Some thoughts on rising stock and Euro 2012

WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 16: Alan Dzagoev of Russia evades the challenge by Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Greece during the UEFA EURO 2012 group A match between Greece and Russia at The National Stadium on June 16, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The group stages of Euro 2012 are quickly coming to a close, and with it we'll see about 1/2 the field finish with international duty for the summer. Most of these players will now turn their attention to club play, and for quite a few of them there will be a move (or talks of a move) in the very near future. Names like Alan Dzagoev have seen their profile with fans increase dramatically, while players like Gregory Van der Wiel have fallen even further out of favor based on their play over the last 3 games. With that in mind, I'd like to remind everyone of the following things:

  • Euro 2012 will consist of no more than 6 games for any of these players. For the disappointing, it likely consists of no more than 3 games. The sample size here is so ridiculously small that it shouldn't be of much consequence in your opinion of a player. Every player has poor runs of form, and most players have fantastic runs as well. Keep that in mind.
  • National team duty is vastly different than club duty. These guys play a handful of games a year with their national teammates and coaches. They fill different roles than they do at club level in many cases as well. You'll never see the chemistry and organization at the international level that you will at the club level just due to the training time available. Once again, keep that in mind.
  • Many of these players are coming off the back of a very long season. For most, there was a month long break between their last club game and their first meaningful international game. Fitness is an issue. Form is an issue. Players get rusty, and that rust shows. Ever wonder why Russian teams generally look so poor in the first knockout round of the Champions League when they are in their preseason? At least Euro 2012 has everyone involved in their off season.
  • I've mentioned this already, but it's only a handful of games. Should Fernando Torres' brace against a less than stellar Irish squad really make us feel any differently about him? Is Alan Dzagev suddenly worth 30 million pounds because he scored 3 times in 3 games against relatively weak national sides? Should Gregory Van der Wiel getting shredded by a motivated Cristiano Ronaldo when nobody on the Dutch squad was tracking back to help really make us think any less of him?
  • I'm not saying we shouldn't be looking at the Euros to help form our opinions about players, but help is the key word there. We should be forming our opinion based on the overall body of a player's work, as there are so many variables in international play that it's hard to put much stock into what we see. The last few games shouldn't be much more than window dressing. We see players overvalued after every major international tournament due to a fantastic game or two, and this year will likely be no different. Please try to be aware of that as Chelsea are inevitably linked to the best players in the tournament. Please also be aware that a poor showing doesn't really mean much, as the overall quality of individuals on the English team in basically every major tournament should be a prime example of.

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