Max Gradel would have been an obvious choice for today’s Profile, but given that we’ve already pretty much covered the West African wide man, I thought that a consideration of Jordon Mutch, who caught my eye in Watford’s televised win at Loftus Road 10 days ago, was more appropriate.
Currently on a six-month loan at Vicarage Road, the leftpegger looked a bit tasty in the centre of a sterling Golden Boys midfield. Despite a widely reported slow start which saw Mutch struggle to gain an understanding with his new teammates, he now appears to be striding forwards with meaning; deft, confident and clever, Watford blogger Matt Rowson likened the progress of the man whose middle name is Sydney to that of Henri Lansbury last term. Although a key figure at the season’s end, Arsenal’s unwanted began Hertfordshire life with a similarly modest series of performances which suggests, perhaps, that Malky Mackay goes for a style of football that becomes increasingly successful as his team get to know one another’s game.
Notable for the lash-like quality of his shooting against QPR, Mutch posed a different sort of threat to Watford’s alternative sources of firepower, the refreshingly direct Danny Graham and Will Buckley’s puppy dog pace out wide. Yet equally impressive was Mutch’s eye for a pass as well as his willingness to get stuck in and to track back alongside the evergreen John Eustace. The complete package for a second tier club with ambition you might say? Maybe I’m getting carried away, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bun fight amongst Championshippers should Birmingham, Mutch’s parent club, decide to flog him in January, which is a possibility seeing as the Derbyshire lad’s Blues contract is up at the end of the season.
That would mark a disappointing end to a Second City spell that has fluctuated madly since Mutch signed on at St Andrews in 2007 after following Academy Director Terry Westley from Derby. At times touted as the biggest thing since Trevor Francis, Mutch has earned plenty of England Youth caps and was only denied a place in the Blues’s first team squad before his sixteenth birthday because of Premier League regulations. However, Mutch has since had a limited impact, and growing pains put a brake on progress to the extent that he was sent out on loan to a woeful Hereford side a year after his eventual debut at St Andrews. Mixed reports from Edgar Street perhaps indicated a player who was destined to drop down the leagues, but a half-promising spell at Doncaster later on in the season combined with an increasingly influential role at Watford this term suggest a blossoming footballer looking up, rather than down, the pyramid.