A Look At The Loanees: Danny Drinkwater
Posted by nickogs20 on June 18, 2010
We finish off our series looking at last season’s loan stars with the views of the members of the Down At The Mac forum on Danny Drinkwater’s season with Huddersfield Town.
Having played against him in the Northern Ireland Milk Cup only 2/3 years before, when Huddersfield Town pounced on the loan signing of Danny Drinkwater I thought this would be interesting. I knew he’d be technically good but I thought we missed out on the 3 better players of the United setup: Danny Welbeck, Magnus Eikrem and Matthew James. However, I had a great deal of optimism. Danny didn’t get off to the greatest of starts at Huddersfield, and many would agree – however many a Town fan, with no disrespect, will not have played at a good level, so they will often say he slowed down the tempo of the game or went missing. This wasn’t the case in my opinion, he was merely keeping position and often looking to take the ball off the defenders and into the open space. I had the upmost confidence he would could come good, after a possible “I’ve come from United attitude” had dissolved. My word, he certainly did.
The Christmas period was the turning point of Danny Drinkwater, he started to show just why he was at Manchester United – a lot of composure on the ball, very good technical ability and a good range of passing long or short. He became a “man” thereafter. A man for such a young age, he produced good dominance in the pace of the game, was often first to the first and second balls, and the eye for the pass, that was possibly beyond the standard of League One. Now to the cutting edge question – will he make it at Manchester United and become a regular in the first team? I’m not all too sure, I firmly believe that technically yes, he certainly has the technical ability and composure to make it at the top level later in his career, but possibly Manchester United are too big a club to break in to. I can envision Drinkwater having to drop down a league or two to progress up the leagues before forging a good name for himself.
Fantastic vision, some of his passing was excellent. As others have said, it took him half a season to settle in. It was hard for him to shine in League 1 though because most of the teams we played against, especially in the second half of the season, crowded the midfield with the intention of stopping us from playing and a lot of the time they succeeded. We play with 2 wide players which puts a lot of pressure on the midfield pairing and Drinky isn’t the biggest and so struggled at times. In spite of his relatively slight stature and youth he is quite strong though. He’s a very good young player, but I don’t think that he will ever make your first team.
Looked a bit lost when he first came to us due to the pace and energy prevalent in League 1 as opposed to the more measured approach higher up the pyramid – indeed looked no better than what we had for much of the first half of the season. Second half of the season – much improved and certainly bossed one or two games for us towards the latter end, although that always seemed to be against the weaker sides.
Will I am sure carve himself a good career as a pro, but would seriously doubt his ability to cut it with your good selves at the elite of both English and European football.
Ten times the player when he learned to play forwards rather than safe and sideways and backwards every time. Learnt to know ‘when’ to play what ball over the season. Wouldn’t say he hasn’t got bite – I’d say he’s got plenty of bite but lacks presence, and switches off too much to play as a holding player. Slowed down the play too often when playing deeper to play the sideways, safe pass too much, but consequently retained the ball well – may work better at a higher level than suited for League 1 football. Far more effective when played as an advanced centre mid when he often set the tempo and was the playmaker. Developed well over the season – doesn’t resemble the Drinkwater who first came in. He’ll have benefited greatly from the experience.
While there is absolutely no doubt that he improved in the second half of the season, I think he probably flattered to deceive. Comfortable on the ball certainly, and a willing worker too, but not much end product – either in goals scored or in assists created. A lovely free kick at Stockport, but I can’t recall many “killer” passes. Really can’t see him making it at Man Utd & will probably try for a loan to Championship next season, but I certainly wouldn’t be too bothered if he didn’t come back here. If you compared his loan spell to Liverpool’s Martin Kelly, I’m pretty sure that 95% of posters on here would choose Kelly over DD, if we could get only one on loan next season.
Holy Roller Novakaine:
Has excellent ball retention and pass completion rate and in the 2nd half of the season added energy and more physicality to his game where he was no longer pushed off of the ball.. At times his cool head belied his 19 years (I don’t think people appreciate how young he is for a central midfielder playing first team football). Was the best central midfielder on the park against Leeds and Millwall at home in the league so DID do it against the top sides… Plus that tag could and should be levied at every player in the starting XI…. Peter Clarke aside. In the playoffs had a decent spell in the home match but was was too short to impose himself with any effect… He was though, let down and left massively unprotected against Millwall’s more aggressive and physical combo of Trotter and Abdou by his ‘partner’ Antony Kay who never bothered to turn up for either match and he’s not that good he can run the show by himself.
Overall a very good technical player whom if coached and played at the right times I could see being a lower end Premier League player but HAS to add goals and a bit more positivity to his game otherwise he won’t make the PL. For me he’s the best technical central midfielder we’ve had since Kenny Irons first came in 1999, but that’s not saying much after some of the shite we’ve had in there! Would like him back next season alongside a mobile tackling player who could protect him and offer better options… But he’s likely to be either in your League Cup Squad or Fergie Jr’s fledglings…
Thought he was a top little player who definitely got better as the season went on. As for going missing in the big games? He was quality against Norwich and Leeds and criticising him for Millwall is a joke – you could point the finger at the whole team, they all let us down. His problem was as others have said he didn’t have a good enough experienced old head along side him in the middle which would have helped him massively …..would take him back if offered you cant have enough quality in the squad!
Clearly Danny came here schooled in the right way (the passing game) and it took time for his team mates to realise what he was trying to do, hence people saying he took some time to make an impression. He is ‘quality’ at League One level and anyone who says differently needs their head testing. I think he’d benefit from being in the Championship to be honest but whether he’s good enough for Premier League football is doubtful at this stage. Be good to hear whether Danny thinks his time with us was beneficial to his development!
I firmly believe Drinkwater was held back by the players around him. He had to put up with playing alongside either Kay or Collins and I think even Xavi would have trouble looking good alongside those 2. He also got to enjoy watching our centre backs twat it over his head time and time again. Put him in a Championship side that pass the ball around and he will shine. Somewhere like Swansea alongside Pratley or Doncaster alongside Stock.