Often Partisan

The Rise of Callum Reilly

The last seven weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for young Callum Reilly. The 19-year-old midfielder whose experience was previously limited to ten minutes at the end of a FA Cup match has gone from Development Squad player to potentially an Irish u21 international midfielder.

With absolutely no disrespect intended to the Warrington-born midfielder, I think at the start of the season most Blues fans would have said “who?” when asked about Reilly. Indeed, on his league debut against Crystal Palace last month there were quite a few tweets on my timeline talking about what Clark was doing, throwing the rookie into the first team. Indeed, if you had said back in August of last year that by the end of January Callum Reilly would have more first team action this season than Darren Ambrose or Keith Fahey who would have believed that?

As games go, his first for the club wasn’t bad. Blues scraped a draw but more importantly some of the energy that had been missing in midfield had been found in Reilly’s young legs. I’m not going to say that he was brilliant first time out, because that would be an exaggeration – he was solid though. It was a good starting debut, and he rightly received plaudits from the fans and reporters alike after it.

Debuts are one thing but being able to replicate it week after week is the biggest step for any young professional in the game – and one that many struggle to make. This is where Callum has come through as he has slowly built on that debut performance, working hard and learning fast and slowly getting himself to a point whereby he’s missed when he doesn’t play (Leeds at home). He’s still by no means the finished article – to expect that from a 19-year-old is a bit much – but he is showing that he can and will improve further. In his spell in the first team he’s added his first professional goal (Huddersfield away) and he wasn’t far off adding to that tally with an effort from range against Brighton on Saturday.

Reilly has evidently impressed more than just me as he has now been handed a call-up to the Republic of Ireland u21 squad for their friendly with the Netherlands on February 6 in Dublin. It’s good to see he’s gained recognition for the way he has played in recent weeks and hopefully it’s more evidence that Blues have another player from their Academy who will be a first team regular for a while yet.

Reilly has been at the club since he was eight and is part of a quartet of players who have been brought through by Richard Beale to the Blues first team squad – the others being Nathan Redmond, Josh Hawker (who is the only one not to have played yet) and Mitch Hancox (who was gleefully having fun on twitter last night with respect to the mob from across the expressway’s failed efforts to make it to Wembley).

For Callum the challenge really starts when players like Jonathan Spector and Keith Fahey properly return to the first team fold – will he be able to keep his place and if not how will he cope with being pushed back to the fringes. It’ll be another test for the young midfielder and it’s another one that I think he’ll come through with flying colours.


16 Responses to “The Rise of Callum Reilly”

  • Support your club - Don't go down he says:

    Yes it was a brilliant decison by LC to blood Callum, about time we did this so well done Lee

    Mitch is rapidly becoming a ledge on twitter lol, he’s as bad as us and definitely one of us.

    • Mortonsblue says:

      Brilliant decision? He had no one else = lucky decision!
      How about his decision to leave our only 3 strikers on the bench saturday?
      The man is incompetent!

  • Asif ashiq says:

    Like jordan mutch callum reilly will be sold undisclosed. Vultures are circling. Nit pick all the good young future players for peanuts

  • Oldbluenose says:

    That is the big fear at the moment, !!. Everything is so uncertain at our club, due to the non-leadership from C,Y. and P,P. How will it end up at the end of this month, ?.

    We cannot afford to lose some of our big names, [ yet, we need the finance ], Neither do we wish the up-coming youngsters like Callum, etc;, !!!.

  • nicky wicky says:

    We need to be building a team around players like this not selling them off. selling them is the fools way to administration. The sooner PP ,and CY go the better!

  • Ande says:

    Having attended both against Leeds in the cup I can say without shadow of a doubt that Reilly was the difference between the two performances. As well as the engergy and drive he brings to the team, his range of passing is impressive and he has showed us he knows how to make a tackle. I think we have got a gem on our hands here. Lets hope we can build a side around him.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      However other than his goal, at Huddersfield he gave the ball away cheaply three times. Stil he was ill and should be allowed to make mistakes so I’m hoping for good things from him.

  • Support your club - Don't go down he says:

    Another great one bought through by Lee is Mitch Hancox

    A future star

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Looking forward to seeing more of him. Even though it’s not for the best reason it’s good to se LC bring in your Hancox and Packwoods etc. If the worst happens they could be key players in a cash strapped (hopefully brief) stay in League One.

    • Dan H says:

      Do you think Hancox would be better as a Left Midfielder/Winger? He’s great going forward but gets caught out too much in defence

  • Paulo says:

    Fair play to the lad. I’m sure he knew what predicament the club was facing, and all the ‘frustration’ from the fans, as well as the ever turning rumour mill in the media. He was given a chance in front of an edgy crowd, and he did his job. To be honest, he probably had less attention and scrutiny on him, because of it all being directed to LC and other players at the time.
    The young academy lads are an absolute honour to have and I know they get very little recognition from certain quarters, but we are a club that has opened a door to the academy (through our financial constraints obviously), and having bluenoses in the first team is a fantastic achievement in itself. Redmond, Hancox and Reilly are showing the local kids that it can be done, and with discipline and commitment, success can be achieved.
    I’m still dissapointed in BCFC for not bringing Jervis through like this. I mean, it’s quite obvious that it was only a matter of weeks between him going and a prolific statement from the media, that certain strikers are to go. (ie: No one is for sale, but all are available for the right price).
    Just like the Jordan Mutch deal ..the interests of the future of the club were never considered, only a short term fix in money.
    I only hope Callum comes on even more with us, and continues his progress alongside Mitch Hancox. A call up for Ireland U21 is more than amazing and congratulations to him on achieving such a reccomendation in the first place.

  • Dom says:

    Where is Fisayo Adarabioyo. I thought he was on a 2 year professional deal. Most of the comments on your article ( http://oftenpartisan.co.uk/archives/5447/introducing-fisayo-adarabioyo.html ) said he was impressive and the contract length seemed to support that. I thought he would have appeared by now especially with the injuries we have had recently.

  • Tony says:

    SSSSSh or Pannu will sell him!!!

  • Chris Bentley says:

    Great to see our Callum on the big stage. He is an ex pupil of Our Lady of Compassion and I had the pleasure of having him in my school team for a couple of years, when we really had a winning formula. I’m sure he will continue to do us and Blues proud with his commitment, energy and ability. Go Callum Go!!!!!!

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