With the loan signing of Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal, it looks like Adam Collin’s Rotherham United career may be drawing to an end.
As much as I’ve tried (and hoped) to find one, there’s just no logical way that Collin starts again this season without Martinez making a mistake. Football League rules state that you’re only allowed 5 loanees in a matchday squad – a number that Rotherham had already exceeded, with 7 players currently in on loan for the Millers. Therefore, Martinez either has to start or not be included in the match-day squad (there’s no point in wasting a space on a substitute GK) – and there’s not a chance that Arsenal would have sanctioned a move that gave Martinez the same amount of playing time as he currently has at a club with worse facilities.
Collin’s been unfairly scapegoated for the previous few games, with many Rotherham fans looking to blame him for the losses that appear to be piling up. When he didn’t dive for either Jermaine Pennant free kick that led Wigan to a 2-1 win – two free kicks he had no chance of saving – Rotherham fans blamed him solely for the loss, even going so far as to tell him personally on twitter. The tweet in particular has since been deleted.
The truth is, Rotherham fans are blaming the wrong person. Apparently, he too was at fault in the loss against Nottingham Forest. Once again, poor defending and terrible concentration came back to haunt Rotherham, with Collin being the easiest scapegoat. The first goal was a beautiful chip from the edge of the area, which Collin could only palm into the net. Could his positioning have been better? Possibly, but he was trying to narrow the angle in expectation of Blackstock controlling the ball first. The real cause of the goal? A long ball that the Rotherham defence were too slow to deal with – the lack of pace in defence being a major concern all season. The second goal came just 90 seconds later, as Mikhail Antonio was allowed to run from inside his own half, skip past three terrible tackles before firing in a low, uncontested shot into the bottom corner.
Poor concentration. Poor defending. Not poor goalkeeping.
Rotherham fans seem to forget the amount of times that Collin’s made seemingly impossible saves to rescue the side, such as his remarkable triple save against Norwich. That’s what he brings to the side – a superb shot stopper. As Guardian writer Louise Taylor said in her article detailing the six most influential players in the Championship, she outlined that Collin is
“A wonderful shot-stopper and expert penalty saver, Collin’s penchant for punching and coming daringly off his line are more European than Championship but, generally, the Cumbrian knows precisely what he is doing.”
As strange as it sounds, I hope Martinez makes a non-costly mistake to give Collin his place back in the team, as we’d be far weaker without him around next season. He occasionally makes a mistake (as does almost any goalkeeper not named Manuel Neuer), but could anyone even attempt to claim that he doesn’t make up for them – usually in the same game?
Let us not forget, Rotherham wouldn’t be in the Championship if it wasn’t for his penalty heroics. They likely wouldn’t be above the relegation zone this season. And, if something doesn’t change, they’ll be looking for a new (almost certainly) worse number 1 next year – regardless of what division they end up in.