Debate over selection is far from a bad thing for Doncaster Rovers: Liam Hoden column

The announcement at 2pm on Saturday brought with it criticism and furious debate.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 12:00 pm

Darren Moore’s team selection for the opening League One fixture of the 2020/21 season proved to be a major talking point, with discussions raging on well after the final whistle.

And that should be music to the ears of Doncaster Rovers fans.

Before you even get involved in conversations over which players should have got the nod in place of which others, just think about how good it is that you’re even able to have such debate in the first place.

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Fejiri Okenabirhie

Putting it simply, Rovers, at long last, have options for plenty of positions.

And that is exactly what they need for what will prove to be the most intense season in living memory, due to the fact that six weeks of time has been sliced off the front end of it.

It was highlighted none better than in the shape of the subs bench named for the clash with MK Dons, and how it contrasted with that from the trip to Blackburn Rovers a fortnight earlier.

In a short space of time, Rovers found themselves with real game-changing options among the substitutes, and players who many felt should have been starting in the first place.

For what it’s worth, I understood what Moore was aiming for with the selection of his starting XI. In a game that was always going to be dominated by a midfield battle, he wanted pace and power to spring attacks quickly, and saw that in debutants Rayhaan Tulloch and Tyreece John-Jules.

As the game panned out, the combative approach of Fejiri Okenabirhie, that was on full display in the EFL Trophy tie with Bradford City, would have likely served Rovers better in the first half. They could not make the ball stick in advanced areas and Okenabirhie’s ability to hold it up and bring others into play would have made Rovers more threatening and helped ease the strong pressure from MK Dons.

But guess what. It won’t be the last time such discussions are able to be had, either before the game or with that wonderful thing of hindsight.

And that, most certainly, is a good thing.


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