Absa Premiership

Getting the best out of Parker

2014-12-05 08:54
Bernard Parker (Supplied)
Cape Town - Bernard Parker has been a key man at Kaizer Chiefs and has provided some glorious moments of sheer class and brilliance. He has been used in a variety of roles, but one that I believe will get the best out of him is if he is selected in a deeper-lying position.

But you can already see the understanding between Parker and Kingston Nkhatha. It's almost as if they have a telepathic understanding, where as soon as they collect the ball, they know where the other player is - something that is seen as a rare trait in a strike partnership.

Parker has been utilised in a variety of roles for Amakhosi, often playing as the lone striker, as well as being used up top with many different strike partners and even playing on the left-flank on some occasions.

For him to be as effective as possible, it is important that Parker has the freedom to roam around the field and is able to easily find team-mates. He is so calm and composed on the ball that it makes you wonder how he's is not a central midfielder.

Another advantage of Parker playing in a deeper role is that he will have more space in the so-called hole. He will be the link between midfield and attack, and will always pose a threat to any opposition. One of Parker's many talents is that he finds space very easily, he drops off from his defender and gives his team-mates a fairly simple pass to play.

If Parker was deployed in a deeper role, just behind Nkhatha, we may see both Parker and Chiefs at their very best. It was clear that Parker needed to change the way he plays or Chiefs needed to change their tactics for the striker to thrive, and there is evidence that head coach Stuart Baxter has got the side working on a method, slightly different to what they have previously employed.

Chiefs have some gifted players in possession of the ball in the middle of the pitch; they seemed to be playing the ball into Parker much quicker, which allows him to utilise his natural instincts as a striker. The more direct play through the middle gives Parker more of an opportunity to hold up the ball and bring others into the game. He holds play more effectively which allows other players to make runs past him and, allows the team to keep the ball moving forward as opposed to it going backwards.

These changes also ensure that Chiefs can maintain their system of playing one striker in attack in a 4-2-3-1 system and flooding the midfield with creative strikers. They need to be direct because Parker doesn't have the pace and trickery anymore to beat defenders.

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates FC fans, remember to send us your fan pics via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail your pictures to mysport@sport24.co.za from the Calabash tomorrow and we'll feature you in our gallery!

Read more on:    kaizer chiefs  |  psl  |  bernard parker  |  soccer
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