Position: Central Midfielder/ Right-Sided Midfielder
Age: 19 *
At Club Since: N/A (Academy Product)
Total Club League Appearances (Goals): 51(7) *
Having become the key player for this side, it’s easy to forget that Tom Bayliss is still a young player learning the game. Having 50 league appearances while also having a tangible achievement in last season’s promotion under his belt, Tom Bayliss has done a lot more for us than recent star academy products but there is still a sense that he is still refining his game. A tall presence in midfield who has the balance and technique to glide past opposition players in the centre of the park, where Bayliss can still improve is in his execution and decision-making when it comes to making that final pass in the positions his ability can take him into.
This season has seen Bayliss establish himself firmly as a central midfielder, having been effective last season playing from the right of midfield. Bayliss’ ability to drive forward with the ball from deep is much more destructive in the centre of the pitch and opens the game up for us far more than when he’s farmed out on the right, or even on the occasions when he’s been used further up the pitch and has struggled to get into the game. At times, it has appeared that Bayliss has operated on a different wavelength than his team-mates, asking players to make runs with his passes that haven’t occurred to them, sometimes Bayliss has been guilty of underhitting passes or shots having done all the right things beforehand to get into dangerous areas. However, focusing on end product obscures just how much of an impact Bayliss being on the pitch and driving at opponents makes on the game all-round.
Unlike previous star academy products, we have been able to hold onto Bayliss beyond his initial impact and are starting to see the process of him rounding out his game. At Coventry City, there is a temptation to believe that our best players are set to leave before they’re actually sold. While Bayliss is surely set for bigger things, with the right supporting cast around him and with fingers crossed, maybe we can hold onto his coattails for the ride a little longer.
*As of 19/01/2019