THE man who Brendan Rodgers described as an ‘exciting’ signing yet ironically has a name that is one letter away from the word ‘Boring’ has so far failed to capture the imagination of the Kop but has he been placed under too much pressure too quickly?
Upon his signature, Rodgers said he felt the fans would ‘love’ Fabio Borini and that he would be a player for now and for the future. However, he was quick to state that he did not want to put any undue pressure on the new recruit.
However, fortune has dealt a cruel blow to the football sapling that is Fabio Borini. After the well publicised, cataclysmic transfer deadline day, there is now inevitably an increased stress on the young shoulders of Borini as he represents a large proportion of the scarce forward options in the Liverpool ranks. But he appears to have been judged by fans too soon, and I am as guilty as any.
Before he had even kicked a ball for Liverpool, I had firmly struck my gavel in sentencing Borini to a 2 goal season for the Reds and had written him off as a flop without offering him the luxury of an open mind and some time to state his case as a footballer.
Now, I write to protect a footballer who has already suffered the debilitating groans from the stands at Anfield, as well as an audible number of fans decrying his ability already. In many ways, he appears to be the new Lucas, quickly gaining a stained reputation on the back of lofty expectations and team underperformance.
Borini is 6 games into his Liverpool career and has been thrust into the first team due to a lack of options and the boss’ belief in him. Rodgers expects Borini to grow as a player at Anfield and at the age of 21 there is plenty of time for him to develop into a figure that fans consider of genuine Liverpool quality.
So what has Borini done so far? Well a 1 goal in 6 return is not a tremendous start, but 6 games into a new team that is gelling to new players and a new style of football is not enough to assess his scoring, or indeed his playing ability.
There are two problems that have undermined Borini in the short time he has been at LFC. Firstly, he appears to shy away from making hard tackles; hardly a crowd pleasing trait to possess. However, this can be addressed in training and through Borini’s own application. Secondly, he is not an ‘exciting’ player and he never will be an exciting player. He will not offer tricks or dribbling skills to raise the crowd to its feet and he is not the type to score blockbuster goals to be talked about down the ages. Even if he becomes a prolific goal scorer for Liverpool, they will be non memorable, boring goals.
This is why he should be thought of in the same context as Dirk Kuyt, a man whose reputation at Liverpool is lasting, and a scorer of the most boring hat-trick ever seen.
Borini has so far shown two traits that certainly bode in his favour if he is to become an important player for Liverpool. The first is his work rate. As a replacement for Dirk Kuyt, one could not ask for more in terms of industry and work ethic, and Borini constantly gets back, harasses and harries opposition players and consistently looks to make runs.
He also shows genuine passion on the pitch. He makes it obvious that football means everything to him with his expressions of exasperation when things go awry and he is not scared of letting other players know his opinion. He told Gerrard exactly what he thought when a misplaced pass failed to find Borini’s run against Arsenal.
While he hasn’t looked like a world beater at this stage of his Anfield career, he does not need to be belittled as a player or placed under the great strains of goal scoring expectation. It is and will be his job to get goals in a red shirt but time must be allowed for him to blossom. Strikers with far better pedigree and reputation have arrived in England only to fail and it is therefore important that Borini, as a young player, is offered support as he looks to study his trade and improve.
It is worth remembering that goal scoring at the highest level is incredibly difficult and to put things in perspective Van Persie, a man who finished the league’s top scorer last season and was sold for £24m in the last year of his contract, scored 5 league goals at the same age as Fabio.
Let’s be patient and let’s hope in later years his labour will be rewarded.
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