Saïd Benrahma is an incredibly gifted but occasionally wayward footballer, he possesses skill in abundance and the ability to put opposition defenders on their back sides with the drop of a shoulder or the slightest feint of movement, yet it was only in the last few games before the Qatar whitewash Cup that he was given a starting berth in David Moyes' new 'super team', comprised of £180 Million of new signings in addition to the quality players who were already at the club.
'Benny' has bided his time and has had to rewire his footballing brain in order to force his way into David Moyes' reckoning, but now he is there or thereabouts how does he push on and deliver the quality everyone knows he has? His 'maverick' ability has been severely curtailed under the Moyes regime as he had to adjust to the hard running tackling back aspects of his game, but there needs to be a balance between the disciplined and the inspirational.
So hence the Cross Roads For Benny reference, with a doff of the cap to Meg and Sandy et al at the Crossroads Motel in Birmingham, Benrahma has the skill and the temperament to succeed, but ironically just like David Moyes needs more time! Algeria's failure to qualify for the "THIEFA" World Cup has meant that Benrahma will be available for some intense training with Moyes and his staff as they try and get the team back to winning ways.
Part of that process must be about having a plan B, because recent games have clearly shown a lack of adaptability in style of play, other teams have 'sussed' the Irons out and know exactly how to expose the counter attacking way of play that suits European ties but is domestically no longer a viable proposition. So long as most of the squad return injury free from the Farce Cup, Moyes will have a superb selection of players available, he will also have had that added 'bonus' time working with the players who weren't away on International duty.
He has the tools, but does he have the mindset? To have managed over 1,000 top flight games is a massive achievement make no mistake, you simply do not get to reach that milestone unless you have some very special qualities, to have survived and thrived for so long MUST have required a great deal of flexibility and adaptability from David Moyes, is he up for another stage?
We ask this question rhetorically because no one at the Org knows, can a Leopard change it's spots? Does David Moyes want to carry on? You bet your bottom dollar he does, having finally assembled a squad in his image Moyes would rue enormously on missing the chance to put 'his' players out for the remaining games of the season, after all it is HIS squad that was painstakingly put together by him and head of recruitment Rob Newman.
There are of course loads of media reports about points targets when things kick off again, these reports will become more frequent as the 'F' Cup progresses with the points required versus time ration altering on a regular basis intertwined with 'sack race' odds. IF the Board were going to pull the trigger it would have done so after the Leicester City game, but they have quite rightly taken the view that having backed the manager to such an extent it would be foolhardy to then sack him before he has the chance to integrate all the new signings?
There WILL be a mathematical cut off point that someone has written down somewhere after which the club would remove David Moyes from his role, but the details are probably stored in a safe! Premier League survival overrides ANY form of loyalty and the board would act if they had to. With the squad available Moyes MUST at least retain the club's top flight status and then look to seriously push on during the next.
When does patient loyalty become patently incorrect and what if the form suddenly doesn't turn around? These questions will weigh heavy on Moyes in the coming weeks, perhaps his jolly up with Erik and the others will lift his spirits? - Ed