'He just makes the game look simple' - Culverhouse on his classy ex-Norwich City star
PUBLISHED: 21:05 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 21:05 23 November 2019
Form is temporary, class is permanent - and in Ryan Jarvis, King's Lynn Town have a player who is oozing it at the moment.
Jarvis is 33 and has been playing pro football for more than half of his lifetime, having made his debut as a 16-year-old pup with Norwich City and going on to play Premier League football.
There are footballers around the ridges who will see playing non league as some easy pocket money, but Jarvis doesn't shirk the workload or the responsibility, and that experience is something manager Ian Culverhouse treasures. He has to bring out the cotton wool at times and manage his midfielder's minutes, but as he says, "Lynn are a better team with Ryan Jarvis in it".
Jarvis has coaching responsibilities nowadays, and the hands-on education is paying off. Some of those around him will be of an age when they can learn.
Against Hereford, Jarvis was the cool head, as ever. Nothing is too hurried, there's no panic and he has the good pro's ability to always find a man with a pass, and then let the younger players do the harder running that is no longer his game - he was never the type to switch on the after-burners anyway, if truth be told. Jarvis' brain is playing his game nowadays, and Culverhouse - a similarly deep thinker about football - is enjoying his input, be it in midfield or, as in the latter stages against Hereford, in the middle of a back three.
"He just makes the game look simple," said the Linnets boss. "That is his class and his experience, and even when he dropped back into the back three he just shores everything up and organises people around him, but he was excellent on a really heavy pitch as well, which won't do him much good."
The combination of 90 minutes on that pitch and a replay trip on Tuesday night justified Culverhouse's decision to rest Michael Clunan and Chris Henderson, and Jarvis will be trusted to indicate his fitness levels for the game.
"We have to see how he is so we have two days now to try and recover from it, but he knows his own body," said Culverhouse. "He is experienced enough to tell us no, he is not right or yes, he is right and we just have to look after him to make sure, because we are a better team with him in the side."
The likes of Sonny Carey, Sam Kelly and Alfie Payne are probably ideally placed to learn from Jarvis - and help him into the bargain.
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"He is vastly experienced and these young boys can learn off that," added Culverhouse. "He doesn't complicate the game and he always seems to have time and that is the sign of a good player, when you have time on the ball. And they are his legs, where he is lacking probably in a bit of mobility you get good legs either side of him and that can restrict him and save him a little bit."
What Jarvis couldn't do was inspire a goal as the visitors - managed by Russell Slade who, coincidentally, was the player's boss during his Leyton Orient days - achieved what they clearly set out to do; to take Lynn back to their place if they couldn't sneak a win.
Hereford looked nervous in the opening stages, but were indebted to stopper Brandon Hall who, despite some good saves, never really had to face anything from Lynn's strike pair of Adam Marriott and Michael Gash.
"They tried to hold the line for us but we didn't get good enough quality to them and any time one of them got it in a little bit of space they were quickly surrounded with bodies," said Culverhouse. "We just have to be better with our link-up play to them. We were a bit too slow, especially first half; they fed off scraps mostly. I can't remember them having really good chances during the game."
It looks likely that Clunan and Henderson will feature at Edgar Street on Tuesday in the third round qualifying replay.
"It is going to be tough, we will have to rotate again," said Culverhouse. "We took a chance and left a couple out today and they will come back in now and some other people will have to drop out, but it is the front two we have got to look after because they are putting in a shift, week in week out so we just have to careful with those two."
Tom Ward remains cup tied, while fellow centre halves Ryan Fryatt (knee) and Chris Smith (elbow) are both injured.
King's Lynn Town: Street, Jones (Hawkins 79), Fox, Barrows, McAuley, Jarvis, Carey (Henderson 73), Richards, Gash, Marriott, Kelly (Payne 67). Subs not used: Clunan, Bastock
Hereford: Hall, Hodgkiss, Pope, Pollock, Cullinane-Liburd, Riley, Vincenti (Nicholson 90), Owen-Evans, Styche (Liburd 78), Mooney (Allen 69), O'Sullivan. Subs not used: Gowling, Bodenham, Ash, Burwood.