JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

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JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby Sven » Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:38 pm

The gold dust Cardiff City player who will prove to those who criminally underrate him why he is more important than ever
By Scott Johnson


You can write about the influx of academy graduates, but that has been done to death. It has been this season’s go-to positive story, but if you write about them too much, there is the danger of making that a negative too by heaping too much pressure and expectation on them.

I could write about a much-improved performance against Reading, but it could hardly have been any worse than the insipid showing against West Brom a few days earlier. Mick McCarthy finally changed Cardiff’s shape, which increasingly felt like it was holding them back, although we’ll never know whether that was due to Sean Morrison’s absence or just a coincidence.

It was one of those games you sometimes get in the Championship where Reading scored from more or less their only chance and despite peppering their goal all game, Cardiff couldn’t find a way through. McCarthy evidently wanted Cardiff to cross more, but Reading were fairly comfortable with the aerial threat, which never really equated to many clear-cut chances.

A draw would have broken the chain of defeats, but hopefully the performance represented some sort of corner turned because the league table makes for particularly unpleasant reading. Only three points off the bottom three, they are also only goal difference from Swansea, who they face next.

Joe has just celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his Championship debut for Cardiff and that is an amazing feat. At Cardiff, where player turnover is chronic, it is near miraculous. When you consider that he is one of only two remaining players from Cardiff’s promotion season in 2018, along with Morrison, you realise what a remarkable feat that is.

Ralls has always been one of those players who goes about his business with the minimum of fuss and is a solid seven out of 10 player, week in, week out. Season after season. Players like that are like gold dust. Low maintenance, hard-working and relentlessly consistent.

The grind of the Championship takes its toll on your body. It’s the reason why Aron Gunnarsson fancied the slower pace of Qatar after a decade in the second tier. To be the player who still sets the tempo and sets the standard for everyone else is vitally important and criminally underrated. Ralls is one of the few who grafts just as hard at the foot of the table as he does near the top, which is why he has never been as important as he is right now.

When you spend that long at a club, it is inevitable that you drift in and out of fashion. Ralls may not be as technically gifted as some of those around him and that is always the go-to criticism, but you can’t have a team of Lee Tomlins. Someone has to do the heavy lifting and try to get the ball back.

When Ralls finally got the chance to play in the Premier League, it felt like it may have been a bridge too far, as he initially struggled to adapt, but he was far from on his own in that regard. All of a sudden, it felt like he was half a second off the pace, as the speed of thought and fleet of foot in the top flight proved a real culture shock.

This culminated in his sending off at Spurs, where he looked in such a state of panic that he hacked down the rapid Lucas Moura a few yards off the ball. He never stopped plugging away though and it is testament to him that he eventually found his feet and began to look far more comfortable. He has exactly the right attitude and approach, but not everyone has that.

Ralls, from the outside at least, seems to take football very seriously. His determination is written all over his face and the truth is, whether you like it or not, Cardiff always play better with him in the team. That has never been more apparent than in recent weeks.

He was a notable absentee for the games against Coventry, Bournemouth, Blackburn and West Brom, during which Cardiff’s early-season promise collapsed around their ears, and returned against Reading, when they suddenly showed signs of life. That is clearly not all down to Ralls, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence either.

There was a distinct lack of fight in Ralls’ absence. No one pressing the opposition, hellbent on winning the ball back and driving Cardiff forward. As is often the case, you sometimes only miss someone when they’re not there anymore and surely Ralls’ worth and importance is now apparent for all to see.

He’s remarkably still only 27, too, so long may his influence continue. He is one of far too many players heading out of contract next summer, but surely he will be the first one to be retained and offered new terms. Presumably a testimonial will also be on the cards too.

I’ve always felt warmly towards Joe because when my son was a Cardiff mascot for the day, he led him out, but I also appreciate his massive contribution to Cardiff in the last decade.

Ralls has been integral for a long time, but never more so than he is right now. He is a gem of a player and now very much one of our own.
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JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

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Re: JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby Forever Blue » Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:18 am

Ralls has been a great player and not appreciated enough in my opinion.
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Re: JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby Bakedalasker » Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:50 am

Forever Blue wrote:Ralls has been a great player and not appreciated enough in my opinion.


Unfortunately for him he does that unappreciated job that most of us don't see.

He reminds me of Makele of Chelsea when Chelsea ruled the Premier under Mourinho. Obviously not as good as Makele but you get the gist. Makele was the first name picked for every game, had roaring reviews from the pundits and was Captain of a French side full of stars. Unless you know football you would not understand why. Hence why Ralls get taken for granted because most of us fans don't understand football.
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Re: JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby Scoularite » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:07 pm

by Bakedalasker » Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:50 am

Forever Blue wrote:
Ralls has been a great player and not appreciated enough in my opinion.


Unfortunately for him he does that unappreciated job that most of us don't see.

He reminds me of Makele of Chelsea when Chelsea ruled the Premier under Mourinho. Obviously not as good as Makele but you get the gist. Makele was the first name picked for every game, had roaring reviews from the pundits and was Captain of a French side full of stars. Unless you know football you would not understand why. Hence why Ralls get taken for granted because most of us fans don't understand football.


Joe Ralls has been a super player for us doing, as you say, a job that isn't appreciated by many. It's a role that enables those around him to play, but with the current squad lacking in creativity that doesn't happen too often at the moment.
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Re: JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby MR BIRCHGROVE » Fri Oct 08, 2021 2:29 pm

I've always rated Joe Ralls and always glad to see him in the team line-up.
He is coming up to 28 years of age so still has a few more years in the tank.
The way things have gone this season, I believe we need new blood in mid-field along with other areas on the pitch, but I'd certainly keep Joe in the team.
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Re: JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby rumpo kid » Fri Oct 08, 2021 5:37 pm

For a CM, he plays 1 key pass in 20, but has a decent pass success rate. Just doesn’t do enough damage for me.. then again, we don’t have many that do at the moment.
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Re: JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby Scoularite » Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:00 pm

by rumpo kid » Fri Oct 08, 2021 5:37 pm

For a CM, he plays 1 key pass in 20, but has a decent pass success rate. Just doesn’t do enough damage for me.. then again, we don’t have many that do at the moment.


Midfielders have completely different roles and Joe Ralls is one who is there to generally make it difficult for the opposition, win the ball, and pass to a team-mate to create some damage. Sadly you are right that there isn't enough damage, but it's because even though he might do his job there's currently very little creativity alongside him.
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Re: JOE RALLS: BLUEBIRDS 'GOLD DUST' PLAYER

Postby bluebird04 » Sat Oct 09, 2021 2:31 pm

i've always said he is a jack of all, master of none. not good enough to be a number 10 not creative enough, and not good enough defensively to be a ball winning midfielder. but whilst we;ve lacked any real quality he has done well. but its hard to gauge because our midfield has been so bad
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