I’ll admit, when I saw the news come out, the first thing I did was take a deep breath and say ‘oh no, that’s awful’.
Having spent so long making the decision to sign him, arguably a bit too long in my mind, and slowly getting up to a speed where could play regularly, for his season to take this big a set back is quite frankly heartbreaking. Pep Clotet revealed today that midfielder Josh McEachran is set to be out for 6-9 months as he suffered an ACL injury during Tuesday night’s game against Coventry City.
Whilst he may not have played enough games to really make an impact on Birmingham City’s season, there was plenty of promise being shown during his brief spells in the team, completing an average of 82.4% of his passing, coming second in the team behind only Dan Crowley at 83.9% and averaging 31.3 passes per game which ranks him 8th in the team, which isn’t bad considering how limited his minutes have been.
The problem now for the Blues is trying to find a way to replace him in the team.
It might sound obvious, but it really needs to be a like for like replacement in the centre of midfield, and to do that we need to look at who else can control and keep the ball the way that he can.
If you look at the team’s figures on WhoScored.com the best options would be for Crowley to be pushed into his more natural position of central midfield and play alongside Ivan Sunjic as they rank 1st and 5th in terms of pass completion this season, even higher when you consider that Fran Villalba has now departed.
With Jeremie Bela out wide on one flank and Jude Bellingham on the other (it might sound unpopular, but it may be the only solution we have if we want to keep things as close to what they could have been) you then left with the front two of Scott Hogan and Lukas Jutkiewicz to fill out the rest of the line-up.
Will we miss McEachran in the grand scheme of things?
Let me know what you think. Is this the way you want us to start lining up in future, or should we go for a different approach?