Torres unlikely to rediscover former glories
Published: 10.12.12 / Written by: David Gold
The topic of Fernando Torres continues to dominate column inches in the British press.
The Spaniard simply has not been the same player since the 2009-10 season with Liverpool. Back then, he was the best forward in English football. Fast, clinical, strong, an excellent link up player, Torres was unplayable at his best. He is also the closest the league has come to another Thierry Henry since the Frenchman departed Arsenal (the first time, that is).
Torres, such a talent in his days at Atletico Madrid, is a mystery. How can a player lose it like he has? In Torres’ case, it seems a physical issue. You do not lose technique, and certainly on the evidence of Torres’ play he seems to have the same touch that he used to. You also do not lose a big game mentality, which the Spaniard undoubtedly has. It seems an age ago, but there was a time when Torres was a thorn in the Manchester United side every time they met, whilst he was also brilliant for Atletico Madrid during his time there against Barcelona.
And Torres of course, scored that goal which secured Chelsea’s place in the Champions League final last season.
The issue seems to be to do with pace. Torres just does not seem to be as fast as he once was. He does not have that acceleration, that burst. That something extra. The ability to spring yourself to the ball a moment before an opponent, to take control of the play and make things happen. That has gone. This Torres is a different Torres. You’d imagine if he had 12 good chances, he would probably score a few. Yet not as many as he once would.
That happens when you are not physically at your sharpest. You know what you want to do with the ball, but actually executing it is harder. Everything seems to take a second more than it would when you are sharp. That would appear the problem for Torres now, struggling as he is to cope with the demands of playing up front on his own for Chelsea.
It is hard to see what role Torres could have now for Chelsea. He does not seem to have the attributes to be a top quality centre forward anymore. He does not have the pace to be a top winger, although he possesses the strength and control on the ball to play an important part in a team’s build up play. Perhaps, if he can adapt, Torres would be better suited to playing in the hole behind a striker, in an area of the pitch with space to carve open opponents. That is the problem for Torres. Finding him enough space that he has the time to execute what is in his head.
But what seems certain is that the great Torres who used to light up the Premier League is not coming back.