It has been a tough start to life in England for Remy Cabella. Yesterday he can count himself lucky to have been named in the latest France squad.
It wasn’t a surprise that Newcastle United’s Remy Cabella was named as part of Didier Deschamps’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against Armenia and Portugal, but it does clearly show that the France boss isn’t exactly picking players on their current form.
After scoring 14 goals for Montpellier last season, Cabella has yet to find the net for his new club, he has yet to provide an assist either. It has not been the dream start for the forward, but the hope is he can still come good and it is far too early to rule out a successful career in the North-East.
However, one worrying point from yesterday’s squad announcement was the reaction of Remy himself. On twitter he posted an image of the match against Spain wearing the Les Bleus jersey. It said “Toujours une fierté d'être appelé en Equipe de France” Always proud to be called to the French team. Then in English at the end it said “Never give up”.
Toujours une fierté d'être appelé en Equipe de France. Never Give Up. Enjoy pic.twitter.com/5Xxbr1kQBg— Remy Cabella (@RemyCabella) October 2, 2014
It’s the last line that is quite interesting. Usually saying something like this would accompany the news that he wasn’t in the squad, that he had to keep working hard, but the fact that it’s in English seems to suggest that it has to do with his time at Newcastle United.
In a positive way, it shows that he is aware that his performances for the Toon Army have been far from his best. It would be worrying if he was pleading ignorance and thought that everything was going ok.
Due to the physical nature of the Premier League and the way in which Cabella plays, it was always going to be a baptism of fire for the 24-year-old. He still has time to develop in England, but with Newcastle United’s struggle in the league, the spotlight is focusing more and more on Cabella’s absence during games.
The fans want him to do well, but they have a high level of expectation.
Comparing his stats this season from last season fails to show exactly what has gone wrong. He is averaging more passes per game, his key passes are up from 2.2 to 2.8 per game.
Even his pass completion rate is up from 78% to 87.5%. His rate of turnovers is down slightly and he is even making more successful dribbles this season.
Alan Pardew called for more protection for his forward, and that is evident from the statistics. Cabella won 101 fouls last season in Ligue 1, that’s 2.8 per game.
This season it’s down to 2.2, but the referees in France are more likely to call for a foul than in England. That also could be the reason that his shots per game has dropped from 2.7 per game to 1.8 – that is the only category that doesn’t match up from last season.
Pardew needs to give Cabella the freedom to get in the positions where he can let fly, but it is also up to Remy to take the opportunities that are presented to him. Cabella is at his best when he is allowed to roam and find the space to create chances. That is always hard to do within a team struggling for results.
You don’t want Cabella running back to track a midfielder, that’s not his game. He needs to be given a licence to do what he does best. Then when he is able to attempt dribbles and pick out passes, he is able to do it in the areas where he can make a difference.