Both Jean Beausejour and Roger Espinoza have had a busy week, but neither would complain if Owen Coyle put them in the lineup against Brighton on Saturday.
What are the chances?
Beausejour played for the first 81 minutes for Chile at Wembley on Friday, then came on as a substitute after only 8 minutes against Brazil in Toronto on Tuesday, completing the remainder of the match.
Beausejour was a key component of Chile’s fine 2-0 win over England. His expert close control in tight situations, together with his patient approach, helped Chile build dangerous moves down the right hand side of England’s defence.
He came early in Toronto because of an injury to midfield dynamo Marcelo Diaz. Brazil went 1-0 up after 10 minutes but Chile got one back when Eduardo Vargas scored a spectacular goal from his headed pass after 71 minutes
Chile had been far from overwhelmed against Brazil, but eventually went down 2-1 to an 80th minute goal from Robinho.
Chile are certainly seeking the right kind of opposition in preparation for the trip to Brazil in June.
Espinoza played for the first 64 minutes against Brazil in Miami, in front of a crowd of 71,000. When he went off Honduras were losing 2-0. They let in another three without him. Check out this video clip to see how impressive Espinoza looked in that match. Bleacher Report rated him Honduras’ best performer.
Espinoza came on after 46 minutes in the 2-2 draw with Ecuador in Houston on Tuesday. Honduras were trailing 1-0 at half time, but got to 2-1 ahead until Ecuador equalized in the 89th minute. Both teams had been down to 10 men, Wilson Palacios having been sent off after 84 minutes.
Honduras used a total of 12 substitutes in those two matches, in an attempt to give a wide range of players an opportunity to show what they could do against quality opposition. That Espinoza played 109 minutes in the two games is therefore not a reflection upon his performance.
Brazil are going to be the team to beat in June and Honduras needed to play strong opposition outside their usual opponents in CONCACAF. Ecuador are no push-overs either, having finished fourth in the highly competitive South American qualifying competition.
Despite playing well against world class opposition for their countries neither Beausejour nor Espinoza is likely to make the starting lineup against Brighton.
Beausejour missed recent Latics matches through a foot injury, but currently has to compete with James McClean and Callum McManaman for a place on the left flank.
Despite a Man of the Match performance in Kazan, Espinoza was not retained in the starting lineup at Yeovil. In fact he was brought off the bench with five minutes to go. Coyle is blessed with a strong squad of holding midfield players and has rotated them well, with the exception of Espinoza who he has repeatedly snubbed.
In the Brazil match Espinoza played wide in left midfield, not his best position, but he nevertheless looked very involved, winning the ball and putting in some excellent passes.
Coyle has lined up with both Jordi Gomez and James McArthur in wide midfield positions, with little success. He brought Espinoza off the bench in the Charlton match to play wide on the left and the Honduran did not do badly.
Juan Carlos Garcia was also in the Honduras squad for both matches and came on as a substitute after 81 minutes against Brazil. Coyle still has not started him at left back, although he did play in left midfield in the League Cup loss to Manchester City. It would be a big surprise if he started on Saturday.
There is good news for Latics in that the excellent Ivan Ramis is ready to compete for a place, after 10 months out through injury. It will interesting to see if Coyle is willing to put Ramis in the rotation with Leon Barnett, Thomas Rogne and Ryan Shotton for the centre back positions.
At the time of his injury at Fulham in January, Ramis was looking a quality Premier League defender – a good reader of the game with a strong tackle. Ramis will have to adjust to the high ball game played by so many teams in the Championship, but at 6’2” he is quite capable in the air.
Passing the ball out of defence is something Ramis is good at and the other centre backs in the squad should take note. Too often they have taken the easy option of the long ball or the pass back to the goalkeeper, the end result more often than not being Latics losing possession.
It looks like Will Keane will be shortly be signed on loan. Although Keane’s signing would look like a positive move we will have to wait and see if Dave Whelan is going to allow Coyle to make a big money purchase of an experienced striker with a proven record of success.
With a busy month coming up it is going to be interesting to see how Coyle rotates his squad.