Solid Bramble affected by lack of width

Last updated : 15 November 2004 By Craig Hope (website editor)

If our lack of width is having a harmful effect upon the potency of Alan Shearer and Patrick Kluivert, then spare a thought for Titus Bramble.

One of Bramble’s major strengths is his ability to switch play with either foot. On a couple of occasions Bramble looked to ‘ping’ a ball wide as he has done with incredible accuracy in the past, only for yesterday to find no wide options available, instead electing to play a difficult pass up to Shearer or Kluivert that ultimately resulted in the loss of possession.

The ex-Ipswich Town defender was yet again strong throughout against Man Utd after an encouraging display against Chelsea. It is encouraging also that the ever fickle pendulum that is public opinion appears to be finally swaying in Titus’ direction. If Bramble feels the backing of our support then his concentration levels will increase as a result of this added reassurance.

I returned home to find Sky pundits blaming Bramble for Rooney’s opener. If you watch the move back then Wayne Rooney broke from midfield in much the same fashion as Paul Scholes would have done had he not already have been in our penalty area, along with Van Nistelrooy, being marked by Carr and Bramble. It was the responsibility of Bowyer, Butt or Jenas (all stood in a line twenty yards off the pace) to pick up Rooney’s run.  His subsequent finish beat Given all too easily.

Bramble will play for England according to Graeme Souness, the acquisition of a quality, injury free partner will surely go a long way to making Souness’ prediction a welcome reality.