10 Games In: Josh Wilson-Esbrand

Coming into the club in January looking for a first taste of regular men’s football, it has been a difficult adaptation period for Josh Wilson-Esbrand and one that will probably take too long for Coventry City to see the full benefits of. There have been flickers of just why Josh Wilson-Esbrand has been around the Manchester City first-team during the brief cameos and occasional starts that the youngster has had, but he has yet to string it together into a complete performance that has genuinely made much of a notable impact. With the ability to last 90 minutes also appearing to be an issue for Wilson-Esbrand, he has yet to provide a reason for Mark Robins to entrust him with a regular starting role in the Sky Blues’ starting XI.

With Josh Wilson-Esbrand’s ten league appearances for Coventry City equating to less than five full 90 minutes, it still feels as if his set of skills is yet to become fully apparent. He looks to have some good bursts of skill and acceleration, along with the comfortable control of the ball that would be expected of a top Premier League academy player, but converting that into a genuine threat to opposing defences has yet to come for Wilson-Esbrand. It has perhaps been an awkward adaptation from a Manchester City-style inverted full-back – i.e. a full-back who tucks inside when the team is on the ball to help retain possession – to the attacking wing-back role expected of him at Coventry City, which is why Wilson-Esbrand often appears to be assessing his options when on the ball, rather than driving at opposing defenders on instinct. Defensively, Wilson-Esbrand isn’t the strongest, but he hasn’t really looked a weak-link and wasn’t brought in as a pure defender anyway.

This loan spell is likely to end up being of greater benefit to Josh Wilson-Esbrand himself, rather than Coventry City. That first loan is often about learning just what senior football means and how intense it can be when points and livelihoods are on the line, it is an especially difficult adaptation when arriving in January and with a senior, established player ahead of Wilson-Esbrand in his position, in Jake Bidwell. Over the course of these first ten league appearances, Wilson-Esbrand has looked increasingly assured of himself and is getting close to nailing down that left wing-back slot. However, he looks like he requires another ten or so matches to get to the level at which to show what he is truly capable of, which is not available to him at Coventry City. It is likely that another club will benefit from the blooding that the Sky Blues have handed Josh Wilson-Esbrand.

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