I always say this every year; Danny will pull something out of the bag. This afternnon, with just over 24 hours to go until our first game, he’s at it again.
Let’s be honest, there are few players who left an impression on League Two quite as significant as Tyler Walker last season. He was, for a short while, the player we Imps fans loved to hate; we heard he might have been close to a deal last year but instead ended up at Mansfield. We signed Big John, we won the division and now both players will be wearing red and white this season.
It’s a coup, that’s for sure. Coventry City fans are gutted they haven’t bagged him and I imagine a host of other teams in our division weren’t quite as open about their intentions, but are still feeling a bit damaged today. Tranmere for instance; they’ve signed Morgan Ferrier and Stefan Payne to replace James Norwood but would surely have preferred a livewire like Walker.
What will he bring to the squad? He’ll be a different option to Big John, that’s for sure. Perhaps he’s more clinical than our leading scorer last season, but he’s not quite as physical. He sits more in line with the signings we’ve made this summer, the elegant footballers who like balls into feet and create lots of chances.
He sits more in line with the signings we’ve made this summer, the elegant footballers who like balls into feet
It proves to me we used the strengths and brute force to earn our title win last season, but Danny knew to be a success in this division he needed different attributes. Arguably we had one player of this ilk last season; Bruno Andrade. Now, in all positions across the front, we have five (Grant Morrell, Payne, Walker and of course, Bruno).
One could imagine Walker playing as the number nine at the head of our current formation, especially in matches we need to create a victory rather than fight for one. He’ll swap with John but could also play as part of a two, an interesting prospect. Personally, I can’t see that happening as much; John was the runner in a two-man attack for Barnet and Walker would be the runner here. No, I can see them swapping around with Jack Payne behind them.
What I really like are Danny’s words, as reported by the Echo; “We have thank to firstly our board, who have allowed it to happen,” he said.
“We have to thank Clive [Nates, chairman]. We find a way on the pitch and he always seems to find a way off the pitch. Maybe that’s why we’re well-aligned.
“We also have to thank Nottingham Forest, who have really worked with us. Hopefully, they see the culture and environment we create for young players and believe this is the right pathway for Tyler, because we know they think a lot of him.
“For them, it is more about Tyler and his development than finances. I think they could have got more money for him through loan fees or a bigger contribution to his wages, but they believe this is going to be the best place for him.
“Hopefully, in our environment and culture, he will improve and go back there a better player and a bigger asset to Nottingham Forest.”
That suggests we are building a rapport with bigger clubs. we’ll need that if we’re to keep on climbing. Look at Doncaster last season, a side I’ve referenced in my season preview today. They thrived with the help of Liverpool (Herbie Kane) and Leeds United (Mallik Wilks) last season. we need this trust from other teams and from other players.
I also like the ‘well-aligned’ bit about Clive. The ne’er sayers have been out in force claiming the club’s ambition didn’t meet Danny’s. I think we can put yet another piece of bullsh*t rumour to bed for now.
I’ve compiled another little stat graphic on Walker, just to give you some insight into his achievements last season. To be fair, most of you will look at stat two and good ‘good enough for me’.
His goals number is the one most fans will look at, one in two is a great return and hopefully something he’ll repeat for us. He gets plenty of shots away per game, 2.86 with 43.5% accuracy. Few strikers have above 50% at this level so he’s going to be a handful.
I like that he gets a lot of touches in the box as well; he’s going to be a player looking to make runs and create space, for himself and for others. He does get assists, a small amount, and he creates 0.76 chances per game for a teammate.
We haven’t brought him in to create chances though, have we? Last season, I firmly believe big John was there as much to make chances and opportunities as he was to score goals. Tyler Walker is here to score goals.
Naturally, Twitter has exploded with reaction to the news, which is where I’ll finish this round up of the move.
So when are Coventry announcing him then?? ??
— Adam (@THEAdamVickery) August 2, 2019
Always loved the guy, never slagged him off once. I promise.
— Ally Nicol (@Alistair__Nicol) August 2, 2019
— Grriceyy (@Grriceyy) August 2, 2019
Announce promotion already
— Jack Cottam (@JackCottam3) August 2, 2019
Cowley strikes again
— Liam (@LiamRich21) August 2, 2019
This maybe my best birthday present to date!!
— Ryan Terry (@itsurboirybot) August 2, 2019
Welcome Tyler. One hell of a signing
— Andrew kitchen (@Andrewk666666) August 2, 2019