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Friedel Could Have Saved Ince At Blackburn
Guardian, December 16th, 2008 1:15PM

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The question is not so much whether Blackburn Rovers was right to sack manager Paul Ince on Tuesday, writes Paul Wilson. Rather, should the club have appointed him in the first place?

Like the appointment of Roy Keane at Sunderland, Ince's recruitment was "risky," he says, because "in both cases the club boards seemed to opt for the powerful playing persona rather than the proven managerial force." Ince had not even completed all his coaching badges. Blackburn, though, thought he'd have the time not only to complete the necessary courses, but also to adapt to managing a Premier League club.

It turned out that Ince was wrong to make the leap from the lower tiers too soon, and that Blackburn was wrong when it rushed "to appoint a relative novice." And Wilson pinpoints the one player that Ince should have retained -- U.S. keeper Brad Friedel, who left Rovers for Aston Villa in the offseason.

"The new manager either failed to persuade the goalkeeper to stay or did not consider it a top priority. He might even have thought the younger Paul Robinson was a decent replacement for the elderly Friedel. If so, Ince needs to forget the training badges and watch a few matches, for it doesn't look that way now." Friedel is in the top four with Villa, "playing as well as ever," while Robinson "looks as shaky and short on confidence as ever, costing his side goals and frequently being complained about by supporters."

 

 

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