Constantly looking over your shoulder.
That’s the atmosphere that Blues boss Aitor Karanka appears to be instilling when it comes to team selection at St Andrew’s. At least that’s what I’ve taken away from Harlee Dean’s words in a recent interview.
Having instilled his well-known defensive philosophy into the club, everyone is on their toes to try and make sure that things stay that way. And for a defender like Dean, whose job revolves around keeping the ball out of the net, it’s a style that is clearly working very well for him, as he feels he’s playing some of his best football.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, the club captain revealed how much he is enjoying the new regime, whilst also touching on the effect it’s having on those beneath him in the pecking order:
“I feel galvanised, I feel refreshed, I feel confident personally, which again is night and day from last year. But you know you’ve got someone behind that wants your position and you know everyday in training you’ve got to be putting it on otherwise you will be out.”
Is Harlee Dean our most important player?
It’s good to see that kind of attitude has crept into the club, where the standards are getting raised so much that someone like Dean is starting to fear a little bit for his place if he slips up.
And with someone like Marc Roberts waiting in the wings, who was a pretty regular player last season, if the players in reserve can take the job and play as well as the starters, then that shows the impact that someone like Karanka is having on the team.
And that can only be a good thing as we look to take a step forward this season under new management.
What about you? What do you make of Dean’s comments about competition within the squad?