29th October, almost 6 weeks ago, we lost Ali Crawford through injury and in that moment we lost that creative edge that he had been providing since his arrival at the club. Since then, we have lacked that bright spark in the Number 10 role. Many have tried, few have succeeded. Christ we’ve even seen Chris O’Grady line up in behind Daryl Murphy. We’ve been longing for that central based playmaker that is exciting on the ball and looks to produce something with every pass, cross or bit of movement. Step forward, Ronan Darcy.
For the past few weeks I've been calling out for him to get his chance and a run of games in the team. When the lads are warming up pre-match and going through some finishing drills with Flicker, it isn’t uncommon to see Darcy putting away some absolute screamers. Granted, it’s only pre-match and counts towards nothing but what it does show is how technically capable this lad is.
In the car on the way to the game, once the team sheet was announced I said, “He’ll score a screamer him today.” With 20 minutes on the clock, after a delightful cross from Graham landed in Darcy’s path 20 yards out, I thought I was about to be proved right. Unfortunately, his effort narrowly missed the top right hand corner.
Consistent high quality deliveries from set pieces has been something we’ve massively missed in Crawford’s absence. Darcy might just well be the answer to that conundrum as well. His fantastic corner for Daryl Murphy’s 5th consecutive league goal was just another one of many throughout the game that he delivered.
This was Darcy’s first start for the club since Hill and Flitcroft came into the club and his first league start since August. Boy could you tell he enjoyed it, one thing fans love to see is young players playing with freedom and a smile on their face, if you’ll pardon the Ronan Keating pun. He demonstrated his worth and value to this team going forward. You can tell that the management team have a great relationship with him, especially Flitcroft. From that 90 minutes, you can understand why there is a buzz around him and why he is on the receiving end of Premier League interest.
He was the least experienced player on the pitch at the start of the game, but outshone every single one of them. Ronan, well done my friend. Keep up the hard work.