In recent times, only George Florescu was better ranked in the list of unpopular figures in the mediocre national team that failed to qualify for a final tournament since 1998. What few people know is that these two had a similar start of their professional career, Florescu and Cocis leaving Universitatea Cluj, when they were 17, in a controversial double transfer to Sheriff Tiraspol, and playing afterwards in Ukraine and Russia.
If Florescu, who was a regular starter under Razvan Lucescu, failed to convince the current coach, Victor Piturca, during the friendly against Austria, played last June, Cocis returns to the team even if he was left out for the double against Estonia and Andorra, for the relief of the entire country. He featured last time in August, against Slovenia, but now he will not only get back in the fold, but seems to have strong credentials for earning a spot in the starting eleven. Once again, negative comments surfaced, but they’re unlikely to make Piturca change his mind. Quite on the contrary, considering the man’s stubbornness.
The public’s opinion, fueled by several coaches who analyzed the 29 years old’s game, is that Cocis is the sort of midfielder who can play everywhere, but won’t impress anywhere. ‘Tactical discipline and a good engine have made him invaluable in recent times though, when whoever coached Romania thought first to block the opposition’s game rather than try to create play. He has collected 43 caps and the fact that he scored only 2 goals only proves that he usually adds a defensive intent to the attacking positions he covers.
He’s expected to do the same in Istanbul, on Friday, when Piturca thinks to deploy him behind the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1, but mainly to frustrate the Turkish build-up rather than support either Marica or Stancu, with the latter favored to start ahead of the Schalke backup striker, considering the excellent start of season he’s enjoying at Orduspor.
Romania will be playing hoping for a draw and the general feeling is that players like Cocis will never allow us to hope for more. The paradox is that we’ve always had gifted players and lacked the disciplined, hard-working ones, and my impression is that we might be wrong pointing the finger at Cocis, who is – in the end – admirable in his determination to please the coaches who trust him. Our real problem isn’t his presence in the team, but the absence of a quality number 10 and the coaches’ inability to adjust their tactical setup to the type of players they could and can count on. If things go bad in Istanbul, Cocis will be the perfect scapegoat once again and his former mate, Florescu, can start warming-up…
According to prosport.ro, Romanian international Razvan Cocis (26) will move to Portsmouth as a free player, after three seasons spent at Lokomotiv Moscow. Cocis is an attacking midfielder and was a regular starter for the National Team undet Victor Piturca. Lately, though, he had fell out of favor in Russia and struggled to catch the eye of new coach, Razvan Lucescu. He has 32 caps and 2 goals for Romania and, interesting fact, he spent three seasons at each club he has played for until now: Universitatea Cluj, Sheriff Tiraspol and Lokomotiv. Another interesting fact: he hasn’t played in the Romanian first division and also refused a return home this winter, in spite of several offers from all the big clubs.
Cocis is the type of hard-working midfielder, attacking minded, and can cover almost any position, showing nice versatility, tactical discipline, good work ethic and decent technique. My problem with him: I cannot put my finger on his precise role, the place on the pitch from where he could be most effective. Right footed, lacks the vision and the passing precision for a place in the middle of the park, but his stamina and workrate would definitely make him a valuable box-to-box midfielder. I’d see him as a central-right midfielder in a midfield of five, because he’s not gifted enough to play as central attacking midfielder or as a winger.
Anyway, probably manager Avram Grant saw something in him and has a scenario for this player already. The good news is that, after five years, another Romanian player makes it into the Premier League and, this time, I am sure that he will only prove that you can also find in Romania players that are serious, disciplined, who can adjust to the league and won’t cause off the pitch problems.
Update: The player will get 700.000 EUR per year, for the next three seasons, but has a release-for-free clause in his contract, in case Pompey won’t avoid relegation.