During the World Cup in South Africa many argue that Spanish forward Fernando Torres is struggling since returning from injury and his form in the red of Spain has been disappointing, but surely you write him off at your peril?
The Liverpool hitman is yet to open his goal scoring account in the World Cup as of yet and appears to be missing some sharpness after returning from injury. Some have rather amusingly blamed his form on his new haircut as if it’s had some sort of Samson effect on him, but part of the reason could be that he plays a slightly different role in the Spain setup than he does at Anfield.
For many nations it would be a worry if you have a player like Torres who isn’t scoring (he hasn’t hit the net for Spain since last summer), but scoring isn’t necessarily his job for Spain as David Villa is the main man up front and Torres is there to supplement him.
Torres spoke of Villa being Spain’s main forward:
“David is the goalscorer. He’s the one whose responsibility it is to score [for Spain]. When I was 17 I would get annoyed if I didn’t score but not anymore.”
Sid Lowe, The Guardian, argues that Torres finds himself in a bizarre situation as a forward and his performances are judged by the form of the man alongside him much like England’s Emile Heskey playing up top with Wayne Rooney.
Now, whilst it is daft to compare Torres with Heskey it is true that nobody would really question the latter’s place in the England setup up if his strike partner was hitting the back of the net.
As for Torres, during his drought he can take comfort in the fact that he continues to create goal scoring chances for his team-mate, who has scored four already in the tournament. In the game that the Liverpool man was absent (v Switzerland) Spain lost and Villa struggled without his strike partner.
Vicente del Bosque, Spain’s coach highlighted the importance of 26-year-old in his setup:
“Torres hasn’t scored goals yet; he lacks pace and his finishing needs to improve, but he is very valuable.
“He ties up the defenders, is a constant threat and opens spaces. He always offers himself, especially at the hardest moments, and causes problems with his power and pace.”
He wasted a lot of opportunities against the likes of Honduras, but let’s not forget that Torres has suffered his injury problems this year and has had undergone the surgeon’s knife twice, so it is understandable that it will take him time to rekindle his goal-scoring prowess.
Despite injury issues and form there’s no reason to write Torres off and the Reds’ forward may yet score an important goal or two in this World Cup. He has done it before in the absence of Villa, who suffered a thigh injury and was ruled out of the Euro 2008 final. Torres scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Germany, who’s to say he will not have the final say in South Africa?