Why Stoke City recalling Josh Tymon in January would make perfect sense
According to Stoke Sentinel, new Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill is expected to explore the possibility of recalling youngster Josh Tymon from his loan spell at Famalicao in Portugal when the transfer window reopens in January.
The 20-year-old completed a temporary move to Famalicao in the Portuguese top-flight back in the summer to reunite with his former Hull City manager Joao Pedro Sousa after being frozen out of the first-team by former manager Nathan Jones.
Tymon, who joined the Potters from Hull City back in the summer of 2017, featured thrice for Stoke City in the Premier League during the 2017-18 campaign that eventually ended with the club getting relegated from the top-flight.
The youngster’s lack of involvement in Stoke’s Premier League days looked justified but things looked to be heading in the wrong direction for him when he was restricted to just a solitary appearance in the Championship last season.
With Nathan Jones still in charge prior to the start of the ongoing campaign, the highly-rated left-back opted for a temporary move to Portugal in a bid to further his development with regular first-team minutes away from his parent club.
To that end, though, Tymon’s loan stint at Famalicao, who currently sit 3rd in the Primeira Liga standings behind powerhouses Benfica and Porto, hasn’t been a raging success by any means.
The 20-year-old has started just four games in the Portuguese top-flight so far while featuring as a substitute on one occasion but such has been his fall from grace that he has even failed to make the bench in recent months, with the left-back’s last appearance coming way back in mid-September.
Despite the player admitting in an interview that his loan spell in Portugal has been a personal success (h/t Stoke Sentinel), Josh Tymon clearly hasn’t made a big impact at Famalicao and an early return to Stoke City during the January window could make sense for all parties.
As per the report, new manager Michael O’Neill has identified left-back as a problem area for the Potters heading into the mid-season trading period and that has fuelled speculations surrounding a recall for Josh Tymon from his ongoing loan spell.
Nathan Jones opted for James McClean in an unfamiliar left-back role earlier in the season but it seems very clear that O’Neill isn’t prepared to rely on makeshift options at the back if his team selection in recent weeks is anything to go by.
Veteran Stephen Ward, who is currently the only specialist left-back at the Bet365 Stadium, has started each of the Potters’ first four games in the Championship since the appointment of O’Neill, but a lack of genuine depth in that area and at right-back continues to be a nagging issue for the new manager.
Bruno Martins-Indi, who often featured as a left-back under Jones, has been reinstated in a central defensive role by the Northern Irishman and such circumstances certainly point to radical changes in the full-back department for the Potters moving forward.
To put things into perspective, Stoke City need to sort out their left-back issues sooner than later and recalling Josh Tymon in January could certainly go a long way towards addressing squad depth issues.
Having conceded 33 goals in 19 games at a dismal goal difference of -13, Stoke City’s problems at the back have been well-documented over the first four months of the ongoing campaign, and Tymon seems to be a bright young player with the right kind of profile to challenge for a first-team role under O’Neill.
The England U-20 international is held in high regard by the coaching staff at the Bet365 Stadium, and given the fact that he hasn’t seen much first-team action at Famalicao, recalling him in January could make perfect sense for a number of reasons.
Besides the obvious need for an understudy to Ward, a return to Stoke City would also allow O’Neill to assess Josh Tymon at close quarters, keeping in mind the club’s long-term plans moving forward.
Ward, 34, is out of contract at the club in the summer and Tymon seems to have all the raw materials to establish himself as the first-choice left-back in the subsequent seasons.
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All in all, Stoke recalling their on-loan starlet in January could well prove to be a shrewd piece of business that could enhance their hopes of survival in the Championship.