The following article is thanks to Blackpool website Tangerine Dreaming.
On the 1st January Liverpool’s Danny Wilson joined Championship side Blackpool on loan following the lead set by Jonjo Shelvey who enjoyed a successful spell at Bloomfield Road earlier on in the season. Since joining the club Wilson has appeared six times as Blackpool have slowly started to gear their season up towards an end of season push for promotion.
Although not a measure of his performance quality it might be of interest to note that in those six games Blackpool have conceded six times with Wilson being involved in one clean sheet.
Due to injuries and squad rotation he has appeared with two different centre back partners. However, his appearance at the weekend alongside Craig Cathcart in the centre of defence suggests he will be a part Ian Holloway’s preferred centre back partnership till further notice.
From an observational perspective Wilson has adjusted well to the standard of football and hasn’t really had too much to trouble him. Firstly, that is down to his own abilities and secondly, due to the way that Blackpool are performing at the moment.
In a recent interview he gave to the official Blackpool FC website he cites match fitness as the biggest thing he has picked up since joining the club.
“I’m feeling a lot better on the pitch – that was my fifth game now in a matter of weeks, rather than two in about five months at Liverpool, so I’ve felt the benefit.
“My match fitness is there and it’s taken a few games to get it back but when you know that you have it, it gives you confidence.”
Given his brief time at the club this is the only thing that can be observed as improving. His performances against Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth last week saw him looking physically and mentally sharp.
From a technical perspective he has been very good, his first touch is consistently good, he’s comfortable bringing the ball down on his chest too.
His passing is good over short range, however, on long range passes he can be a little carefree and unfocused at times giving the ball away too often. Blackpool like to play a stretching long diagonal pass from centre back to wide forward and at times when Wilson has tried this he has under hit them. It doesn’t appear to be a technique or strength issue, more of getting used to playing that type of pass in a match situation. It’s likely that he’ll pick this up with the more games he plays.
From a purely defensive point of view he has performed well. He is strong in the tackle but at times he can get a little too close to his opponent and his body position appears a little awkward making it difficult for him to challenge effectively. When that happens he has been turned by his opponent a little too easily. Aerially he has had no major issues, he has a decent jump and up to now he is yet to be dominated in the air.
The strongest element to his game has been his awareness and anticipation of developing game situations. Two things stand out in respect to this. Against Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup he performed a good tactical foul around the half way line when he realised a fast break was developing. The other week against Cardiff he arguably contributed to the Cardiff goal being scored by anticipating a pass a little too early, drawing him out of position. Whilst that had a negative outcome, the instinct was broadly correct and as he develops, such an instinct will save more goals than it contributes too.
One other factor that may assist his development at Blackpool is the familiarity of the players around him. There’s a strong Scottish contingent at Blackpool with Barry Ferguson is acting as a father figure to the young Scottish players. Wilson will be learning all the time from the vast experience that Ferguson has and he’ll be happy that there are other young Scottish footballers such as former team mate John Fleck with whom he can bond.
At this stage it would be fair to say that Wilson is developing well. Although he won’t score the goals that attract the headlines like Shelvey, he has been going about his business quietly and effectively. The fact he was selected against Portsmouth at the weekend lends weight to the argument that he has fought his way to becoming a first choice centre back.
Although currently playing in the Championship he could easily play in the Premier League right now, perhaps not at Liverpool’s level, but certainly around the standard of the mid table teams. He has plenty of time to develop though and another season on loan next year might be just what he needs especially if he could get a loan in the Premier League.
For Blackpool he has given Holloway a great option at centre half and eases worries when injuries and suspensions arise from now till the end of the season. If Blackpool gain promotion at the end of the season, Wilson will have made a contribution to that and that can only be good for both Liverpool and Blackpool.
Thanks to John @ Tangerine Dreaming.
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