Player in focus: Josh McEachran
|Player in focus: Josh McEachran|
Josh joined Chelsea when he was 8 and since then has been a regular face for the reserves squad. The left sided central midfielder has found chances in first team hard to come by and so far has had to make do with a few substitute appearances and a couple of starts. Josh’s first appearance for Chelsea first team came against Zilina in the Champions League which was followed by a substitute appearance against Manchester City in the league. His full Chelsea league debut came in the final home match of the 2010/11 season, a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle.
Josh found chances hard to come by next season under new manager Andre Villas Boas who loaned the central midfielder to Swansea City. The loan move did not work out well for the young Englishman as he had to settle on the bench for most of the time and ended the loan spell with just 1 substitute appearance to his name.
Well to start with the prodigious Josh McEachran is a 19 year old wonder kid, yes I don’t usually use the word “wonderkid” often but this young boy deserves the tag. Chelsea have often been criticized by many on not working on their youth products especially English talents with John Terry the only notable name that has come out of the set up and achieved something big. Well that wait can finally come to an end and McEachran is surely worth the wait.
Josh’s midfield role has been hard to define mainly due to the fact that he has been played both as a deep lying play maker and right behind the striker in the hole. Reserves team boss Dermot Drummy preferred him in a more advancing role as a playmaker where he had the ability to orchestrate the play, make runs and linking up with both the midfield and the forwards. According to me the more suitable position for Josh will be the role of an advancing midfielder and he showed that when he helped Chelsea win the FA Youth Cup in 2010. On the other hand Carlo Ancelotti preferred Josh in a more deeper role just in front of the defenders. Although seeing Josh’s amazing passing ability and vision the deeper role still allows Josh to dictate play and tempo though somewhere down the line it diminishes his ability of linking up with the forwards something he is more comfortable at. Although he has been played in various positions this variation has shown an interesting characteristic about his career-Versatility. For a 19 year old to play a different position to what he is used to in front of 42,000 people in a game of the highest level shows nerve, guts and pure courage. And to play the position with such composure and grace highlights the boy’s potential.
One of the best attributes of Josh is his ability to keep the ball and not give it away. His England U-21 debut is a very good example of this attribute. His amazing ability to deliver pin point passes is something people twice his age crave. The vision he also possesses is first class, Josh has this excellent ability to spot runs and slide an inch perfect ball splitting the defense in half. Josh is extremely graceful on the ball, his quick feet have often helped him take on defenders and dummy past them, also helping him twist out of tight areas when up against a couple of defenders.
So what awaits Josh?
I believe Josh needs more game time and needs to step ahead of the reserves league and substitute benches. Getting game time at Chelsea looks quite tough seeing the likes of Romeu,Lampard,Meireles to name a few already occupying those places, so Di Matteo should look to loan him to a club where he can be assured of some valuable game time unlike last season.
Also with England’s “Golden Generation” about to come to an end Josh can do himself a well of good if he can get a good run of games under his belt and try pushing for a place in the 2016 EURO’s.