Author Topic: development - expectations  (Read 660 times)

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development - expectations
« on: October 15, 2020, 09:43:34 AM »
I fairly regularly read comments on here about we need to "bring in a strong / experienced center half or we need an upgrade on Jake / Sawyers isnt going to cut it in the premier league, etc, etc....)

I'm not questioning the validity of these opinions because they are just that, opinions. However, they do make me think about how well some of our "junior" players are doing on minimal experience.
Dara O'Shea - thrust into a championship side and frankly a revelation to me, now being asked to step up into 'the best league in the world - cough" and acclimatising reasonably.
Semi Ajayi, lets not forget where he was when we picked him up what 18 months ago? Again being asked to play against seasoned internationals every week and while not setting the world alight, not looking completely out of his depth.
Kyle Edwardes, a product of the academy who has worked his way up to the periphery of a premier league squad, has shown he has the ability but needs to produce regularly
Rekeem Harper another academy product who has developed into a reasonable championship player looking for the opportunity to move onto premier league standard at 20 years old
Sam Field another ex academy player, in the will he make it at prem level ?/ won't he? category, I think he has been really unlucky with injuries at crucial times, he has forced his way into the reckoning under Pardew / Pulis / Moore and now Bilic, his role is not glamorous but he could well establish himself this season in my view
Nathan ferguson decided to move on but another academy prospect who attracted prem opportunities

While I accept that I am looking at these lads with blue and white glasses firmly on, it is undeniable that we are developing a crop of young players who may make it at the highest level and we the fans should enjoy this and recognise it for what it is, exciting!  Add to this the talents of Periera / Diangana / Robinson / Krovinovic and hopefully Grant, the future is looking decidely better than it has for a long time. 

yes, I have my positive head on today !!

Lovin the championship, just lovin it !


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Re: development - expectations
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 01:03:56 PM »
Whilst I don't agree with the assessments of some of the individuals (Edwards and Harper to name them) I totally agree that there are positives. And when you read the list of players at the end of your post it highlights perfectly, for me at least, the difference between our current manager and those who preceded him. He certainly makes mistakes but wants to play the game the way it should be played, with attacking intent.


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Re: development - expectations
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 01:13:42 PM »
I think O'Shea will become another Craig Dawson - unspectacular but will establish himself in the lower end of the Prem. Ajayi will be OK too. The rest nowhere near good enough IMO. Ferguson has a lot of potential but will have to see how the injury has affected him.

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Re: development - expectations
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 01:46:00 PM »
Impossible to judge O'Shea or Ajayi fairly in my opinion. Not while we are completely incapable of looking like we have any clue defensively under Bilic.

If I put that aside, then it cannot be claimed O'Shea and Ajayi are doing 'ok' which seems to be what you are suggesting, not while we are conceding at the rate we are.  That cannot be solely at Johnstone and Bartley's door.

I think you are being kind to Edwards and Harper too. Both have attributes ill give you that, but neither have proven to be competent championship footballers yet. Harpers got a total of 26 appearances at that level. I dont know how many minutes that translates too, but it wont be that many and his gone missing for a fair few of those. 

I think Harper could get a lot better but I don't see it with Edwards, I think he's too sloppy (for lack of a better word)  to ever be a premier league winger. He might be able to be a flat track bully at championship level, but he isn't not quite their yet either. 

I think a 22 year old Matt Phillips was three times the player Edwards is and he's struggled in the topflight.

Sam Field I have touched on in another threat in the past, I think he has all the ability but not the mentality. That isn't to say he lacks effort, I dont think that is the case and I am sure he wants it as much as anyone. I think he just lacks belief and probably a bit of aggression to be a top level player or even control championship games. I don't think you can teach him that either. He has as much raw and technical talent as a Kalvin Philips in my opinion.

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Re: development - expectations
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 09:20:41 PM »
Yes , I can see field getting some game time this season, unlike Harper and Edwards, who as I've already said should be out on loan.
Neither have had a real run of games for us to really rate them fairly.


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Re: development - expectations
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 12:13:50 AM »
Yes , I can see field getting some game time this season, unlike Harper and Edwards, who as I've already said should be out on loan.
Neither have had a real run of games for us to really rate them fairly.

I have said this in other threads Edwards needs a loan even if just until January. Especially if both grosicki and Phillips stay with albion

Harper behind Livermore sawyers krovonovic field Gallagher (not necessarily in that order) another who could benefit from a loan even if short term and redressed in January
O Albion we love you


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Re: development - expectations
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2020, 08:14:45 AM »
I wouldn't include Ajayi in this at his age we are looking at the finished article and he steps up this season and whatever he achieves we can assume that is his level. Yes in better set ups you could argue that he or anybody else could look better. It is not always easy to distinguish a player struggling manfully out of position or asked to do a role they are ill equipped to perform against one who is in the right slot but not really up to it, but at some point what you see is was what you get.

With the younger players the playing experience they are getting will help with their development they might not look particularly comfortable at this level but they are learning and they will improve. On that basis O'Shea is the one we should be optimistic about the rest less so.

Edwards and Field are both at the point in their careers where it is first team football or bust. I beleive that Edwards might have edged ahead of Phillips and Grosicki in the pecking order that should at least give him some opportunities. Field still looks like he is bottom of the midfield pile and while I think he might be a better option than some I am far from sure Bilic sees it that way. A loan might have been helpful but now that just feels like it is fudging a decision which needs to be made about his future at the club.

Harper being a little younger is not at the make or break point, being in the squad with some game time will be useful he really needs to learn the 8 role. A loan might have been more useful this season. 

That said take both Field and Harper out of the squad and it starts to look a little thin but unfortunately they are the bottom layer of the depth.

Nathan Ferguson along with Tyler Roberts might be added to the list of ones that got away but in both cases I think we can reserve judgement at least to the end of the season. They might be yet added to the list of I wonder whatever happened to? Current members of that club include Jerome Sinclair (CSKA Sofia) Yan Dhanda (Swansea City) and Izzy Brown (Sheffield Wednesday). Brown is at least an established Championship player albeit one that seems on permanent loan from Chelsea whereas both the others careers seem to have stalled.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 08:16:47 AM by Standaman »
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