Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Martin Rennie is only making plans for Nigel

Martin Rennie is only making plans for Nigel

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We all know that there isn’t a soccer manager alive who doesn’t want as much depth as possible in a roster. But, could the Whitecaps be getting to the point where they have too many players for coach Martin Rennie to manage?

As has been widely expected, the Whitecaps announced the signing of former English national-teamer Nigel Reo-Coker, who has made over 250 English Premier League appearances, mostly with Aston Villa and West Ham United.

“Nigel is a leader on and off the pitch,” said Rennie in a release. “Although he is only 28, Nigel brings a lot of experience to our club and will be a great addition.”

Reo-Coker’s discovery rights belonged to Portland, so the Whitecaps gave the Timbers second-round picks in the 2014 and 2015 SuperDrafts.

Nigel Reo-Coker

The team advertised Reo-Coker’s signing as the acquisition of a player who can play both holding midfield and defence, but really it’s hard to see Reo-Coker not playing in the middle of the park. And when you look at the midfield, you already have Gershon Koffie and Matt Watson — who was arguably the Whitecaps best player in the final month of the 2012 season — there. As well, Jun Marques Davidson, who started 2012 very well but saw his influence on the team diminish through the season, is also in that midfield muddle.

Of course, whenever you bring in a player who has worn a Premiership team’s shirt(s), the pressure is immense to make sure the name player gets the minutes. Reo-Coker could mean that there’s a reduction of minutes for Koffie or that Watson won’t get a chance to stake a claim to be a written-in-ink member of the starting XI.

If there are no deals made to thin out the ranks, the Whitecaps will have a bit of an edge in July and August, when games come fast and furious, schedules are clogged with friendlies, and the heat takes a toll to slow down MLS matches. If Rennie is better able to rotate a squad than anyone else in the Western Conference, he could find a few bonus points out of those midsummer matches.

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