The decision to bring Sam McCallum back to the club on loan towards the end of the summer transfer window was something of a head-scratcher. With Ryan Giles having played so well in the left wing-back position, it was hard to see why either Sam McCallum or his parent club, Norwich City, would want him to return to Coventry City without any guarantees of first-team football. However, the brutality of the fixture list this season has proven the logic of this move for all parties. McCallum’s ability to play on either the left or right side of the defence as either a wing-back of full-back provided the team with a level of cover that we simply didn’t have with our options heading into the season.
Sam McCallum has taken the step up to the Championship pretty much in his stride. While he has occasionally struggled against skilful wide players and hasn’t been a consistent threat going forward, he hasn’t looked out of place at the level and has made a few key contributions. Having enjoyed a spell at right wing-back, where his capacity to cut onto his left foot proved a useful weapon, that extra knowledge he has gained from playing slightly out of position has benefitted his game when played on the left, where he has looked as willing to beat opponents by cutting inside as he does by playing outside onto his stronger foot.
Just how good Sam McCallum can be is yet to become fully clear. His breakthrough was amplified by a level of speculation linking him to higher clubs that probably wasn’t quite justified. However, there are signs that he can become a really well-rounded full-back capable of competing physically, having the pace and skill to beat opponents and the capacity to not just step up with assists but goals also. Despite a shortage of fit left-backs at Norwich City opens up the possibility of a recall in January, it looks more likely that he will stay at Coventry City for the rest of the campaign as he looks to round-off his development and become a more consistent defender and attacker from wing-back or full-back.