A striker lives and dies by the service he receives. Often fans forget that he cannot score if his team-mates do not give him the ball. Saying that, he must be mobile and be in a position to receive the ball as well as desperate to win those fifty-fifty balls and make things happen; create opportunities where they don’t necessarily exist.
Two games into the A-League season and Perth Glory’s new signing Guyon Fernandez looks like a fish out of water. To be fair to the Dutch striker the service has not been the best, but then again neither has his movement.
Perth Glory has made poor signings up front in the past, Brian Deane, Neil Teggart and Mate Dragicevic spring to mind. All three never lasted a season and after two games and with rumours buzzing around that Andy Keogh is not happy in Thailand and wants to return to Perth, Fernandez could well be a name added to the list of those signed and released before making an impact.
As a 22 year old Fernandez had big wraps on him as a player at Excelsior in the Netherlands and his form – 38 goals in 81 games over three seasons – saw him move to Feyenoord. This was not a happy move. He suffered racial abuse from the fans and was suspended for six games for hitting an opponent. He was sent out on loan to another Eredivisie club PEC Zwolle, again he found some form scoring 12 goals in 27 games. Yet he returned to Feyenoord only to be released by them. PEC Zwolle did not re-sign him.
That was July 2014 and he was only picked up by NAC Breda in January of this year. The club was facing a relegation battle, and he was seen as being the answer to their goalscoring problems. He was scoreless after eight games and Coach Robert Maaskant described his performances as “disappointing,” and dropped him. He did win back his place, and his first two goals came in the last game of the regular season against FC Groningen where Breda lost 4-5 at home. In the play offs to stay in the Eredivisie he scored 3 goals in the 4 games, but Breda were relegated and he was not re-signed.
Maybe the rumours of Keogh’s return have unsettled the big striker, maybe the way Perth Glory are setting up does not suit his game, maybe he is taking longer to settle in to life in Australia, but at the moment he does not look like the player his early career promised.
It could however be a thigh injury picked up in 2012. Has he ever fully recovered? Could this be affecting his mobility and that in turn is affecting his confidence? In two years he has missed 130 days due to a thigh problem.
Luckily for Fernandez he has two more games in quick succession this week and if he can score in these games he may well kickstart his season and his career. Should he fail to find the back of the net one can sense the fans will be comparing him to others who have played up front, and the pressure will increase on him to score. Hopefully having moved to the other side of the world to re-capture that form, the goals come soon, and with that so too does his endeavour and movement.