When Coventry City signed a young, technically-impressive centre-back in the January transfer window, there was a concern that it wouldn’t address the naivety and lack of physicality at the back that the team had been suffering from in the absence of Kyle McFadzean. What has been most impressive about Luke McNally is just how consistently good he has been at the basic fundamentals of defending, playing the role of a defender with significantly more experience of the game than he has. McNally has instantly improved Coventry City’s defence and, along with Kyle McFadzean, has turned an area of weakness into a strength.
It is Luke McNally’s positioning and timing in the challenge, along with his pace, that are his stand-out qualities as a defender. He is rarely caught out of position and, when he is, it is not just that McNally is fast enough to recover, but his technique and ability to pick the right moment to make challenges is what makes him so hard to beat. In fact, it is hard to recall any times where McNally has been beaten by an opponent since joining the club. On the other side of the ball, McNally is confident striding out with the ball at his feet, although his passing itself is probably the weakest area of his game – particularly, the bigger passes to open up the game that his colleague, Callum Doyle, has in his locker.
The loan signing of Luke McNally has been a huge success for both Coventry City and the player. For the Sky Blues, it has added a much-needed additional commanding figure at the back, which has benefitted defensive players such as Callum Doyle and Ben Wilson, as well as the team as a whole. For Luke McNally, he has gone from barely playing any football at Burnley to establishing himself as one of better centre-backs in the Championship at his first year at this level of football. If there is any chance of making this move permanent, Coventry City really should be doing everything they can to make it so, as Luke McNally would become both the present and future of the team’s defence. The only concern with McNally is that he may be playing a little too well and been noticed by both his parent club, or other, richer Championship clubs, ahead of plans for next season.