Former Sheffield Wednesday player backs Jordan Rhodes over penalty shoot-out decision

Jordan Rhodes opted not to take a penalty against Huddersfield Town

Jordan Rhodes opted not to take a penalty against Huddersfield Town

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The issue of whether or not Jordan Rhodes should have taken a spot kick in Wednesday night's Championship play-off semi-final continues to be debated.

The Sheffield Wednesday striker was not one of the players put forward against Huddersfield Town and head coach Carlos Carvalhal said afterwards that Rhodes did not want to take one.

David Prutton in his Sheffield Wednesday days

David Prutton in his Sheffield Wednesday days

"He said that he was not confident to take the penalty so that is why," said Carvalhal: "The worst that a coach can do is to force the player to take a penalty when he is not confident. That would be a mistake."

The Owls would go on to lose the shoot-out and miss out on a place at Wembley with the Terriers now meeting Reading at the end of this month.

Now former Wednesday midfielder and Sky Sports columnist David Prutton has waded into the debate.

Writing in his column in our sister publication Yorkshire Evening Post Prutton, who spent three years at Hillsborough as a player, states that strikers don't always necessarily make the best penalty-takers, and that the player's value - Wednesday could pay around £10m for Rhodes - is inconsequential.

Jordan Rhodes missed a penalty against Leeds United

Jordan Rhodes missed a penalty against Leeds United

Prutton wrote: "It’s an intricate skill which looks much easier at face value than it is when scoring one matters. The fact is that the odds are stacked in favour of a player who takes one. The size of the goal, the size of the keeper in comparison to it and the distance between you: if you don’t do anything stupid, it’s harder to miss. But put a baying crowd behind the net and hang the entire season on one kick of the ball and the scenario’s very different.

"Should Jordan Rhodes have put his hand up before the shoot-out between Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night? It did come as a surprise to hear Carlos Carvalhal say that Rhodes didn’t want to take one. When you grind football down to the brass tacks, we expect our strikers to score goals and we expect them to stick away penalties in their sleep. Rhodes is a £10m striker. But the reality’s not so straightforward. For one thing, scoring goals in open play is not the same thing as converting a penalty. A lot of what Rhodes does comes down to anticipation and being in the right place at the right time. The best penalty takers are the cleanest strikers of the ball or the most accurate."

He added: "I’d assume that on the night, having come on as a substitute and seen little in the way of chances, Rhodes didn’t feel like his confidence or his mind was where it needed to be. He’ll get criticised for that, inevitably, but you’d probably find plenty of strikers out there who relate to how he was feeling. A knack for goalscoring doesn’t necessarily make you good at penalties."

Prutton went on to suggest that it's one thing thinking hypothetically that you would take one but another actually volunteering when the pressure is on and that opting out may be better for the team.

Jordan Rhodes has a shot on goal against Huddersfield Town

Jordan Rhodes has a shot on goal against Huddersfield Town

He went on: "If you don’t like the fact that he didn’t want to be part of the shoot-out then fair enough, and in a hypothetical conversation I’d always put my hand up to take one. I’d always be saying ‘gaffer, throw me in there.’ But in the heat of a moment like Wednesday night, maybe I’d think differently. Am I actually any good at penalties? Am I risking the club’s chances by offering to take one? Are there other people around me who are better at it? There’s a fine balance between showing the confidence a player should show and remembering where you’re own ability stops."

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE YORKSHIRE EVENING POST HERE

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