Following the release of the Posh retained list, manager Steve Evans has explained some of his decisions surrounding why players are being retained or placed on the transfer list.
A few heads were turned when they saw central defender Steven Taylor and midfield general Anthony Taylor on the transfer list but being on the wrong side of 30 and presumably earning a hefty wage would’ve been some of the factors against the duo but Evans explained to Peterborough Today: “Steven Taylor has behaved impeccably in my time at the club, but he wants the of another two-year deal and we don’t like giving players over 30 that sort of contract. It’s club policy to place players on the transfer list when they enter the last year of their contract.
“My relationship with Steven is very strong. I was honest with him and told him he might not be best suited to the way I want to play. He can get by in a two-man central defence, but maybe a three-man defence suits him better now. He doesn’t want to get dragged out into wide areas where pace becomes a problem.
“Sometimes Steven has suffered because of the form of others. Jack Baldwin is a great lad and a great captain, but he hasn’t had a good season so it’s time for him to move on. Ryan Tafazolli is my main man at the back.”
Although Taylor is a massive fans favourite, you can understand the logic of Evans and after his performances this season, he should be able to find a new club very easily and possibly a bit closer to his Newcastle home.
With regards to Grant, Evans continued: “I want a two-man midfield with one tenacious tackling sort who can get around the pitch like Richie Smallwood did for me at Rotherham. I want one alongside side with great mobility, a younger Lee Frecklington if you like.
“That’s my problem with Anthony Grant who is another top professional, but one who is better suited to being one of three midfielders. If I was going to play that way I would pick Anthony every time.”
At times, Grant has been excellent in the middle of midfield but there have been times his game has slipped and other games his style of play simply was wrong for the match as we needed a more dynamic midfielder to drive the team forward.
Former captain Chris Forrester could’ve been that “dynamic midfielder” but has struggled for form ever since the FA Cup clash at Stamford Bridge last season against Chelsea. The Irishman was outstanding in that match but has rarely lived up to that performance and with the tactics Evans plans to use, Forrester is another who is surplus to requirements.
“Putting Chris Forrester on the list is really disappointing. He’s a player I watched rip West Brom apart in the FA Cup alongside Martin Samuelsen and I felt then he was going to be a top, top player, but he’s struggled for form for a long time now. I kept picking him when I got here, but Chris admitted he was poor in every game for me,” continued Evans.
With Evans planning on playing a dynamic 4-4-2 formation with a two-man midfield, the Posh boss went on to explain why he kept some of the players on the retained list: “I’m keeping Leo based on his potential. I had a good chat with him yesterday. He told me he’d been coached to keep possession at all costs which is fine, but I need my midfielders to take chances and get from box to box and contribute goals. Leo might only have played 10 games at other clubs rather than the 100 he’s played for Posh. For him to start in my team next season he needs to show me a bit more.”
Da Silva Lopes is another of those players that many fans raised an eyebrow at when seeing him retained but Evans’ explanation probably explains why the 19-year-old sometimes plays like he does. Hopefully Evans can breath more life and flair into the teenager otherwise he could end up being placed on the transfer list just like Jermaine Anderson has.
Posh fans are fully expecting the departure of both midfielder Marcus Maddison and 33-goal striker Jack Marriott but, no matter how many chances Maddison creates, would he have fitted into Evans’ criteria for his wingers?
“I want my wingers to get up and down next season like Gwion Edwards and get balls into the penalty area. I feel Joe Ward and Danny Lloyd can make the necessary improvement and I also believe George Cooper is better in a wide position. Certainly aside from Marcus Maddison, George is our best passer and crosser,” said Evans.
“Ideally next season I want to play with two strikers. I wanted to do that this season, but I didn’t have anyone good enough to play alongside Jack Marriott.”
If, or rather when, Marriott is sold, how many forwards will Posh be looking to bring in as the other forwards currently at the club have either been placed on the transfer list or will be sent out on loan! Surely it’ll be a minimum of three incoming strikers but ideally four.
It makes complete sense to see so many players on the list but what we have to be very wary of is whether all the new players can gel together and it doesn’t end up like Bury who brought in a ridiculous number of players during the last two seasons only to end up bottom of League One.
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