2017/18 Opinion – Midfielders Part One

I wrote a fair bit about Billy the other day, his recent admission has been a bit of a game changer in terms of analysis and understanding his performances. I do know that Billy’s personal problems run deep and I’m not sure we’re privy to everything that has happened to him both in the distant past or recent past. He’s a troubled boy whom I wish well because I understand how mental health issues can affect you.

In terms of performance I thought we struggled to find a place for Billy early doors. He scored against Rotherham, the again with a cracker against Carlisle to give him two in four. At that point it looked like we were getting the real deal, the insanely talented boy who impressed at Chelsea and Sunderland, the technically gifted player who could run the midfield at will. We didn’t.

Danny struggled to fit him into the 4-4-2, often playing him on the flank which wasn’t the right place for him. He could sit in the middle of a 4-2-3-1, and he would have suited a 4-3-3 too, but neither of those formations appeared to be favoured as the early games passed by. Billy impressed when he did get on, but then came September 23rd and Notts County away.

It wasn’t a red card, I’ll get stick from County fans bothered to read this, but we now know that card shattered his confidence and lead him back down the path of depression. He played 11 more times before a move to Rochdale, one start for them was the total sum of his football. His season ended in March against Fleetwood.

Where now for Billy? I can’t see Danny taking him for another season unfortunately, there’s a talented player in there but to reach his potential he needs to find a level of personal peace and I don’t think he will do that at Lincoln City. I heralded his arrival as a massive signing, a potential game-changer and someone with the gift of technical ability and sublime skills. I was right about the latter two points, but unfortunately we didn’t see it.

Jordan Maguire-Drew

Jordan Maguire-Drew angers me and maybe that’s a bit too harsh, but he does. His performances for Dagenham last season set the National League alight and I felt again, we’d made a great signing. He opened his account over in Portugal with a wonderful free kick and many eyebrows were raised when he started on the flanks instead of both Harry and Nathan.

Lets be honest shall we? He was terrible. One corner that landed on Sean Raggett’s head gave us a win against Swindon, a brace sent us through in the EFL Trophy but there was nothing else to mention here. His celebrations against Everton were clearly passionate but maybe also a bit petulant, as if he wanted to stick a middle finger up at the fans. He didn’t, he did score a superb free kick, but two games later he was gone.

What he lacked, in my opinion, was positional sense. He looked like the kid who could run fast and beat players, but has no idea of what else to do. He looked frightened to beat players, when he did he was so happy he went back and did it again without delivering balls and his tracking back was awful.

He was sent to Coventry, they loved him in the first game and then immediately saw through it. Three games later his season also ended. Two League Two sides, no impact and perhaps, just perhaps an indication of where his level is. Leyton Orient might do well to take him next season because in the National League, he’s quite a player.

Thanks to Graham Burrell for all of the pictures.