Marc Iles ran a story the other day posing that Wanderers might have to hold fire on signing free agent, Peter Odemwinge due to the injury that Tom Thorpe sustained against Millwall. This injury which is going to keep out the loanee for around 4 weeks (close to the end of his loan deal) leaves Wanderers short in centre midfield. We've already suffered 2 casualties in Mark Davies and Darren Pratley leaving us with Jay Spearing, Derik Osede, Josh Vela and Liam Trotter. Why spend valuable cash on bringing in a new player when we have a player, whom is better than Thorpe in my opinion, on the bench? No I'm not talking about Liam Trotter (shock), I'm talking about Derik.
I had planned to write something similar when I first saw the Millwall team sheet. Thorpe was played despite having been ill in the days previous. In fairness to Thorpe, he had been brilliant in his last game but I still questioned the logic of putting in a less than fit player when we had Derik on the bench.
First of all, why do I think Derik is better? Well as far as centre midfielders go he's the complete package: Quick, strong, great range of passing, comfortable on the ball, good in the air and as pointed out in my defensive analysis piece last year he has outstanding awareness. Ultimately I feel he would make a great centre back but it speaks volumes of his talent with the ball that he would be an above average midfielder in this league. He does have some areas he needs to work on; one example being he forgets you can be dispossessed more physically in this league and will keep the ball in situations that you'd rather he didn't.
The first time I ever saw Derik was enough to convince me we had a good player on our hands. It was at one of our few wins last year against Wolverhampton Wanderers. He and Prince were the centre back pairing against one of the most lethal strike partnerships in the league and they absolutely cleaned up. They were amazing in the air, dealt with the pace of Afobe and nullified Adam Le Fondre. They got rid when needed but also knew when to play from the back. Their short lived partnership was a rare highlight last year. While it has been rocky for Derik since then, it has been rare that he's had a performance under a 6/10.
I really do believe that we do have a good player on our hands be it at centre back or defensive midfield. I hope Phil Parkinson gives him the chance his ability warrants and I just hope he takes it.