A List of Israel’s Top Central Defenders
Israel’s National Team has had many woes in recent years due to poor defending. Israel Manager Eli Guttman will be looking for some new defender’s to step up after letting in three goals against the Ukraine in their most recent friendly. However, it’s unlikely that a defender of any quality is likely to step up soon. Israel’s main problem with their defenders is that they are slow and have poor positioning. Unless a miracle happens, Israel could really struggle against the Czech Republic in their next friendly.
6. Dekel Keinan
Bristol City(On Loan From Cardiff)
Once a first team choice, Keinan has regressed since moving abroad to England. Arguably his inability to find a team that will give him playing time, has really hurt his form. Keinan has always been slow, but now he is even slower with age, and is definitely a liability in the center of defense. A return to Israel or playing in a less challenging league could help him challenge for a spot in the National Team Again.
5. Dean Mori
Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv
Probably the most underrated Israeli center-half, Dean Mori has quietly help Bnei Yehuda allow only 27 goals all season. Mori is tall and rangy, and is good player for the Israeli league. However, typical of the Israeli league, he has been ignored mainly because he plays for a smaller club. Mori may have to move to a bigger club in Israel to attract more attention, if he wants to play for the national team.
4. Shir Tzedek
Tzedek is a young player at 22, but like his fellow Israeli center halves, he lacks elite speed, which could hamper him if he wishes to move abroad . He made a brief cameo against the Ukraine, and is probably in Eli Guttman’s plans for Israel’s friendlies against the Czech Republic and Germany. From what I have seen from Tzedek he is an average player who has good positioning but can be exposed. I haven’t seen enough of him to make a complete judgement.
3. Eitan Tibi
A versatile player, Tibi can play at left-back and center-half. Tibi does have decent speed and was called up to the National Team, but had to pull out due to injury. The reason I rated Tibi this highly is because he does have good speed, and did play abroad for Charleroi in Belgium as a left-back. I hope he gets a chance with the National Team, because Israel really needs to discover a good center half.
2. Rami Gershon
Gershon has been inconsistent at the center half position, he is possibly Israel’s fastest player at the position, and has been rotated in at center-back at Standard Liege, but he had a poor game against the Ukraine. Gershon can also play at left back. If Gershon improves his positioning he can become Israel’s best player at center-back and possibly move to a better league than Belgium. Gershon is relatively young for a central defender so there is still time for him to improve.
1. Tal Ben-Haim
Israel’s most tenured current defender, Ben-Haim has been a stalwart for the National Team, and has put in good performances. It will be curious to see where he will go after Portsmouth, as they are anxious to offload him due to his high wages. Ben-Haim can play at left-back and center-back, but like Dekel Keinan he has regressed during his club career, from being at Chelsea, and now in the English second division. Ben-Haim still makes mistakes though, he was partially responsible for the three goals against the Ukraine. He is the best of a bad lot.