Wigan Athletic - Momo Diame On The Bench
Vital Latics member Paul Thorp, aka Thorpyness, takes a look at the possible reasons why Momo Diame has not made the starting eleven since his return from the African Cup of Nations
I was sat in my seat, resting my weary back from the walk, when the team news was read out over the public address system. I wondered as many supporters did - especially given his performances before he went - why Mohammed Diame has not slipped straight back into the midfield following his return from the African cup of nations?
It's a question I don't suspect I alone was asking by any means. I also suspect those that came to the same conclusions I did as to why, are much fewer and further between, and if you grouped together those that then followed the thought process as far as I did, it would be just me on my own.
When the teams are announced, my thoughts always turn to the first eleven, and how they will line up. I then think about the bench and what options they offer and how they might be used, by this time it's usually kick off, or I'm then fiddling with my radio and don't think as much as I did on Saturday.
Having arrived early on Saturday due to the walk, and only meeting my usual sparring partner at the ground, I had a little more time. Sitting there musing my thoughts took me down a couple of avenues that will form the basis of a few articles starting with the first team and bench.
The immediate question therefore was, why is Diame missing?
Clearly every selection decision is one taken after much thought, and no doubt consultation with the backroom staff. Before I began to second guess this process, unfortunately my thoughts strayed into considering the number of people that would just come up with the fairly simple answer, 'it's obvious, why he's not playing. It's because Roberto is bonkers'. I pity them, because I know some people not only think that, but actually seem to believe it as well. How they manage to buy a ticket without help is beyond me. I was most disappointed to see almost these exact comments on one of the (other) forums, when I got home.
I came up with 4 reasons, and I don't think any one of them is enough in its own right to explain the decision, but I suspect a combination of at least the first 3 factored into the decision overall.
Firstly the player that was playing instead of him must have been considered competent. I know some people believe a half fit Diame is a better player than some of our other options, but there are plenty that consider them all enough of a muchness to accept that what sways the managers final decision is stuff that I`m not privy to as it comes from the training park.
Secondly, one wonders about his condition following the ACN and whether the tournament stresses, travelling and such like have taken him slightly off the boil in training, enough to have others selected ahead of him.
With the other players having been ok in his absence, the third reason might be to get the rest of the midfield believing they can manage without him, thus building confidence.
Considering all 3, it almost seems to makes sense to leave him on the bench. It seems fair enough to play others instead, especially so if you do what I'm suggesting not too, and think in context of the result.
Lastly, and most interestingly, I wonder are we actually forward planning. Diame, and Hugo, will both be out of contract in the summer, Hugo particularly has expressed he will leave, both have not been used when you'd expect they might be, since the end of the transfer window. I wondered if this is a deliberate policy, or just a coincidence?
Not seen Mo for a while
By permission of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
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