Departure Lounge – Paul Green
The ginger haired midfielder had a mixed Rams career, not helped by injury. He never quite scored or provided as many goals as promised and after beginning as a dynamic central midfielder, he ended filling a wide role, not his preferred position. Despite being an international and being linked with top flight clubs, he finally left for nothing to join a mediocre Championship side after a deceptively long stay. But enough about Stephen Pearson, here’s Paul Green’s Departure Lounge…
Well, what is there to say that the first paragraph doesn’t? Firstly, Paul Green was nothing like Pearo. Whereas most Rams fans were never quite convinced by Pearo, Greeny was on the whole a popular player, even when he made it quite clear that he wouldn’t be staying.
Arriving as one of Jagger’s first Championship recruits, it’s fair to say
that no one leapt off their seat to hear that we’d signed a player on a free from Doncaster, who had not even played at Championship level. However, it’s also fair to say that Green was arguably Jagger’s best signing (“arguably” as some might vote for Steve Davies).
Green’s best form was probably in his first season at the club. He was a key man as we won twice at the City Ground and in the Carling Cup semi final against Man Utd. He was almost injury free and was able to play his preferred central midfield position. Unfortunately, a foot injury sustained at the end of that season flared up and Green missed a chunk of the following season, although his good form did lead to an international call up with the Republic of Ireland.
The 2010/11 season was the one that set Green on the path of being a utility player, a tag that implies you are not first choice. Green played in the front 3 of the 4-2-3-1 formation and also in the back two – doing a decent job at both. He also played at right back as John Brayford was shuffled to the centre. Green sustained a horrific Achilles towards the end of the season and didn’t return until November 2012.
By the time Green returned, Bailey, Hendrick, Bryson (and soon Carroll!) were battling for the centre midfield slots, leaving Green to slot in at right-back and right-midfield as and when required.
Green played well as a right midfielder and there is no doubt he played a role in the Rams improved form. However, there was always a sense that he was “filling in” and all things being equal, he wouldn’t be a player we’d start the season with on the right wing. His work rate was good and he helped us be solid but he was never going to skin his full-back, his crossing was below par, his shooting was weak and he never scored (but he was good, honestly!).
And here we have the problem with Green. After four years at the club, he should have been first name on the teamsheet and a candidate for captaincy but he never quite developed into a “big” player. Clough has mentioned before about Green being a player who hasn’t stepped forward when times are rough (e.g. the Forest 5-2 debacle) and he has a point. Green was never a bottler but he also never dragged us out of a bad performance or made the difference in a tight game.
I like Green and he did us good service but ask yourself honestly – hands up for the untried but rising star of Michael Jacobs – and hands up for another couple of years of the tidy, efficient Paul Green?
I know where my vote is going.