leave the club, and that he would stay to fight for his place. Which he did. Very well indeed. I wish we had more players with that sort of attitude and resilience.
But Michael Dawson the centre back? I have had reservations for some time and they still persist. There is no doubt he is dominant in the air; as good as anyone in the league. Similarly, there’s no questioning his effort – he can often be found slinging himself horizontally across the pitch to block shots or diving into tackles.
Actually this is my problem with M Dawson centre half. He’s often out of position and lacking the pace to recover necessitating the last ditch goal savers. I watched the games against Liverpool and City with horror; the movement of Suarez and Aguero continually pulling Dawson around. The worst thing was, I felt like I’d been there many times before. I don’t get the feeling that he reads the game, more reacts to it.
The return of Kaboul and Vertonghen, more intelligent and athletic defenders, will give Sherwood a problem. I have no doubt that Kaboul and JV are the best two centre backs at the club, but do I think Tim will drop Dawson? No, and I think he’s right not to.
Why? Well it goes back to that resilience and desire. Given the opportunity of a free pass out of the club, Dawson chose to stay and fight. He’s a bit like our Rocky Balboa, rolling with the punches, looking down and out but somehow winning. He’s likeable and he’s infectious. He’s a leader, and we don’t have enough of those.
Right now, for all of his faults, we need Michael Dawson.
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