100 Games In: Kyle McFadzean

A player whose impact had been caveated with a propensity for the occasional high-profile error, at 35 years old, it has been remarkable that Kyle McFadzean has largely stamped that out of his game this season. A key leadership figure in the side, Coventry City teams have tended to be more solid and competitive with McFadzean in the heart of the defence. The concern entering this campaign was that McFadzean’s legs wouldn’t be able to keep up with what his head wanted to do, but he has looked as fit and mobile as ever, making him even more effective in his role as a leader.

In a campaign where Coventry City have largely looked to dominate games by pushing up the pitch, Kyle McFadzean could have been a weak point in the defence due to his lack of pace. Although that has been punished on the odd occasion, playing in the middle of a back three means that the wide centre-backs can cover for him, allowing McFadzean to play aggressively against opposing centre-forwards, which is what he does best. Largely a functional player with the ball at his feet, McFadzean has added the occasional flourish of skill to his game to turn past opposing forwards to create time for himself in possession. It reflects McFadzean’s comfort in his role that he has been willing to add new tricks to his arsenal at this stage of his career.

The concern with players of Kyle McFadzean’s age is that the decline will be as interminable as it is sudden, yet there is little sign of that happening right now. The tough decision Mark Robins faces over this summer, or in the subsequent campaign, is how to plan to evolve the side beyond a player who may suddenly no longer be useful without prematurely doing away with an important leader who has shown who can still produce a strong level of performance. Arguably one of the players of the season for Coventry City, Kyle McFadzean has made it especially difficult for Mark Robins to plan for a future without him at the core of the team.

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