Combining a couple recent interviews here, one with Chelsea loanee Isaiah Brown and one with Huddersfield Town technical director Stuart Webber, both in the Telegraph, ahead of Town’s massive FA Cup fifth round match against Manchester City on Saturday.
Huddersfield have been in fantastic form since the start of December, winning 12 of 15 in all competitions, recording back-to-back 4-0 wins in the FA Cup and rising all the way into third spot in the Championship after a bad run of results negated their great early season form. Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer has been there since the start of the season (though he’s injured currently), while Izzy joined in January, making the switch from Rotherham United.
We had questioned that decision a little bit since Izzy was playing regularly at Rotherham, but he’s adjusted very quickly to Huddersfield’s tactics and has contributed with 4 goals already in just 8 games.
“I said to my girlfriend the other day that I don’t think I’ve ever been happier in my career. It’s an amazing feeling playing football everybody likes to watch.”
Terriers head coach David Wagner (U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!) made his name as the reserves coach under Jürgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, but instead of following Klopp to Liverpool, he struck out on his own. He led Huddersfield to a 19th place finish last season after taking over in November, but this season, having been able to re-mold the squad in his gegenpressing image, they’ve become one of the top candidates for promotion.
“We’re in Sunday for recovery, off on Monday and on Tuesday it’s double training sessions. When I first came, my legs were hanging off on Wednesdays. We do the gym first, then 18 box-to-boxes in the morning, lunch and then some rest before position games in the afternoon. It’s intense and has taken me a few weeks to get used to. Those double sessions don’t get any easier but in matches when it gets to 80 minutes we’re still running and the other teams are tired so you can’t complain.”
“We always have to press from the front and make sure they can’t play out. If we lose the ball we’ve got five or six seconds to get it back. He says winning the ball back should be a good feeling. He wants the best and if you don’t give it, then you’re out the team. I wanted to be pushed out of the comfort zone and fighting for a place. You can never be safe here.”
Brown, surrounded by friends and family just as he was during his loan at Vitesse has quickly become a Terriers favorite. He himself is hoping this is the audition that will lead to opportunities at Chelsea. Obviously that’s a crowded field to get into — in addition to the youth who are currently with the team (Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, etc), we do have almost 40 youngsters out on loan as well, many with similar aspirations (Baker, Abraham, Brown himself etc.) — but Izzy’s undoubtedly the right track.
“I want to make a name for myself in this league first and getting a chance at Chelsea will hopefully follow. If I carry on performing like I have been at Huddersfield, I’ll possibly get the opportunity to start pre-season with Chelsea. But I’m not looking into the future too much, I’m just happy at the moment.”
-Izzy Brown; source: Telegraph
One man who’s job it is to look into the future is Huddersfield technical director Stuart Webber, the man who’s built the squad for Wagner to command. In Webber’s interview with the Telegraph, he talks about all the various aspects that had gone into putting the current squad together, but the interesting bit as far as we’re concerned is where he expressed hope to continue the relationship they’ve built with Chelsea through the loan of Palmer and Brown.
“I spoke to Michael Emenalo at Chelsea and told him exactly how Kasey Palmer and Isaiah Brown would fit into our team, how much they were likely to play and how we would try to develop them, both physically and mentally. With Aaron Mooy it was a little bit different as City actually approached us about taking him on loan. We already knew about the player and we did some more homework on him, and it’s been a big success.”
“People such as Michael at Chelsea, Brian Marwood at City and Michael Edwards and Jurgen at Liverpool now trust us to look after their players, and I believe that model can still work for us if we get promoted to the Premier League.”
-Stuart Webber; source: Telegraph
If Town do get promoted, Chelsea would only be allowed to send one player on loan to them (them’s the rules!), but beyond that technicality, it sounds like as long as Webber (and Wagner) are in charge, we have a great option for at least one player each season to get some proper development. In the wild loan system landscape, that sort of “certainty” can be invaluable.