The strategy employed by De Zerbi to rotate his two goalkeepers, Steele and Verbruggen, throughout the season at a rate of two games each is an intriguing one. Many have questioned the relevance of this approach, particularly in the light of Steele’s performance in both the kicking game and on his line. This has led to a public debate on the merits and demerits of this rotation policy, especially given the critical role that goalkeeping plays in the success of a football team.
Steele’s performance has been a point of contention. His performances in the kicking game have been particularly scrutinised. Kicking is a crucial aspect of goalkeeping, and Steele’s performance in this area has left some questioning De Zerbi’s decision to continue rotating him with Verbruggen, instead of allowing one keeper to maintain the momentum and build on their confidence and form.
Steele’s performance on his line has also raised eyebrows. This was most evident in the game against Olympique Marseille, where he was found wanting on a shot from Veretout. The ball was aimed directly at Steele, but he let it go in a manner that was not quite in line with the textbook approach. This has further amplified the questions surrounding De Zerbi’s rotation policy.
The incident against Marseille was particularly glaring. Steele was guilty of letting Veretout’s shot go by in a manner that was far from academic. This lapse, coupled with his inconsistent performance in the kicking game, has led to questions being raised about his suitability as a first-choice goalkeeper.
But it is not just Steele’s performance that has been questioned. The wisdom of De Zerbi’s rotation policy itself has come under fire. Critics argue that the constant rotation does not allow either goalkeeper to gain enough momentum and form, which are crucial for a goalkeeper’s confidence.
Ultimately, De Zerbi’s decision to rotate Steele and Verbruggen is one that has sparked debate. Only time will tell if this strategy pays off for Brighton or if it proves to be a misguided tactic. For now, though, the focus remains firmly on the performance of Steele and Verbruggen, and the impact of this rotation policy on their form and confidence.