Jack Byrne –the best of the January 2017 signings?

 

Warren Joyce must have been looking forward to the January transfer window. It presented him with the opportunity to bring in his own men. Joyce had been appointed in early November to take over a squad used to playing possession football under their previous manager. Joyce was determined to change that approach to a more direct style of play.

But by the time the window had opened he had won just one of the nine games he had been in charge. Getting the right players in during the January window was never going to be easy. Clubs are not keen to lose key players in mid-season and the pickings in January tend to be thin.

Joyce went on to contract six new players, plus another seven on loan. He had a fair amount to say about the new arrivals, but his words about Jack Byrne were kept to a minimum:

“Jack is one for the long-term, a really hungry player who we feel can develop here over the next few seasons, a real talent.”

It was almost as if he was playing down Byrne’s signing, although the player had been given a three and a half year contract and had excellent reviews as a young player at Manchester City. The sale of Byrne did not go down well with quite a few City fans, frustrated that another talented young player coming through the ranks had been sold off. The transfer fee was of the “undisclosed” category, but City were unlikely to let the player go for peanuts. They had sold another talented young player to Latics a couple of years earlier. Wigan paid them around £2.5 m for Emyr Huws, who was 20 at the time. City would expect something substantial for Byrne, also 20.

One wonders if Joyce himself was responsible for Byrne’s signing or whether it was someone else within the club. Patrick Vieira, Manchester City youth team coach, had said a year ago that: “If you want to play direct, Jack will be useless but if you want to keep the ball on the floor, and you need someone really creative, Jack will be the player who can do that.” Joyce’s preferred playing style was certainly “direct”.

Byrne did not set foot on the pitch for the senior team during Joyce’s reign which was prematurely terminated in mid-March. But he does seem to feature in Graham Barrow’s thinking, having come on off the bench in the recent wins over Rotherham and Barnsley.

Born in Dublin, Jack Byrne joined Manchester City as a 14 year old. Byrne has played for the Republic of Ireland at U17,U18 and U21 levels. In 2014-15 he was a key player in a  Manchester City team that reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Youth League, scoring 6 goals in 8 appearances, including two against Bayern Munich.

Last season Byrne was sent to Cambuur to play in the Dutch Eredivisie. He made his debut in mid-September against FC Twente after a 6 week layoff due to an ankle injury.

The Irish site SportsJoe spoke to the Chairman of  De Kern van Cambuur (the Cambuur Supporters Club), Kees Elzinga. Referring to Byrne he commented:

Jack reminds me of the Welsh player Gareth Bale but he could probably learn a lot from Wesley Sneijder is mostly playing midfield and is able to give long distance passes to his left and right wing teammates. He also tries to get forward and threaten the goal of the opponent and he tries to score with long distance shots. Jack is well known in our Premier League; Dutch television (mostly FOX Sport) shows quite a lot of his actions and other teams do their best to keep him out of the play.”

 

Byrne went on to play 27 games for the Dutch team, scoring four goals.

Following a successful season in Holland, Byrne was sent on a season-long loan to Blackburn Rovers  last summer. It turned out to be a bad move for him as Owen Coyle so often left him out of the lineup. Byrne’s loan was cut short and he returned to Manchester City in early January.

Wigan Athletic have been desperately short of creativity this season. Jordi Gomez was too often sidelined before leaving in January. Both Nick Powell and Alex Gilbey had long spells out through injury. Byrne appeared late in the 85th minute against Rotherham, but was brought on after 54 minutes against Barnsley. His Wigan Athletic career has now been kick started.

Of all the January signings Byrne was perhaps the least heralded. But given his talent he will surely play a key creative role for Latics over the coming season, if properly nurtured. He has the ability to become a top player. Only time will tell if he proves to be the best of the January 2017 signings.


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A Doncaster fan’s view of Reece Wabara

Reece Wabara. Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Reece Wabara.
Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Yesterday Wigan Athletic announced the signing of 24 year old Reece Wabara. He has signed a short term contract to the end of the current season. He was a free agent, his contract at Barnsley having expired at the end of December.

The 5 ft 11 12 in defender was born in Bromsgrove and played at Walsall’s School of Excellence until joining Manchester City as a 15 year old. He became captain of the City under 16 team and progressed to become a regular starter in their Elite Development Squad. Wabara made a first team debut for City in the last match of the 2010-11 season, coming on a substitute for Pablo Zabaleta against Bolton Wanderers. He left City by mutual consent in April 2014.

During his time with City Wabara had loan spells at Ipswich, Oldham, Blackpool and Doncaster. He was to return to Doncaster on a short term contract after leaving Manchester City. He made 43 appearances for Rovers in 2014-15, before moving on to another short term contract at Barnsley, where he made 19 appearances.

Wabara clearly looks an excellent signing for Gary Caldwell who has been anxious to strengthen the problematic right back/right wing back position.

In order to learn more about Wabara we contacted the Doncaster Rovers unofficial twitter fan site (@Donny_Rovers).

Here’s over to them:

Football is in Reece Wabara’s blood; his uncle is the former Rangers’ icon Mark Walters. Unlike his uncle, Reece is more of an attacking fullback rather than an attacking midfielder. However, this hasn’t stopped him from posing a similar attacking threat. Furthermore, he is a very versatile player that has been deployed as a right-back, centre-back and even right winger during his time at Rovers.

The first time I saw Wabara play was actually for Oldham Athletic against my Rovers and on that day he was fantastic; marauding down the right, utilising his pace and strength to power past our left back on the overlap. Back then he was a young and raw footballer but nowadays his performances are more measured. Since his Oldham performance I have witnessed him playing over 50 times for Rovers, once on loan and once as a permanent signing. Despite his final ball being much improved and racking up a few assists, he still doesn’t have enough final product to be a championship level player, scoring only 2 goals in his entire professional career.

Although, I must admit he is definitely a decent acquisition at this level as he retains possession well and is good on the ball. Where Reece falls down most is defensively; as a one on one defender he is quite poor and his positioning is often questionable. Luckily, his blistering pace is a useful tool to have in these scenarios and I, myself, have witnessed him recover well from many predicaments he’s left himself in.

In terms of attitude, he seems like a genuine bloke and a hard worker that wouldn’t upset or destabilise the dressing room; then again, he didn’t endear himself to any Rovers fans when he slated the club’s ambition (having left us) in an interview for our South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley. So don’t be surprised if he doesn’t sign a long term deal at the end of the season.

All in all, I wouldn’t mind seeing him back at Donny, if it weren’t for his comments, because he is definitely a good squad player to have in this division. The reason I say squad player and not first team player is because against the top teams I’d be tempted to put in a more defensively minded player. Plus, who’s to say he won’t develop into an even better player than he already is as after all, he is only 24.

Fan views – Part 1: Yanic Wildschut and Jordy Hiwula

Given that we now have a wider readership than in our earlier days we will occasionally republish articles from our archives, that some may not have seen. We ask our long-established readers will bear with us on this. We will continue to put out our stream of current articles.

Our site stats have shown that our readership has been particularly interested in perspectives of Latics players from fans of their previous clubs. Thanks to contributions made by bloggers on the fan sites of those clubs for these articles from our archives.

Yanic Wildschut – a Middlesbrough fan’s view

wildschut

Written by: Robert Nichols, Fly Me To The Moon fanzine fmttm.com.

Date: October 2, 2105.

 

 

Yanic Wildschut is the kind of player that draws the fans to games. He is fast, strong, powerful and direct. 

 When I say he is fast, let me qualify that by saying Yanic wears athletes compression socks under his football socks. He can give defenders ten yards start and tear past them. A good span of games at Wigan will help him sort out his weak spot, the finished product. Although get him running into the box and it doesn’t matter what he does with his final delivery he will cause mayhem and bag free kicks and penalties by the bucket load.

 If defenders can knock him off the ball. He is, as they used to say in Mark Lawrenson circles, a very big unit.

 Wildcshut has been desperately unlucky at Boro. He helped destroy Oldham away in the 1st round of the League cup. He scored a superb break away goal and was generally far too hot for the other Latics to handle. His promotion to first team action was only a matter of time and indeed we saw more of the same from him at home to Bristol City. Every time he got the ball and went on the run Bristol City were running scared. Yanic was subbed at half time in a tactical switch to allow Stewy Downing to go wide. It didn’t work but we have such a surplus of good wide players, wingers and overlapping full backs that no less than three are out on loan at present. 

 It was expected that Albert Adomah would be leaving but he settled his differences with the manager yet in the meantime we had brought in a talented Uruguayan called De Pena. Thus Carayol, Adam Reach and Wildschut have been allowed on loan. They need first team football rather than Development side starts.

 Wildschut’s debut was as sub at Anfield in the League Cup last season. He was thrown on as a centre forward. And he caused Liverpool threats running through the centre. He scored in League action in a win away at Rotherham. But needs more starts to get consistency.

I would be very excited right now if I was a Wigan fan. Wildschut will destroy defences with pace. He might need a few games to find a level of consistency to impact through 90 minutes. But he is worth the wait because he can split and sprint through a defence in a minute.

Watch him go. And watch Yanic grow.

 

 

Jordy’s arrival at Banks’s Stadium was greeted with something of a whimper, he’d had an nine game, almost goal-less loan spell with Yeovil Town which gave the impression of a player that wasn’t about to turn our campaign around.

However just three minutes into his debut Jordy proved all the doubters wrong as he slotted home, helping the Saddlers to a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.

Following several solid displays Jordy went on to have his initial one-month loan deal extended to the end of the campaign and finished with nine goals in twenty appearances, including netting twice against Crawley Town and Bristol City.

Jordy is a very capable player, with bags of pace and, given the right formation will surely be a good acquisition for the Latics.

Click here to get a Manchester City view on Hiwula via the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jordy Hiwula – a Walsall fan’s view

Hiwula

 

Wigan Athletic have announced the arrival of 20 year old striker Jordy Hiwula from Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan.

Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila is a Mancunian who came through the Manchester City youth system. In 2013-14 he scored 20 goals in 31 appearances for City’s development squad, leading to him signing a two year contract at the end of the season.

In October 2014 he joined Yeovil Town on a three month loan, but he returned to City at the end of November having scored one goal in nine appearances for the Somerset club. Hiwula was to comment “I enjoyed my first spell with Yeovil and even though I don’t think I did that well. I learned a lot because it was the first time I’d been away from home and also played senior football, all of which made the second spell that much better.”

In February 2015 Hiwula joined Walsall on a one month loan. He scored after just three minutes in his first appearance, a 2-0 win at Doncaster. Hiwula’s loan was extended for another month after he had scored a couple more goals. He scored again in a 1-0 win over Yeovil in early March, later to come on as a substitute for Tom Bradshaw in the Football League Trophy final, which saw Walsall defeated 2-0 by Bristol City. Hiwula’s loan had been extended until the end of the season. He had scored 9 goals in 17 starts and two appearances off the bench for the Saddlers.

In July 2015 Hiwula signed a three year contract for Huddersfield Town for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut for the Terriers as a 65th minute substitute in a League Cup game against Notts County.

Hiwula has represented England at both under 18 and under 19 levels.

In order to find out more about Hiwula’s time at Walsall we reached out to the BescotBanter.net fan site (@BescotBanter). Our thanks to them for the fan’s view that follows:

Jordy’s arrival at Banks’s Stadium was greeted with something of a whimper, he’d had an nine game, almost goal-less loan spell with Yeovil Town which gave the impression of a player that wasn’t about to turn our campaign around.

However just three minutes into his debut Jordy proved all the doubters wrong as he slotted home, helping the Saddlers to a 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.

Following several solid displays Jordy went on to have his initial one-month loan deal extended to the end of the campaign and finished with nine goals in twenty appearances, including netting twice against Crawley Town and Bristol City.

Jordy is a very capable player, with bags of pace and, given the right formation will surely be a good acquisition for the Latics.

 

 

Click here to get a Manchester City view on Hiwula via the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

 

A Manchester City fan’s view of Emyr Huws

huws-emyr-wigan_3198769
Monday was an uplifting day for Wigan Athletic supporters. The signings of Adam Forshaw and Andy Delort were confirmed and there was the surprise signing of William Kvist from Stuttgart. But the icing on the cake was surely the capture of Emyr Huws on a permanent contract.

Huws is only 20 years old, has a superb technique and is tenacious in the tackle. Born in the rugby hotbed of Llanelli he joined Swansea City as a teenager, moving to Manchester City in 2009. Huws was to become captain of the club’s under 21 side. He joined Northampton Town in October 2012 on a three month loan, with ten appearances, making a positive impression. He made his debut for City in January 2014 as a substitute in an FA Cup match at Blackburn. A couple of weeks later he joined Birmingham City on a one month loan. Being Birmingham’s player of the month in February, his loan was extended until the end of the season.He proved to be an excellent loan signing for the Blues and his spectacular goals against Burnley  and  Middlesbrough brought him public acclaim.

Huws could prove to be Rosler’s best ever signing. He has everything it takes to become a success, not only in the Championship, but in the Premier League. He has already made two appearances for Wales and will surely make many more in the future.

In order to get a Manchester City fan view on Huws’ transfer we reached out to BlueWolf (@BlueWolf1894) . He is a co-owner of mcfcforum.com and wrote for MCFC’s website throughout last season.

Let’s pass over to BlueWolf:

And so, once more, another Manchester City hopeful moves on to a different club; this time around it’s Emyr Huws to Wigan Athetic for around £3m.

 Five years he had been with us after moving from Swansea City at the age of 15 and much praise was heaped upon him, even Captaining the U21 side. But, in fairness, he had always been on the fringe of appearing for the 1st team squad with a number of loan moves in the last couple of years, which in all likelihood was hampering his progression with us.

 The thing is, us City fans are desperate for someone to permanently break through; we have this wonderful Academy set-up (with the brand new facilities opening up its doors in a few weeks), yet everyone who goes through it seems to end up playing for someone else. Sure it brings in some extra money but everyone loves a true homegrown player taking to the field brought up in the club’s own image. The last one of real note was Michael Johnson, and that didn’t exactly end well, did it?

 That’s not to say it won’t happen, because it will, we’re just getting a little impatient. Over to you Iheanacho, Lopes, Rekik, et al.

 So what are the Latics getting for their money? A good and solid holding midfielder, who has impressed everywhere he has been at; obviously Rosler saw enough to give him a 4 year contract. Of course at the age of 20, he still has a lot to learn, but he has a decent head on his shoulders, and as long as he keeps it there he should do wonders for you guys.

 The reported £3m or so has surprised a few Latics fans, not least because it’s about £3m more than they thought would be spent after splashing out on Kvist, Forshaw and Delort, but I suppose the £7m for McArthur helped out a little.

 Rosler said, “Emyr has impressed everyone since arriving at the club and we feel that he can have a major role to play in the future of the club. Everybody can see what a very talented player Emyr is, and from the first training session with us leading through to the games he has played, he has been very good.

 At just 20 years old he is already with the full Welsh national team and the chance to sign him on a long-term contract was too good an opportunity to turn down.”

 It’s just a pity, City didn’t think the same.

 

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