This is always a difficult subject to write about, in part because you never know what the future might bring, and with Brendan Rodgers at the helm its even harder to know you’re on the right lines because his development record is so good.
Yet sometimes I do find myself wondering about whether a player is fulfilling his potential.
We do need to have a discussion, I think, about Oh and whether or not we’re getting the best return out of our second striker, and that’s no minor matter considering the recurring fear we all have that Kyogo’s injury issues are going to hit us at the wrong time. We know that injury needs an operation, so that’s not an unreasonable fear to have.
It is tough to talk about this without relating it to a wider issue, which is the signing record since the hiring of Mark Lawwell. Since he came in we have signed one player who has cemented his position as a first-team regular and that’s Alastair Johnston. Luis Palma will almost certainly do the same and I have high hopes for some of our others.
But, taken as a whole that record is not terribly impressive and Oh is one of the players he signed, and he was signed to replace a guy whose value to the team was already known and established and who we cannot say that we have adequately replaced with our Korean import. It’s one of the areas in the squad where we are obviously weaker than we were.
I like Oh. I think he’s definitely a good player, and in the right team, and in the right system, and with regular football he could really be a star. But is this the right team, with the right system, and is he going to get regular enough football to shine?
Giakoumakis was capable of not playing for half a game, coming into a match and scoring a winner.
He could be out of the first eleven for weeks, and you knew when he came back it wouldn’t be long before he was banging them in the net. He had a record which gave you confidence that he would do that. I’m afraid that Oh doesn’t have that record.
And lately, he doesn’t inspire anywhere near that confidence either.
So what’s gone wrong here?
Some are going to say that nothing has, that Oh was never particularly convincing as a front man, and loath as I am to endorse that view there hasn’t been a moment when you’ve watched him and really thought to yourself that he had that Giakoumakis eye for goal.
There were games where he performed really well and I like that he gives us a physical presence where Kyogo can’t, and I can see times when that is useful.
But he’s a striker, and a striker needs to have that end product, that ability to create openings for himself and bury chances. Has he been here long enough to write him off? Absolutely not, but if he’s going to do it for us he’s going to have to do it soon.
Because right now, we’re probably going into January having to buy a striker, and I would have said, had we done that in the summer, that the striker in question would have been a good backup to Kyogo and Oh and I wouldn’t have been crying out for the finished article.
The manager, however, will know that the finished article is exactly what we do need.
If he gets his way – and his views have to be taken seriously from here on in – that’s a problem for Oh.
He could very quickly find himself surplus to requirements in a scenario like that. He could very easily find himself not even making the bench some weeks, and from that point he’s going to go backwards instead of coming onto a game.
I don’t know what Rodgers thinks of him; the boss hasn’t said too much about Oh, mostly because nobody has really put the question to him. And because there are a lot of goals in the team at the moment, and so many players who can play through the middle if the need arises I understand why.
But genuine strikers … we really only have one at the club, and I write that as a Maeda super-fan. I can’t imagine not playing him wide; he changes the whole way other sides play against us, and that alone justifies having him on the wing more weeks than not.
No player at the club is more in need of giving us a big, big performance than Oh is… and most of all, no player at the club is in greater need of grabbing us a goal.