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That might be the one thing that is holding back one Birmingham City player from flourishing at St Andrew’s.
Speaking during a Q&A for Birmingham Live, journalist Brian Dick was asked about whether or not Jude Bellingham was being played ‘too much’ considering the fact that he’s only 16:
“He’s played at a level way beyond that of other, older, more experienced players over the last few years. I think it is unfair to ask him to play the whole season though.”
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That comment about Bellingham is an interesting one. If people like Dick aren’t expecting him to start every game this season, and with Clotet saying in the past that he needs to be careful how he manages his workload given his young age, there needs to be some competition for his place.
However, at the moment it doesn’t look like there is any, purely because Clotet doesn’t want to.
There is someone who should be getting much more of a look in, though, but for some reason, there seems to be a hesitancy to use him. That player is a certain Josh McEachran.
The former Chelsea and Brentford midfielder was on trial at St Andrew’s for the best part of a month before they eventually signed him to a two-year deal back at the end of September.
We’ve spoken previously on FFC about the fact McEachran has a lot to offer the club in terms of his style of play, both in attack and in defence. Despite that, the £1.35m-rated midfielder just hasn’t been able to make the breakthrough into the first team, making just one substitute appearance against Blackburn Rovers.
Is it simply because Clotet is scared of dropping Bellingham? He’s spoken before about how delicate a situation it would be, saying that “I know the fans might give me a bit of stick if I don’t start him every game.”
It sounds as if Clotet is trying to keep fans on his side by playing ‘one of their own’ rather than someone like McEachran who could offer up more to this Birmingham side with his Championship experience.
Therefore, it might take a catastrophic error, or even worse a spell on the injury table to Bellingham before he can finally get his chance.
With results being described as ‘inconsistent’ at best, Clotet needs to start doing what is best for the team, rather than what’s best for the fans.