- Birmingham City
- Current Squad
- Development Squad
- Ladies Team
- Out on Loan
- Former Players
- Boards and Advisors
- Appearance Data 2014/2015
- Charity Partner
- Website Info
- The Book
- Social Media
- Contact Me
Support and Growth
After picking up a yellow card each at the weekend, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Stephen Gleeson are one and two cautions away respectively from a two-match suspension for receiving 10 bookings.
With five games to go until the cut-off date (March 13), it’s almost inevitable that one if not both players will pick up a ban and Gary Rowett has already said in the press that he expects both to continue playing in their normal style regardless of impending suspensions. Although he mentions David Davis to come in as cover I wonder if this could also potentially open a door for players like Charlee Adams and – dare I say it – Reece Brown.
It is true that the emergency loan window is currently open and that if Blues needed to, they could go out and get a central midfielder as cover – but I’d only really expect them to do that if a player sustained the kind of injury that would keep them out until the end of the season. I do believe that Gary Rowett is the kind of manager who will look within his squad for cover rather than bring in a journeyman as “an extra body” – the promotion of Viv Solomon-Otabor to the first team seems to bear that out.
I know these are important games and it’s not the best time to blood new talent – however I do hope that should Kieftenbeld or Gleeson (or both simultaneously) pick up suspensions Blues would look to at least place one of their young talents on the bench in the hope they can get minutes in games to build up their chances of becoming proper first team professionals.
I’m not going to advocate throwing young players in straight away however. I know that there are some people who think we should, citing Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Trevor Francis as players who made their debuts at 16 but the thing to remember is that all of those players were incredibly special talents. Most young players take more time to develop and as I’ve often said, the last mile in any young professional’s development is in their head; it’s one thing to make their debut but then they have to raise the bar further to become a regular.
I have to say, one of the things that has impressed me most this year is the sheer volume of u21 games Blues have played. There seems to have been an effort to get younger players to understand the strength, tenacity and will needed to play week in, week out by scheduling games as often as possible – and I think it’s given many players a chance to take their development further than if they were just playing Professional Development League and Senior Cup games. With the emergency loan window ending this season Blues need to be able to rely on their youngsters – while it’s also worth considering that by bringing through young talent the club can make itself more self-sufficient and less worried about whats going on in the Far East.
So – I agree with Rowett that Kieftenbeld and Gleeson should continue giving it their combative all. There are players behind them to support them and that in itself will contribute to the growth of the team.