My old Leeds United blogger/mucker Tom Hill asked me for a few thoughts on Paul Green, to mark his free transfer move to the Darkside from the Rams. Here’s what I wrote….
Neil Warnock believes that in Paul Green, he’s secured the signing of a midfielder who can create as well as score goals. To be honest, I wouldn’t expect him to be terribly prolific in either regard, but you’ve signed a good pro in Greeny.
He joined us at the start of the 2008/9 season on a free from Doncaster Rovers, part of a wave of signings who were supposed to propel us back into the Premier League after the disastrous sortie of the previous term. The problems Paul Jewell faced were made abundantly clear when the Rams promptly lost at home on the opening day to Green’s former employers, who had themselves just been promoted from League One.
Green was one of the better signings in a decidedly mixed bag that year, instantly establishing himself in the side and becoming pretty popular with the fans. His main attribute is his indefatigable work ethic and he can be relied upon to track back tirelessly, while also often also playing his part in counter attacks, whether in the build-up or by making his way into the box to get onto the end of a cross or blocked shot. That said, his goalscoring record is not as good as it should be, with just seven to his name in his four years at Pride Park – and I can think of more than a couple of sitters he’s contrived to miss in that time.
Last season, he was often used at right back, in the absence of first choice John Brayford and any specialist cover. He did a very steady job there, but it’s likely that his new-found ‘utility’ role contributed to his decision to turn down a contract extension at Derby and move on. It should also be noted that he wasn’t likely to be first choice in his preferred position anymore, due to the emergence of the excellent youth product Jeff Hendrick and the signing of Scottish midfielder Craig Bryson, who can do the job that Greeny did and has firmly established himself as a favourite with manager Nigel Clough.
A somewhat unlikely Republic of Ireland international, Green, a Yorkshire lad who came through the divisions from non-league with Donny, is used by Giovanni Trapattoni in a holding midfield role, where he makes the most of his tenacity and terrier-like willingness to close down space and track runners. At Championship level, he would expect to be allowed a touch more freedom and is at his best when allowed to scamper from box to box.
So, on the plus side – good engine, honesty, endeavour, can knit things together nicely in the middle of the park or in forward areas and at 29, has a good couple of seasons left in him yet. On the minus side – not a great technician, not a player likely to get fans off their seats, poor goalscoring return for a midfielder with license to go forward.
I’m sure he’ll do well for you and prove to be a decent signing.