This article is part of Football FanCast’s Off the Bench series, which places in-game managerial decisions and squad selections under FFC’s microscope.
It isn’t that much of a well kept secret that Roy Hodgson is a conservative manager, and one who bases his game plan on maintaining a rigid structure – a ‘defend first, attack second’ mindset in every sense of the phrase.
However, there are times in a match where the 72-year-old should certainly feel that he can throw such a method out of the window and try to be a bit more expansive.
After going 1-0 down to Leicester in the 57th minute on Sunday, the remaining 33 minutes were a perfect example of such a moment.
The subs should’ve been attack-minded ones, not more systematic players who would keep the defensive side of things ticking over but offer little imagination going forward.
In someways a redeeming moment, Hodgson did sub Max Meyer on after an injury to Cheikhou Kouyate, although perhaps that in itself was foolish given the vast differences between the two – the 5 foot 8 German simply can’t mirror the 6 foot 4 Senegalese’s physicality.
However, it was one of the former England manager’s next substitutions that sent out the wrong message in terms of kick-starting a comeback.
Hodgson introduced James McCarthy for James McArthur in the 78th minute, two players who are similar in name as well as their industrious style.
Unsurprisingly, the Irishman didn’t really do much to find an equaliser – McCarthy had just seven touches, no shots, and made no key passes.
One man who should’ve come on instead was Victor Camarasa. Hodgson has given the Spaniard just five Premier League minutes this term, but surely the former Cardiff man would have supplied more inventiveness than McCarthy.
Camarasa scored five goals and grabbed four assists last term, and in his one start this season – a Carabao Cup game against Colchester – he won the WhoScored Man of the Match award having completed 89 passes, three key passes and had two shots.
Of course, Colchester aren’t comparable to Leicester. Having said that, Camarasa has shown more than McCarthy in the past to suggest he would’ve offered a bit of creativity and a breakout from Hodgson’s rigid structure to pose Brendan Rodger’s side something of a threat.
Sending the workmanlike McCarthy on instead, however, sent out entirely the wrong message at 1-0 down.