Often Partisan

Much too Much to ask of Mutch?

Despite not having figured in the Blues first team since the 1-0 win over Coventry back on August 13, manager Chris Hughton has confirmed that Jordon Mutch will be in the match day squad for the crunch tie against Maribor tonight at St Andrews. There’s been a bit of a clamour on messageboards for Mutch’s return with central midfield considered the weak link in the Blues team, and I thought I’d discuss it.

Frankly, I’ll be very surprised if the Alvaston-born twenty-year old lines up in the first XI tonight. I can understand why people think that Mutch would be a good call to slot into central midfield, particularly considering Jonathan Spector’s move to right back for the game and the uncertainty if Guirane N’Daw will start the game after coming off with cramp against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday. However I think it would be a massive call to bring Jordon into the team without the benefit of any match practice for the ressies or the Championship.

It’s a common theme for a player who isn’t in the team to be seen as the answer to the problems that a team may be seen to be facing – I covered this before some time ago in this post. It’s not a phenomenon that’s unique to Jordon Mutch, or Birmingham City for that matter – it’s something that happens in any team where there is perceived to be a weakness and a player who isn’t getting game time. Throw in the classic scapegoat – in this case Keith Fahey – and you’ve got a situation whereby Mutch is seen as the saviour of the side. It’s a big ask of a lad who has only made nine first team appearances in the Royal Blue of Birmingham, and only twenty-eight starts at this level for any side.

I don’t think any of this will have got past Chris Hughton. As much as he’s brought in youngsters into the squads – for instance giving Nathan Redmond time in the first team – it does seem (if you excuse the phrase) that he has been treating the youngsters with kid gloves, and he’s been careful not too push them too hard too fast. As a fan it’s nice to see younger players in the team – especially those that have come through the academy – but we also have to accept that even prodigious talents have to be nurtured carefully and I think Hughton will be well aware of the burden of expectation on Mutch’s shoulders when making his team selection.

In saying all this, I don’t think it will be too long before we see Jordon strutting his stuff in the middle again; having seen him play in pre-season and against Coventry I thought he looked a good player – he can get up and down the pitch, he’s got a good range of passing and it looks like he might be the kind of player who has the vision to pick open defences – and my God do we need one of those right now. It’s important that Mutch now realises the promise he’s shown for a few years and that he can kick on – it’s not so much about being a superstar but more showing consistency, putting out good displays week in week out. It’s one thing for a youngster to break into a team; it’s a whole other for the player to hold that position as his own. I hope in the second half of the season Jordon can do that and give us another homegrown gem to be proud of.

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8 Responses to “Much too Much to ask of Mutch?”

  • Andy says:

    28 starts in the Europa League?

  • old blue nose says:

    Whatever happens tonight lets just give the players a night to remember by singing our heads off and creating an atmosphere just as we did against west ham ,villa in the carling cup last season, hopefully we can lay off, we dont care about carson, and s–t on the villa and concentrate on “keep right on” this is the song the players respond to and it will be a fitting tribute to the lads for their efforts in this cup run

  • chris says:

    agree 90% old blue, don’t care about vile song, but carson song is ok and gets the crowd going plus there is too much KRO, it’s as though we don’t know any other songs.
    we’ve forgotten more songs than we still sing. there’s loads form 70’s and 80’s that we don’t sing anymore and i don’t care if they are swear words as this what adds to the atmosphere that so many players and managers fear when they come here.
    i see too many youngsters (teens, 20’s & 30’s ) just sitting there not singing and this lack of atmosphere is part of the reason i don’t go as much as i did.

  • JohnR says:

    Good post Almajir. If we are ahead it would be good to introduce Mutch for 20 minutes but I am sure Hughton will not start with him. He has a very bright future at Blues provided we can keep hold of him. I’m very impressed by the way that Hughton handles the other young lads with Redmond getting a gradual introduction to the first team and other promising players being sent out on loan.
    I echo what others have said about tonight’s match, whatever the result we need to let the team know how proud we are for what they’ve achieved in Europe this season.

  • skareggae72 says:

    Worryingly Jodans injury issues are all down to his ankles,with both his ankles fracturing in 2008 due to rapid growth(i wonder if he turned green also?),and a broken ankle this time.A 20 minute run out at the end would be sensible,without sounding arrogant the game should be dealt with by then and the spotlight will turn to Brugge.

  • TR7 says:

    Totally agree with the misplaced ‘ expectations ‘ placed on returning players shoulders Almajir. As far as Mutch is concerned any such presumption or anticipation that he can stroll back into the team and do anything other than keep up with play would be miles off the mark.
    He’s a prospect , like dozens of others up and down the country , and nothing more , although that in it’s self is an achievement in such a competitive sport.
    I have yet to be convinced that he has ‘ it’ but looking at his stuttering injury laden last 2 or 3 years any criticism at all of the boy would be very unfair indeed.

  • Violent Pacifist says:

    Mutch has been OK when he’s played.

    Nothing more than that

    Nowhere near the world class midfielder some of our internet experts have got him down as. The messiah searchers will need to look elsewhere at the moment.

    Good luck to the lad, hope he gets over his injuries well.

  • Redders senior says:

    Mutch is definately a rising midfield player and an asset for us having listened to some of my firends who are Watford season ticket holders urging their club last year to do a deal for him permenantly. They tell me they were spoilt with his ability and vision around the park for such a young player and it’s taken Watford sometime to get somewhere near his level again. Tonights game maybe just a little to early for him though.

    Always interesting to read your views Almajir

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