There are always going to be exceptions to the “if you’ve earned the shirt, you keep it” ruling that Jewell insists that he works on. Lee McCulloch, more lucky talisman than incisive left winger seems to be one, Jimmy Bullard another. When a keeper is out injured you can almost guarantee that he’ll be back in after recovering. Unless, that is, his replacement has a run of games where he looks confident, plays well and looks the better of the two choices. Our back five have been superb so far this season, none more than Mike Pollitt. Despite John Filan having his first run out of the season in the midweek cup game against Bournemouth I, and I expect most of us, never expected him to be back in the sticks for the Everton game.
Jewell has it down as one of the hardest decisions of his career, and luckily for him it didn’t back fire, but that’s cold comfort for Pollitt who has exceeded all expectations of him being signed as ‘back-up’. In some ways playing Filan was understandable, the atmosphere was going to be tense at Goodison and the Aussie has been there before whereas Pollitt hasn’t, there’s no way now of knowing whether he’d have stood up to it.
The thing is, what happens now? Filan has got the shirt, and will want to keep it, but Pollitt’s done nothing wrong to put him out of the picture. After the start to the season he’s had, he’ll be a little bit miffed about sitting on the bench. There’s potential for Jewell to have his first bit of dissent, since his early days at the club, hopefully Pollitt isn’t that sort of player because this season more than most, we need to keep that tight team spirit going throughout.
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