You have to love Dorus De Vries right now. He sounds genuinely excited for the Zenit match, and who can blame him? He’s spent so long sitting on the sidelines at Parkhead that many of us has forgotten what he looked like. He was one of Brendan’s earliest signings.
He was also one of his strangest.
I thought when it was announced that we were bringing him to the club that he was coming in to replace Craig Gordon, who the manager had looked at and concluded didn’t have it. But then Dorus played a couple of games and vanished, and all of a sudden Gordon looked more settled.
It quickly dawned on me that this might be a psychological ploy from the manager, to refocus Craig on the idea that he couldn’t simply walk into the team.
And that benefited him greatly. He knew he had a good understudy, someone who was as experienced as he was, someone capable if he proved not up to it.
There have been times when I have lamented Gordon’s dafter moments, but even I have to admit that the rushing out of his goal stuff and other such dramas have largely been cut out.
And that’s a tribute to the role De Vries has played behind the scenes. He is no longer behind the scenes. Here, he’s stepping into the job for real. He’s taking up the slack with Craig out injured. Young Scott Bain is now the understudy, a kid who has a big future in front of him and who I would hope we at least make an offer before the summer.
Dorus’ enthusiasm is hard not to like. Like any player who’s been waiting in the wings, he knows this is his moment to shine. If he does then he gives the manager another pleasant headache in addition to that which he has about his striking options. De Vries is a good keeper; at Forest he was as highly rated as any player in the squad. Their fans weren’t happy to see him go.
An extended run of games is virtually certain unless he commits a howler or two that makes pushing young Bain into the squad seem like a no-brainer. I don’t see that happening; he’s been around the block too many times to do something that blows it all now.
Dorus De Vries is entitled to feel chuffed.
He’s entitled to that because he didn’t exercise his entitlement to do a lot of moaning when he wasn’t in the team. He probably believed he’d been signed as a first team player, a guy who would get a solid block of matches and there must have been understandable frustration when it didn’t come to pass.
Yet he didn’t run to the press and moan. He didn’t rock the boat. Instead, he kept his counsel, he bided his time and he waited for his chance.
It has arrived. It’s time for him to show us what he can do.
From the sounds of it, he can’t wait.
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