They have both received a lot of unfair criticism recently. They are full backs who have not made any mistakes in defence. Both have struggled to power up the wings and supply great crosses but then most full backs would. Unless you have consistently played wing back, you maybe don't appreciate how difficult and thankless it can be at times.
It's a position definitely more suited to the likes of Victor Moses at Chelsea who is playing it perfectly this season. An out and out winger who can leave the three centre backs to do the bulk of defending, tuck in when necessary but 90% of the time be looking to attack at pace. It's brutal expecting Gray and Stevenson to try and play this role well. So glad we've finally addressed this.
I have been critical of Stevenson for a while, but I take my hat off to him. He was superb. Surely Lennon has finally acknowledged that Stevenson is no wingback and is much, much better when focused purely on being a left back. The new formation with two proper wingers was an absolute joy to behold and to watch. Even Gray had a brilliant game - knowing he had only to focus on his right back role.
A turning point in our season methinks!
I liked the formation but don't agree that Lennon has suddenly had this revelation. If you've been seeing it for months then I'm willing to bet that he's been seeing it for a little bit longer. The change is down to the tools at his disposal and his confidence in them to perform. Maybe he seen Boyle as a wide man but didn't see his mirror image on the other side up until now.
I'm also reluctant to cast Lewis and Gray as full backs as they've done ok as players providing width in the past. "Width and pace" seems to be the PlayStation managers solution to every problem and while it's something we've needed on occasion, it isn't the be all and end all. We need to be flexible, especially when we're back up in the top flight as we'll be playing some quality as well as some dross. Against the top teams we might have to play 3-5-2 or something similar because there is always the danger that they could play right through us.
It's encouraging that we've shown another side to our game but it's very much horses tor courses.