Football FanCast columnist Adam Daley reflects on the arrival of Paul Gallagher and believes it will prove a good bit of business for Leicester City.
For Leicester City, Saturday the 22nd August marked the debut of Scottish striker Paul Gallagher against Barnsley. He signed from Blackburn for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £900k after loan signings at four different clubs in the past four years. Now with a new club the hope is that he can finally get some stability and fulfil the potential that Saturday’s match seemed to reveal he is in abundance of.
The most obvious quality revealed against Barnsley was Gallagher’s creativity. Leicester manager Nigel Pearson said after signing him that he was very creative, and from how Gallagher played it seems that Pearson was right on the money. In particular it was Gallagher’s one touch, pinpoint passes that first caught the eye. Every time the ball was passed to him he would immediately ping the ball forward that almost always caught a run or started a move. Whenever he got the ball there seemed to be a confidence that he wouldn’t run into the opposition, or stumble a pass that’s intercepted, or get barged off the ball. His ability to instantly spot a pass was impressive, and he would react so quickly that the opposition wouldn’t have time to do anything about him.
Another unexpected quality of Gallagher’s that was revealed on Saturday was his ability to take corners. The couple that he took were all dangerous balls into the box, and this quality passed on to his general crossing as well, which was also pretty good. Gallagher is quoted by some to be quite good in the air, though this was a bit difficult to judge in the Barnsley match as only two headers came his way (despite the excessive amount of long balls Leicester seemed to play). One he was pressured for and went a bit wayward but the other mimicked his one touch passing as he shot the ball off his head and into the path of a winger. If he can carry on heading balls like that then he could turn out to be an asset in the air for Leicester.
Gallagher is also generally described as being a bit lacking in pace, though what he did show in a few glimmers in the Barnsley match was a fair amount of acceleration. His top speed may not be a blistering pace, but he seemed to be able to hit it fairly quickly. This proved especially useful in the rare few times when there was no pass available and he did go for a run. His acceleration meant that he could quickly get the upper hand with a short dribble that opened up a pass that was otherwise unavailable.
As a striker one of the most important qualities is the ability to finish. Gallagher unfortunately only really had one shot on goal and so it was difficult to judge any finishing ability. The one shot he did manage to muster however was certainly not a bad one. He spun a quick turn from a defender and stung a shot into the goalkeeper’s gloves. Given a bit more settling time and the confidence of a first team run, then a goalscoring ability might well start to peek out. He scored 13 goals for Plymouth last season and so hopefully, now that he is at a club where he actually knows his place instead of being loaned out continuously, he can grow in confidence and exceed that tally for Leicester. If not then he seems like he would still make a pretty good attacking midfielder, who can start moves and link with the forwards through his one touch passing.
All in all he looks a good bit of business for Leicester, and as the season progresses he could turn out to be quite an asset.
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