Why Josh McEachran could bring an X-Factor to Birmingham City’s midfield
According to the Birmingham Live, Birmingham City might be set to offer former Chelsea wonderkid, Josh McEachran, a lifeline, with the report suggesting that the Blues have handed the 26-year-old a trial.
McEachran, who is currently a free agent following his release from Brentford earlier in the summer, is training with Birmingham City’s U-23 side and his hopes of earning a deal at St. Andrew’s are likely to rest on Monday’s fixture against Bristol City. (h/t Birmingham Live)
A youth product of Chelsea, the Oxford-born central midfielder was labelled as the next big thing to come through the academy at Stamford Bridge in his younger days, with several high-profile managers touting him for a big future at his boyhood club.
McEachran broke into the first-team picture at Chelsea in the 2010-11 season under Carlo Ancelotti but, despite showing plenty of promise, he never really managed to cement his place in the side.
The 26-year-old spent time on loan at Swansea City, Wigan Athletic, Middlesbrough, Watford, as well as at Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie, before settling down at Brentford in 2015.
His time at Griffin Park, though, proved to be an injury-stricken one and McEachran’s long spells on the sidelines prevented him from taking significant strides towards fulfilling his true potential.
The former England U-21 international found himself in and out of the first-team under Dean Smtih and Thomas Frank and ended his career with the Bees with a total of 101 appearances in all competitions, with a large chunk to them coming as cameos off the bench.
Well, it has been a sorry tale for the former Chelsea academy graduate, who was regarded as a player with the potential to go on and play at the highest level for a sustained period.
McEachran’s health has let him down at some crucial stages in his career thus far but he might as well get another opportunity to prove his credentials, with Birmingham City apparently keen to offer him an escape route.
To put things into perspective, Birmingham City are currently pretty well-stocked in the central midfield department but it is easy to figure out that someone like McEachran, with his composure in possession, ability to dictate the play in the middle of the park and carve out chances with his vision and intelligence, could add another dimension to the club’s options.
The former England youth international still has that X-Factor to his game and, while Pep Clotet has the likes of David Davis, Garry Gardner, Craig Gardner, Agus Medina and Ivan Sunjic as options in deep midfield, McEachran could prove to be an upgrade on some of those names mentioned above if he manages to it the ground running at St. Andrew’s and keep himself injury-free.
Clotet, though, will be aware of the lack of depth in his striking options up top, with Lukas Jutkiewicz and new signing Alvaro Gimenez the only realistic contenders to spearhead the attack.
The duo has shared four goals between them thus far and it remains to be seen whether the manager dips into the market in January to strengthen that particular area.
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Nevertheless, Josh McEachran, though no longer a promising youngster, looks like a handsome addition to Birmingham City’s ranks and the Blues will be aware of the kind of difference he is capable of making in the midfield.