Kieran Dowell made his debut for Wigan Athletic yesterday at Leicester, starting in a wide left midfield role. Dowell can be a very important player for Latics in the second half of the season, a natural number 10, with the ability to make incisive passes and score goals.
In order to get more information on Dowell’s performances at his previous club, Derby County, we contacted Ollie Wright of the @derbycountyblog
This is what Ollie had to say:
I feel sorry for Dowell, because he was the victim of circumstances. Phillip Cocu only arrived at Derby very late on in the summer, after the whole ‘will-he-won’t-he-of-course-he-bloody-will-get-it-over-with’ nonsense over Frank Lampard and Chelsea. Cocu didn’t really have any time to assess his squad and what he needed to bring in before the start of the season.
Several loan signings were made quickly, the first of which was Dowell, just after Cocu had landed in Florida to take over pre-season training. I’m guessing that Cocu spoke to Marcel Brands – the Everton director of football, who had worked with him at PSV – and Brands recommended that Cocu take Dowell, who was reportedly weighing up offers from yourselves and Huddersfield at the time.
Dowell played the first few games of the season in an advanced midfield role, but after we were humiliated 3-0 at Brentford, Dowell paid a heavy price and lost his place in the team. After that, he only started two more games, defeats at Blackburn and Hull, and whispers started to circulate that his loan would be cancelled last month. He was left out of the 18 for the win against Barnsley this week and that was widely seen as confirmation that he would leave the club.
An element of the Derby fanbase wrote Dowell off very quickly and he will certainly not be missed However, in his defence, it was a tall order for any attacking midfielder to come in and try to replace the elite talents who left the club last summer – Mason Mount and Harry Wilson – and there have been plenty of poor performances since the Brentford defeat in which Dowell was not involved at all, so it’s not as if he could be scapegoated for our difficulties this season. He did not impress here, to put it kindly, but there’s definitely a talent in there, if somebody can unlock it.
From the limited time he spent on the pitch, my assessment would be that he is best used as a number ten, without being asked to take care of much (any) defensive duty. It’s obvious that Wigan are in need of creativity and, if played in a relatively free role, Dowell does have the potential to make things happen – he was the best Derby player for key passes per 90 minutes this season, with 1.9 – but he was unable to replicate the burst of brilliant goals he scored for Nottingham Forest and I wouldn’t expect him to win you many duels in the midfield hurly burly.
Given the difficult position Wigan find themselves in and the lack of goals in the Latics’ side, I think this is a loan move which is definitely worth a shot.
Wishing you all the best for the rest of the season. Good luck!