Due to injury issues and the performances of first-choice right wing-back, Fankaty Dabo, it’s taken a while to see what Julien Dacosta is capable of in a Coventry City shirt. With only a handful of late substitute appearances and a disastrous first start in the FA Cup against Norwich City to go off, Dacosta’s performances in his first real run in the side – due to an injury to Dabo – have been a pleasant surprise. A constant outlet for the team on the right side of the pitch and capable of putting in some telling deliveries, Dacosta has provided the energy and quality on the right-hand side of the pitch that the team would have otherwise missed in Dabo’s absence.
It is still a little too early to make a comparison between Dacosta and Dabo. With just four starts from his first ten league appearances, Dacosta hasn’t faced enough different challenges to fairly assess what he is capable of as both an attacking and defensive player. That said, the attacking side of his game looks to be stronger than the defensive side. Although he looks pretty strong in the challenge, Dacosta’s positioning has been found wanting on a few occasions – most notably in that FA Cup display against Norwich City – which is something he’ll need to improve upon. However, in attack, it’s not just the quality of Dacosta’s delivery that is impressive but also that he has the awareness to direct his final ball towards team-mates, rather than just being happy with putting it into a general dangerous area.
Once Fankaty Dabo is fully fit, there may be a difficult decision to be made as to who is our first-choice right wing-back. While there is talk of attempting to shoehorn both into the same team by playing one at left wing-back, it seems silly to me to play someone out of place just because you have two good players in the same position. It’s not the worst thing in the world to have two good options in the same position, which not only means you have quality cover in case of injury but hopefully drives each of the players to play as well as possible to hold down their place in the side. If Julien Dacosta proves to either be better than Fankaty Dabo or drives him to improve, it will have proven to be a smart piece of transfer business.