Nathaniel Clyne: The New Glen Johnson?

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Last summer, as a Liverpool fan there was not that much to rejoice about. Liverpool had finished the 2014/2015 season in a disappointing sixth position having come so close to winning the Premier League title the year before. Daniel Sturridge was hardly seen by fans, the goals from the 2013/2014 season had dried up, Mario Balotelli was an enormous flop, Liverpool had given a poor account of themselves in the Champions League (after being out of it for so long) and manager Brendan Rodgers had, it seemed, been found out.

Nathaniel Clyne - The New Glen Johnson

One of the things though that put a smile on faces of Liverpool fans worldwide was the thoughts of never having to endure ninety minutes of Glen Johnson as a Liverpool player ever again. Johnson was one of those players that fans all had the same opinion of, and that opinion was he was poor. His defensive lapses cost Liverpool more goals than I can care to count, his inability to get back in to position when the team had moved forward to attack and his inability to defend made him the focal point of many a fans frustrations and at times rightly so.

So when it was announced that Nathaniel Clyne had been promoted from the Liverpool reserves to the first team, I for one was perplexed. Yes he was an upgrade on an aging Johnson (in saying that I see myself as an upgrade on Johnson) but I had a sinking feeling that he would fall in to the same trap as some of his ex Liverpool reserves teammates, players like Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren, all of whom have found the step up to the first team a lot harder then they initially might have anticipated. Liverpool fans demand a lot more from their players than the fans at Southampton did. (No disrespect to Southampton.) There is also the step up in the expectation levels. While Southampton fans might be happy with a mid-table finish every season, Liverpool fans expect a top four finish as a minimum every season and some players just can not handle those expectations.

Clyne came to Liverpool on the back of a couple of half decent seasons at Southampton. While Liverpool fans were maybe expecting a big name signing, an experienced signing when Johnson left, Brendan Rodgers and the famed transfer committee obviously knew something we as fans did not know about Clyne and went on to sign him.

So far this season Clyne has played a total of thirty three times for Liverpool in all competitions (that’s over 2000 minutes of football), scoring one goal and assisting in another. Compare this to Bacary Sagna at Manchester City, he has played in a similar number of games to Clyne and while he has not scored any goals so far this season he has assisted in four. If you watch Clyne play, he likes to play the ball short,  and whilst Clyne is very good at times going forward, he can be slow to get back and defend when the attack breaks down; which leaves Liverpool vulnerable at times at the back. His evident weakness when it comes to defending set pieces makes a liability that invariably costs the team goals. Another of his weaknesses is the fact that he dwells on the ball at times and when a killer pass is needed he can be guilty of misplacing passes. There’s no doubt that Clyne is an upgrade on an aging Johnson, I just do not think he has what it takes to become Liverpool’s regular right-back and I can forsee Jürgen Klopp maybe bringing him off the bench a bit more as the season progresses especially with the return to fitness of the Scouse Cafu, Jon Flanagan.

I have a feeling that once Flanagan is fully fit he will be back in the starting line up on a regular basis. Flanagan is a fan favourite and is the type of player who when he is on the pitch gets the crowd going. When he is playing you know he will give it one hundred and ten percent. For me he was Liverpool’s man of the match against Stoke City, that’s something I can not remember saying about Clyne so far this season. Clyne will also be under pressure aswell if Conor Randall can keep on improving. While Randall might never reach the level of Clyne or Flanagan, his want for game time might just push Clyne out the Liverpool door. One thing that is for sure, Clyne needs a rest. He needs a couple weeks off to recharge his batteries, rediscover his form or he faces the same faith as Johnson did and that’s losing the love of Liverpool faithful and once that happens it’s nearly impossible to get back.

One other thing that could be a nail in Clyne’s coffin is the fact that the majority of Liverpool fans would have Flanagan start ahead of Clyne. I would have Flanagan at right-back for Liverpool over both Randall and Clyne every day of the week.

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  1. You call us ‘liverpool reserves’ and say ‘no disrespect to Southampton’ in the same paragraph? Lol what kind of an idiot are you.

    Two points and 15 goal difference behind us, and we’ve been crap this season. Hope you aren’t able to afford tickets to Anfield library next year!

  2. This is so dumb that it’s not even funny. Clyne has been one of our most consistent players since the start of the season. You just have to find someone to attack, don’t you?

    • Got to agree. Clyne has been one of the few bright lights in our season so far. He is in general solid defensively (besides defending headers at the far post i suppose), has a great engine and tries his best in attack. Flanagan similar to Clyne has little quality in attack and defensively i’m not sure he is as good. Flanagan as cover at rightback for now would be the way to go IMHO. But if Flanno can improve then Clyne would have a genuine worry on his hands.

      Just another Liverpool blog. Please support thank you.

  3. If I could score this an awful article I would. I’m a LFC fan and this is a piece of trash. Flanno is a good player but there’s no doubting clynes quality. Slow to get back, I think you under estimate how big a football pitch is. You can’t just lose the ball up the pitch and then suddenly be back in position. Poor article and hugely disrespectful to Southampton, a team higher in the table than us.

  4. We need to get over the fact that we think we are a bigger team than southampton,west ham,leicester and everton all of whom are above us.
    Once we get that into our skulls we can move forward.
    Agree about Flanno though he gets my heart racing,and he appears as commited as three players.

  5. Aaron Cawley don’t give up your day job whatever that is because you sure as Hell ain’t gonna make it as a football pundit. You haven’t got a clue about football mate give it up and stop embarrassing yourself.

  6. The most ridiculous article I have ever read. ‘Brendan Rodgers and the famed transfer committee obviously knew something we as fans did not know about Clyne and went on to sign him.’ What a stupid comment. Clyne was the best full back in the league during 2014/15.

  7. Clyne is a solid man marker. Remember how he dealt with Sanchez at the Emirates, he’s one of the few players in our squad that can mark in a one on one situation. Aaron why dont you make article about Lucas or Sakho those two are below standard.

  8. Aaron Cawley that was the worst article on here I have ever read … if there was a league table for writers on here … you would certainly be relegation material !!!

    Your lack of knowledge on Nathaniel Cylne … especially with the stats available … and multitudes of ratings articles on the web per game … imply you have NO interest in watching NC or Liverpool.

    The fact that NC ratings score this season hardly drop below 6.5 if ever … would actually make him one of our standout players this season … and if you ever bothered to watch him … you would see how consistent he has been for us. Far superior to anything we ever had with Glen Johnson.

    To even mention Flanagan in the same breath is laughable … so don’t even get me started … having the unenviable title of being … “the most dribbled past player in 2013-14” … having played only 22 PL games out of a possible 38 … that’s 16 games less than players who went on to be relegated that season … 16 … are you reading this … 16 and what is his job … !!!

    Finally one last thought, if you ever thought about making this a career … there is an article on here entitled “… Blaggers and Ignorance” … guess what you come under … fool some people some of the time … fool people ALL of the time … I think NOT … you have been found out … and you need to buck your ideas up !!

    POOR … POOR … POOR !!

    LFC fan since ’73


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