And they all rolled over and one fell out....
Robbie Savage. Some find him irritating, others find him impossible to leave out. Some find him unpickable, others wouldn't do without his presence in their side. For Leicester, Birmingham and now Blackburn, he is a regular selection, he runs, tackles, can take freekicks and aids the attack fervently. So how is it that new Wales manager John Toshack decides to exclude him from the qualifiers against Austria?
I listened to TalkSport and caught Savage speaking via telephone to presenters Mike Parry and Rodney Marsh. Mike Parry tried to constantly ask Savage if he would go back on his decision if Toshack were to leave the coach's position, but Marsh stated at the third attempt that the question had been asked and answered. Rodney Marsh, rely on him to be blunt and to the point.
Yet Savage states his allegiance to the Welsh jersey, how he wants to play for his country, that rumour had it he would be the next captain, and he allows this decision to put him off. Toshack said the pairing of Carl Robinson and Carl Fletcher against Hungary is something he wishes to work on again. I think this is OK, Savage has shown he can play, Toshack may want to see if anyone else can do it if Savage isn't available, which he wasn't due to injury for the Hungary game.
If I was Savage, I'd train and wait until after the qualifiers and see how things go from there. After all, he was to be omitted from the Austria games only, not from Wales altogether, and if Savage really wanted to play for Wales so much, this is what he should have done. I wouldn't give up playing for any team so easily, much less my club and/or country. Besides, if my exclusion is seen as the blame for any defeats or poor play, then it's Toshack who takes the blame. There seems a hint of personal grudge in this decision but Toshack is boss and Savage should learn to abide and see how things happen.
Saying that he has a young family to think off isn't cutting it. Many players have young families and they juggle their career with family commitments. This has nothing to do with anything other than Savage speaking out about comments made by Toshack in criticism of Savage and other Wales players. Gary Speed, Andy Melville, Nathan Blake, Mark Pembridge, Mark Crossley and Andy Johnson of WBA have retired from international duty. Add Savage and that is a fair chunk of the winning side who took on the Italians at Cardiff Park and won. It's not an indication that any or all of those players left as a result of Toshack's appointment but the timing is suspicious.
Names of good players I can recall from memory are John Hartson, Craig Bellamy, Mark Delaney, Ryan Giggs, Robert Earnshaw and Simon Davies. The pieces of this puzzle have fallen, can John Toshack use the remaining pieces and add others to formulate another whole?