In what has been a fairly poor start for the Addicks this season, Danny Green has come in for particularly heavy abuse for his performances. The 25 year old returned to the team that he left as a schoolboy during Powell’s recruitment drive in the summer of 2011, but has failed to take his chance on the right side of midfield following Bradley Pritchard’s dismissal on the opening day of this season. But how fair is the criticism being directed his way? Have his performances really been that bad, or is he the scapegoat for a succession of disappointingly bland performances throughout the side?
Green arrived in the summer of 2011 for an undisclosed fee from Dagenham and Redbridge. A young, tricky winger with an impressive cross, Green spent Charlton’s League One promotion campaign battling with Scott Wagstaff for the starting spot on the right side of a largely settled midfield of Hollands, Stephens and Jackson. Green made 30 appearances for the Addicks in what was a fantastic season for the club, grabbing some crucial goals in the process.
In fact, it was December and January where Green really hit a purple patch. A last minute winner against Yeovil on Boxing Day was followed by the second goal in a 2-0 win against Brentford on January 2nd. His third and final league goal of the campaign came only three weeks later, as the young winger netted the only goal in an away win against Exeter. Coupled with a few decent assists, and all in all it was an impressive return to the club for Green.
Charlton returned to the Championship for the 2012-13 season after a three-year exile in League One. With many fans unsure how the club would fare, survival seemed to be the collective aim. In a bizarre season points-wise, the Addicks, who had spent most of the campaign looking anxiously over their shoulder, were unbeaten in their final 8 games, finishing 9th, just a few points off the playoffs.
The season was not such a success for Green as an individual. Despite a spectacular consolation goal against Derby in September, his appearances were largely from the substitutes bench, with the winger failing to make much of an impact. When he did impress, one such occasion being a cameo at the end of a defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, he then failed to back it up with a solid performance. Following the game with the Owls, Charlton took on Ipswich and Green was handed a rare start. He failed to get involved in the game, and when he had the ball he made sloppy mistakes. Green was dragged off at half time, and despite the fact that the Addicks went on to lose the game, Green had done fairly large damage to his reputation; resulting in being dropped for several games. It was disappointing, but perhaps indicated that Championship football was just one step too far.
Charlton’s season is far too young to be drawing any real conclusions about the side at this stage. Having said this, from what we’ve seen so far, it appears once again that the pace and skill of the Championship is too much for Danny. He showed during pre-season that he intended to secure that right side for his own once again. In particular, his first half performance against his old club Dagenham and Redbridge reminded fans of the player that he could be, constantly looking for the ball, driving runs down the right side and multiple crosses into the Daggers box. Following Pritchard’s dismissal on the opening day of the season, Green was given another chance against Oxford in the Capital One cup. Again, his performance drew a lot of praise, and although his goal was fortunate (a deflected free-kick), he had the same hunger in his eyes and desire for the ball that he had shown in pre-season.
Green’s performance earned him a start against Middlesbrough, another disappointing defeat for the Addicks. Just like the Ipswich game 8 months earlier, Green failed to take his chance. He didn’t seem interested, failed to deliver any form of telling cross, and was overrun by the power of the ‘Boor players. The most telling sign of his poor performance was the equally disappointing performance of the usually reliable Chris Solly. Solly clearly didn’t feel comfortable with Green in front of him, and spent large portions of the game recovering Green’s mistakes.
Charlton have not played particularly well in any of their league games so far. 15 minute spells at Bournemouth and Barnsley aside, they have looked a shadow of the side that finished 9th last season. Whilst Green has disappointed, the fault does not lie solely at his door. He appears to be taking the flack for a midfield that is lacking creativity throughout its players. Wilson, Pritchard and Gower amongst others have tried to add creative spark to the Addicks, with none really giving Powell much to think about. Stephens remains the most creative player at the club, but unless he is played alongside Hollands he doesn’t seem confident enough to push forward. This would force Powell to make a decision on Jackson and Harriott, and this doesn’t seem like happening. Perhaps Cousins will solve some of the Addicks’ problems, but with Stephens, Jackson, Harriott and Cousins all fit, the door again appears to be closing quickly on Danny Green.
A real asset on his day, Green seems to be prepared to work hard and has an excellent grasp of the basics of football. He will run at defenders, and has the ability to deliver excellent crosses into the middle. Either he has too many off days, or the Championship is a step too high for the young winger. Either way, getting on his back won’t help him or the squad, and he needs our support to begin to replicate his League One performances.
In Powell We Trust!
By Tom Wallin