Richard Wood column: The Rotherham United defender warms to his grandad’s idea of five up front!

Sergio Aguero is just quality
Sergio Aguero is just quality

If you want a defensive masterclass, then look no further than Franco Baresi. The AC Milan and Italy legend is one of the greatest centre-backs to ever play football.

His ability to read the game was second to none. He was a complete, elegant defender who lead by example. I’ve seen many videos of his defending and he is a joy to watch. His close man-marking skills were exemplary and are often referenced in the modern game.

In stark contrast was the Champions League game between Manchester City and Monaco on Tuesday night. In defensive terms, the match was a complete shambles. As a defender, I could pick out so many mistakes and errors, but I’m not going to do that.

What a brilliant game of attacking play!

A great advert for European football.

It was one of the best games I’ve watched for a long time. It had everything and was hugely entertaining.

City boss Pep Guardiola said: “When two teams want to play that way - attack and attack - the game is marvellous.” I couldn’t agree more.

I’m normally all for defensive shape and tactics, but that game was exhilarating and so refreshing to watch.

They say attack is the best form of defence. When you have quality players like Sergio Aguero, Raheem terling, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, who can blame Guardiola for setting his team up to attack.

It was only on Monday night that my grandad was telling me how, back in his younger years, he played football with five players up front.He was moaning that nowadays football is not as entertaining.

He griped: “It’s all too tactical now and teams are scared to lose. Teams should just go for it and not worry about the opposition.

“One day it will be fashionable to play this way again and I hope I’m alive to witness it.”

He only had to wait one day!

We’ve already seen a big change in the way full-backs are used in today’s game compared to 20 or 30 years ago. The modern full-backs are used heavily in attacking play now and play like wingers well in advance of their centre-backs.

Trends go in and out of fashion, so will the ethos of all-out attack, like how my grandad and his team used to play, see a reappearance in the future?

After Tuesday night’s remarkable game, let’s hope so.

Maybe my grandad makes a good and valid point.

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