It has been a bitter loan spell so far for the highly related forward, Harry Wilson, as he has struggled to hit the ground running during his time with Cardiff City.
He joined from Liverpool in October on a temporary basis in a big to impress the powers that be at the Reds or to attract offers from elsewhere with just two years remaining on his current Anfield contract.
However, his time in the Welsh capital hasn’t lived up to the billing it should of.
The 23-year-old impressed in his previous loan spells at Derby County and more recently, AFC Bournemouth last season.
LFC Transfer Room spoke to John and James from CCFC Related – a Cardiff City fan page on how the promising winger has fared in the Championship.
How has Wilson performed?
The Bluebirds have struggled in the Championship this season, they currently sit just five points off the relegation zone.
As a result of poor performances and league position, manager Neil Harris was sacked and replaced by the experienced tactician that is Mick McCarthy.
John from CCFC Related feels that he hasn’t lived up to his promising reputation he had prior to arriving in South East Wales, he said:
“He has underperformed significantly. We have seen glimpses of his talent, but for a £15 million player, the consistency hasn’t been there.
“Not quite sure if he is capable of playing on the Wing for us and having a profound impact on the game.” he added.
The Welshman has predominantly featured on the wings with a few stints in the central attacking position.
So far this campaign, he has three goals and six assists in 19 games, which for a player of his potential and calibre that he has shown in his short career already, isn’t good enough.
James added: “He has been above average at best.
“He’s a hard worker on the pitch which is always appreciated here at Cardiff, and it’s not like he’s exactly come into a team bursting with confidence.
Since the Irish manager took over at the club, this has seen the resurgence of other Reds loanee, Sheyi Ojo.
This has saw the 23-year-old drop to the bench with questions arising over Wilson’s training performances.
“He’s definitely shown sparks of his quality (such as his goal against Barnsley) however with Mick McCarthy dropping him in his first game in charge, there might be an underlying issue in his motivation to train.” James continued.
Expectation vs Reality?
The sad reality of this loan spell for Wilson is that it hasn’t been what many Liverpool and Cardiff fans wanted and at least hoped.
This could be down to a number of factors. Like the aforementioned poor league position and results under Neil Harris could be a reason.
However, another reason raised by John was the poor use from the ex-Millwall manager.
John explained: “Neil Harris’ use of Wilson was especially poor. We have seen him extremely isolated out wide and this has cut a frustrated figure in Wilson.
“He works very hard and always gives 110%. But overall team performances have been dire, and we aren’t a team full of confidence post Warnock.
“I must say when Wilson arrived, we thought we would walk the league. However we’ve had a rude awakening on the fragility of the team.
“A lot of our problems aren’t linked to Wilson underperforming.” He added.
Neil Harris’ Impact
Harris was keen on utilising the Liverpool loanee fielding him in all but two games, that the 23-year-old missed through injury.
Since Mick McCarthy arrived, he has played once providing fellow Welshman Kieffer Moore with the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Millwall.
On whether Harris utilised Wilson correctly, James said: “Simple answer: No.
“Harris was asking a lot of Wilson, and was expecting him to carry the team game in game out.
“Wingers struggled to make an impact this season and I believe that was down to Harris’ tactics, and failure to play to Wilson’s strengths.
Furthermore, James and John both touched upon how they hoped Wilson would sit just behind their towering forward, Kieffer Moore.
James continued, “At Cardiff were hoping to see Wilson play central, just behind Kieffer Moore.
Wilson was usually ousted to the wing, where he’d get little support from underwhelming holding midfielders and defensive minded fullbacks.
The Mick McCarthy Affect
During his time at Frank Lampard’s Derby County, Wilson scored 18 goals in 49 appearances with six assists.
He sprung onto the scene with a terrific free-kick in the Carabao Cup against Manchester United – which the outsiders went on to triumph in the penalty shootout.
James said: “Wilson’s talented is unquestionable, but I believe Harris’ failure to play him in an optimal system is one factor that led to him getting the sack .
We’re all hoping here at Cardiff that Mick McCarthy plays Wilson in his more natural position where he can influence games weekly.
Against Millwall, McCarthy fielded Wilson in the ‘number 10 role’ and that’s where the promising youngster seemed to flourish.
He came on as a number 10 and it suited him well being able to drive the ball forward.
“He had a couple of long shots which went over but at least it showed he was trying. Mentality was great so can’t fault that either.“
Prior to the appointment, John noted that the Wrexham-born attacker looks a shade of his previous self and pointed out his ‘low confidence’.
John said: “Wilson looks short on confidence, many of his goals in the Championship have been screamers.
“At the moment he looks shot of confidence, we are hoping new management will restore his confidence.
A disappointing outcome, John outlined the root of the problem: “It must be noted Neil Harris , was thought of as completely inept by the majority of Cardiff fans.
“So this may have severely impacted Wilson’s performances.“
However as it seems, Wilson needs to prove his ability on the training pitch first before he’ll be trusted to play.
What does Wilson’s Cardiff Future Hold?
With the pre season expectations now seemingly on the back burner for now, the playoffs aren’t entirely out of the sight with the Bluebirds just nine points off Bournemouth, 10 places above McCarthy’s men.
Part of the problem previously was leaking goals at the other end with Cardiff being the highest goal scorers in the bottom 12.
Under Mick McCarthy, James is hopeful Wilson can kickstart his career there after stagnated start: “In terms of improving the team, Wilson can become a natural forward when playing with the likes of Murphy, Ojo and Moore who all have their own different qualities.
“Link up play with Moore is vital to us moving up the table. Wilson has to take on the ball from our weaker midfielders, especially going forwards as we lack in the creative department significantly.
“We’re hoping Mick comes in and tighten up our defence to let players like Wilson have more freedom up the pitch.
If everything goes according to plan, I’m sure the best of Harry Wilson in a Cardiff shirt is yet to come.
To keep up to date with Harry Wilson’s performances in Wales, make sure you follow Cardiff City Football Club Related on Twitter (@CCFCRelated).