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Who is Josh McEachran?

Josh McEachran 2015

The Oxford-born midfielder was spotted at the age of seven by a Chelsea scout whilst playing for his local club Garden City. He signed for Chelsea’s academy and by the age of 17 he made his debut for the first team as a substitute in a Champions League match against MSK Zilina. McEachran went on to make 17 appearances in his debut season, becoming well known for his neat and tidy passing and excellent distribution of the ball from deep in the midfield. The young Englishman has struggled to find much time since then as he has been moved about on loan to various clubs such as Swansea, Watford, Wigan, and most recently Vitesse. But his career may take off sooner rather than later as just this summer he has made a permanent move to Championship team Brentford who finished 5th in last season.

Style of play, Strengths, and Weaknesses

Source: GSN Index SRC (Soccer related characteristics): Evaluation & characteristics (30+) which are essential for players +/- statistic: Based on performance data, players receive + and – scores for their actions on the field Potential: Modified economic and financial algorithms which show how a player will develop in the future Level of Play: The system rates and analyses every match a player has played in his entire career.

Source: GSN Index
SRC (Soccer related characteristics): Evaluation & characteristics (30+) which are essential for players
+/- statistic: Based on performance data, players receive + and – scores for their actions on the field
Potential: Modified economic and financial algorithms which show how a player will develop in the future
Level of Play: The system rates and analyses every match a player has played in his entire career

It’s hard to describe McEachran and his playing style without bringing up the Spanish and Barcelona legend Xavi. This is not to say that McEachran is the next Xavi or even a fraction as good as the Catalan magician, and trust me as a Brentford fan I would love nothing more than if this lad were Xavi reincarnate. What McEachran does share with the maestro is a unique ability to constantly be an outlet for players all over the field. The lad is consistently on the move and is always a release valve for his teammates whenever they get caught in a dead-end. This is something that cannot be overstated, as it is a skill that not many possess. McEachran facilitates this ability with his capacity to hold onto the ball in tight spaces and often with an opposition player right on top of him. This is another skill that he shares with Xavi and is how I can best describe McEachran’s talent. I’m sure many of you have seen Xavi and his magical ability to spin players as they close him down so that he can switch the play. McEachran has this same ability. You watch him receive a ball and just as the opposing player appears to have him under wraps and is about to strip him of the ball and he’ll spin the player around or play a strong pass away just at the last second. He looks very cool and composed on the ball always passing and then moving. Due to these attributes he is often utilized as a deep lying midfielder and is often partnered by a defensive midfielder who helps to cover him much in the way Busquets did for Xavi at Barcelona.

Now, even though I have lauded over this lad for a bit now, that is not to say Brentford have got the league and promotion wrapped up. The kid is still very raw. His short passing game is immaculate, and a very strong part of his game as he provides an outlet for his teammates and simply borrows the ball in order to protect it. But McEachran’s long passing needs improvement. He has the power to put the ball long and distribute the ball from deep, but his accuracy can be lacking at times as he often simply plays the ball into space which then requires his teammates to change their run and chase it. McEachran also struggles a bit in the final third of the field. When he is in his own half his passing is incisive and direct, but when on the attack he is lacking in his ability to play that final killer ball to the forward. He also needs to improve his goal tally, which is not surprising given that as a deep lying midfielder and thus does not often find himself far up the field. He does possess excellent close control, however, which allows him to ghost past players despite any remarkable amount of speed. This puts him in front of goal from time to time, but at the higher levels he has struggled to find the net consistently. Although goal scoring is a small part of his game and not one of the most vital given his position, he should still look to develop some accuracy in front of goal. This however should not be a deterrent from giving the lad playing time.

Although he may need to develop offensively, McEachran can more than handle himself defensively. When compared to Brentford’s two holding midfielders Douglas and Diagouraga, McEachran competes with them in both interceptions made per game and tackles won per game. The kid fights hard and times his tackles brilliantly when defending. He is often the one who recovers the ball and then helps transition to attack seamlessly.  Unlike with some young players, there should be no concerns about whether the stout 5’10’’ midfielder can handle himself with more physical and experienced players.

What does the future hold?

When he was still at Chelsea, being loaned out every season, his future was uncertain. McEachran has talent and potential, there is no doubt about that. Managers such as Ancelotti and Villas-Boas have both commented on the youngster’s skill and ability on the ball, but without the stability of playing week in and week out for the same team every year, potential can go unfulfilled.

Now that he has committed himself to Brentford there is a good chance that he can establish himself as an important player for the team and provide some support for players like Alex Pritchard and Jota who helped the team to a 5th place finish last year.

McEachran has made a good decision if he can force his way into the first team as Brentford have the ability to finish in a playoff spot again and even in one of the automatic promotion spots this coming season. If McEachran can help them achieve promotion then he could see himself competing in the Premier League in a couple of seasons and showcasing his talent on a big stage. This could prove to be a very important season for the young Englishman as he has an opportunity to live up to the hopes that have been placed on him and show everyone that he can compete at the top level.


Written by David Holmes

David Holmes

David Holmes

David Holmes is a University student with strong opinions and an even stronger passion for the game. He works hard to churn out articles and is working on making his own website soon.
David Holmes

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