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Birmingham’s Dan Crowley proving change isn’t always bad

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

A little tweak looks to have been all it took for this guy to finally make a mark in the Second city.

Dan Crowley arrived with expectation in the summer but it has taken a while for him to show that the investment was worth it.

Throughout his career, Crowley has been played through the middle of the park, and predominantly as an attacking midfielder.

When he moved to St Andrew’s it seemed natural that he would carry on that role. In fact when he was first signed, the club website noted that:

“Style-wise, the creative Crowley has tended to be used as an attacking midfielder, often playing in the number 10 role”.

Given that the Blues played a 3-4-2-1 formation throughout pre-season with the width down the right-hand side coming from wing-back Maxime Colin, it would make sense to slot Dan Crowley with his passing proficiency into that attacking midfield role behind Lukas Jutkiewicz and act as the primary creator.

After all, this is a player who completed close to 85% of his passes and laid on seven assists last term.

However, with a change in formation to more of a 4-4-2 from boss Pep Clotet in recent games came a change in role for the 22-year-old.

Rather than operating in the centre, a role that was given to Ivan Sunjic instead, he has been operating out wide for the past couple of games and has finally been able to give us some tangible results, such as his only assists for far.

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His influence over proceedings has been increased and that was evident last Friday. The former Arsenal man played five key passes, the highest number he’s managed in 2019/20.

It’s certainly not a bad thing that he’s an adaptable player, there’s nothing wrong with being a utility player that can play multiple positions, James Milner has made a career out of it in the past couple of years.

Therefore, if he can keep showing his proficiency out wide, then it only goes to show that if Pep Clotet needs to make a change in strategy going forward, then Crowley’s place can be more or less assured.

Which Midlands club will finish highest?

West Brom

West Brom

Birmingham

Birmingham

Forest

Forest

Derby County

Derby County

Article title: Birmingham’s Dan Crowley proving change isn’t always bad

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