Why did all four talented players spend a stint in the Championship? Premier League clubs send their talented young players out on loan to work on their craft at a level more suitable for their ability at a point in their career where they are not ready for Premier League football.
Do not let this fool you. The Championship is a league of high quality and extreme physicality that oftentimes young players will struggle to cope with. It would take an extremely high-quality talent to come to the league and instantly take to it. In this series, I will be analysing and highlighting the high-quality young players who have managed to find their feet and kick on in the Championship.
Liam Delap (20)- Manchester City/ Hull City
We start with a name readers may be familiar with. Liam Delap is the son of ex-Premier League footballer Rory Delap and a product of Manchester City, having made two appearances in the Premier League already, with Pep Guardiola speaking extremely highly of him, labelling him an “important player for the future.” However, you may not be aware that the Manchester striker has been applying his trade in the Championship all season long for Hull City, starring in nearly every game this season for the Hull-based club as a center-forward, bolstering an impressive goal tally for a team lacking a creative outlet with him scoring seven goals over the entire season, one less than experienced Premier League and International striker Aaron Connolly.
Hull City simultaneously holds one of the worst records for the least number of chances created (14th in the League), and also for the most chances missed (14th), with the Hull-based outfit sitting fourteenth in both tables. Meanwhile, Delap outperforms his expected goals by (1.4) with the Winchester-born striker also sitting in the top 10% for chances created within the Hull City squad (25), making him Hull’s most prolific goalscorer and their primary creator.
Delap’s possession stats also rank highest within the Hull squad, with the Manchester Striker completing 46 dribbles from deep areas. Delap has also drawn 46 fouls throughout the season, more than any other Hull City player.
Based on these statistics, we can concur that Delap is performing well above his potential. The 20-year-old Mancunian is one of the top performers on a potentially playoff-bound team. However, there will be questions about whether Delap can cope with the jump up to the Premier League in future seasons. To answer that, I’d like to look at Delap’s performances against the Championship’s top-performing clubs.
Liam Delap vs Southampton– Positioning And Intelligence.
Earlier on, it was mentioned that one of Delap’s greatest attributes was his positional awareness. This moment occurs during Hull City’s 2-1 loss to Southampton; at this point, the Tigers are 1-0 down. Delap’s positioning in this scenario is simply outstanding for a player his age. The Mancunian has managed to draw himself some space completely unmarked because the Southampton Center-Backs are occupied guarding the front post and Hull’s number 28. Meanwhile, Delap has spotted the fact that former Premier League and Tottenham Hotspur Right-Back Kyle Walker-Peters is occupying the back post rather than picking up his man, which leaves Delap with time to pull away from the defender, gather the ball, control it, and rifle it into the net for the equaliser.
Delap also possesses an ability all senior center-forwards must share. Making intelligent runs is simply a requirement in today’s game due to the improved ability of defenders. The Mancunian was causing all sorts of problems for Southampton in what ultimately ended in a late 2-1 loss. Delap here spots the fact he has caught the Southampton defender surefooted and alters his run to the inside to break away from the defender while subsequently calling for the pass he should be receiving.
Liam Delap vs Leicester City- Dribbling and Intellect.
6 Frames may seem confusing at first when looking at Delap’s sole goal in Hull City’s 1-0 victory over the Championship leaders Leicester City however each frame displays a different arrow in the quiver of The City striker. Delap catches the Leicester City defender short-footed, similar to Southampton, forcing the defender to bite in on him, with the Hull forward proceeding to intelligently move the ball away from him (Frame 4) the defender now beaten, Delap has a moment to scan the situation in front of him by slowing down the play maturely, with this extra second Delap spots two things, Number one being the fact Hull teammate Connolly has drawn the Leicester defender away from goal, and number two being Hermasen has left an unmarked gap at the back post, all that it would take from here is a delicate shot into the bottom corner to beat the keeper, which the City forward proceeds o do.
6 Frames. 6 Frames is all it took for Delap to display all the top qualities of a world-class center forward. 6 Frames coincidentally is all it took to separate these two sides with Hull picking up a massive win over the runaway league leaders.
“It’s scary, his potential and ability, and hopefully, I get the chance to work with him a lot longer than the next few months.”Hull City Manager, Liam Rosenior.
It is clear that the Manchester City forward possesses all the ability needed to cope at the highest level with The Hull Forward being the leading man in The Tiger’s charge for the playoff spots, Hull City making the playoffs would be key for Delap, allowing the Mancunian to apply his craft at the highest level of football the EFL has to offer to test whether he is ready for the demands of the Premier League. Hull City may yet fail to make a move for that final playoff spot, in which case I believe Delap should take another season in the championship to work out the flaws of his game which are prominent. Rosenior’s quote rings true, his potential and ability is indeed scary. And he is only one of many brilliant talents who have been playing at this level that I will be highlighting for this series. Make sure to Comment below any talents you would want us here at Attacking Football to highlight, If you enjoyed this also make sure to check out these similar posts: