Officially signed on a permanent deal after a loan last season, Ben Sheaf will resume his Coventry City career with a point to prove. Seen as the long-term successor to Liam Kelly, Sheaf struggled to exert the same kind of calming influence in midfield as the club captain and found himself down the pecking order by the end of the campaign. Sheaf’s initial task this season will be to claim his place back in the side, his longer-term goal will be to demonstrate he has come out the other side of a difficult first year at the club a better player.
There have been glimpses that Sheaf could become a real asset for the team if he can both reduce the number of costly mistakes he makes and assert himself onto games more consistently. A technically-gifted midfielder, there were signs that Sheaf can really run a game from the centre of the park at his very best. Thus far though, the most concerning element of Sheaf’s performances have been that lack of assertiveness rather than the errors.
Nonetheless, it would be foolish not to believe that Ben Sheaf is capable of learning from a challenging first year in the second-tier. Devoid of the context of having seen him play, the prospect of signing a 23 year-old midfielder with 30 Championship appearances under his belt would be an exciting one. While that context cannot be removed, the fact it was Sheaf’s first year in the Championship last year should be an important caveat when analysing his performances. There is plenty of work for Ben Sheaf to do in order to become a success at Coventry City, but now that he is our player, it is worth handing him every possible opportunity to make this move work.