A Huddersfield View on Liam Ridehalgh
Late last week Liam Ridehalgh joined Swindon on an initial one month loan from League One Huddersfield Town.
I’ve asked Charlie Johnson, writer of the Huddersfield blog Football Charlie, for his view on one of our newest recruits.
What type of player is Liam and what does he add to a team? Can he play a position other than left back?
Liam is a very solid and dependable left back who is more than capable of doing a job for the team.
Not a spectacular player but good at what he does, and he is unlikely to let you down. He can also play centre back but it is left back where he’s most comfortable. You are not signing a hopeless player at all, just a player being kept off the team by some very good professionals.
Does Liam have any particular strengths or weaknesses in his technical ability or mentality?
He is strong and steady, with youth on his side. Perhaps a lack of real first team experience but that’s due to age rather than a lack of quality. He isn’t the quickest but is determined and doesn’t often let his man go past him.
His mental attitude seems fine, as is often the case with many who come through our academy system. They tend to be well grounded with the right attitude.
The 20-year-old finally broke into the Huddersfield first team early last season during Gary Naysmith’s absence through injury. How did Liam cope with the step up to first team football?
He coped very well, performing steadily as I have said, but not so impressively that he kept Naysmith out of the team when he returned from injury.
Naysmith is however a player with Premier League and international experience so there is no shame in that.
Liam has yet to make an appearance following Naysmith returning from injury. Does Ridehalgh have a future at the Terriers? Is he still your left back to cover injuries?
If anything he’s now third choice as Callum Woods, signed as a right back, is performing brilliantly at left back and has probably pushed him further down the pecking order. In terms of a future, I’d certainly hope so.
We should always be looking to promote home grown talent at the club and Liam could easily be our left back for years to come.
Do you believe a move to Swindon on loan to play in League Two will be the right move for him and what do you expect from the loan?
I think it’s a great move, Swindon are on a good run at the moment and if he can get games he will not only gain confidence and game time, he’ll hopefully benefit from playing for a winning team.
It is really hoped that this loan move will do the same for Liam’s career as the loan to Chesterfield did for Jack Hunt’s. Hunt a peripheral figure, yet to make his first team debut for Huddersfield went on loan, played every week, and came back with a bang.
If Liam’s loan can be anywhere near as successful then this is a move that will be hugely beneficial to both clubs.
So according to Charlie’s view we’ve secured a comfortable and promising left back on loan, however is this really a position where Town need further depth..? Callum Kennedy has been (fortunately) injury free starting all 11 League Two games so far, and Di Canio has been keen to give Cibocchi his opportunities whenever possible.
The left hand side has been a problem to some extent this season. It has been from this area of the pitch where four of the seven goals conceded in open play have originated from, highlighting a weakness that’s been effectively exploited. However will this be fixed by bringing in youth, albeit with some experience in League One from a year ago?
There’s no replacement for a seasoned pro with many games under their belt. So only time will tell whether Liam is any better than our own homegrown boy Callum Kennedy?
What is true is that Huddersfield are unlikely to accept Ridehalgh warming the bench when this loan has been organised to get the lad first team football. Expect Kennedy to be under significant pressure to keep his starting place in the coming weeks. Hopefully this alone with be enough for Callum to up his game.