Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck prove Brighton's medical team deserve praise not criticism
Criticism is part and parcel of life at a Premier League football club and Brighton & Hove Albion have been on the end of their fair share of it from supporters in the 2020-21 season.
From Graham Potter overseeing a run of two wins from the opening 18 games of the campaign to the Seagulls' forwards looking as threatening at times as a rabbit wearing a pink ribbon, there have been plenty of people at the club getting it in the neck at one point or another.
Writes Scott MCarthy from wearebrighton.comSome of this criticism has been deserved. There have though been instances where it has been directed at bizarre targets for strange things. The weirdest? This strange obsession some fans seem to have with the Albion’s medical department being to blame for every injury suffered so far this season.
Injuries happen, especially in a unique campaign like the one the pandemic has caused. The national media would have you believe it is only Liverpool suffering, but every club seems to have had more players on the shelf than normal.
That should come as no surprise in a season condensed into a shorter timeframe because of the mid-September start. There was hardly any time to rest over the ‘summer’ either with players having just a couple of weeks off between the end of the 2019-20 campaign and the start of pre-season 2020-21.
Read the reaction to Tariq Lamptey requiring an operation on his troublesome hamstring and Adam Webster being ruled out for a lot longer than first reported though and you could have been forgiven for thinking that Brighton were employing Jack the Ripper as physio.
Lamptey is not the first young player who relies on explosive pace to suffer from hamstring issues. Players at the start of their careers such as him are still developing physically and that makes them more susceptible to muscular problems.
It is surely better that the Albion’s medical department wrap him in a cotton wool for six months now to protect him for the rest of his career, rather than rush him back and risk making the injury one hundred times worse.
Jose Izquierdo is living proof of what can happen otherwise. Anyone who saw him struggling through the second half of the 2018-19 season could see he was not fit and yet Brighton kept playing him, eventually leading to a sorry performance against Newcastle in the final home game of the campaign when he could barely move. Izquierdo has not kicked a competitive ball since.
Rather than using injuries which every club suffer from as a stick to beat the medical staff, Brighton fans should instead look at Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck for example of the good that goes on in the treatment room at the Amex.
When the Albion signed both players on free transfers, there were more than a few eyebrows raised. They were well-known sicknotes who in Welbeck’s case had hardly played any football in the past two seasons. Lallana had been out for even longer, missing almost three years with a succession of issues.
Conventional wisdom suggested that Welbeck and Lallana were quality players if they could get fit, but Brighton had about as much chance of getting them fit as the minidisc has of making a comeback.
In which case, HMV better start stocking minidiscs again. Lallana has been Brighton’s best player in the past three matches against Leicester City, Southampton and Newcastle. Welbeck has one assist and one goal in that time, taking him onto three goals for the season from an xG of only 4.53. That is obscenely good compared to the Albion’s other wasteful forwards.
Come the end of the season, Lallana and Welbeck could be the difference between Brighton playing Premier League football in 2021-22 or heading back to the Championship. They bring a level of class, ability and experience which outstrips any of their teammates and in one of the youngest squads in the top flight, that is invaluable.
And if Lallana and Welbeck do play significant roles in keeping Brighton up, then the Albion medical team will deserve a huge amount of praise for doing what their counterparts at Liverpool, Arsenal and Watford could not by getting them on the pitch.