Ryan Conway provides an expert opinion on Duane Holmes
- Expert opinion of Huddersfield Town’s new signing
- Athletic reporter discusses Duane Holmes
- Conway has been watching Holmes’ development
How will Duane Holmes fit in at Huddersfield Town? Derby County’s Athletic reporter Ryan Conway gave the lowdown on the midfielder!
What can Huddersfield Town fans expect from Duane Holmes?
Holmes will naturally bring a lot of energy to the side both on and off the ball. When he played and when Derby were using a half press or counter pressing system off the ball, he was often the first one to lead it and get up to his man quickly.
In many ways, his energy is what made him more of a utility player for Derby and often saw him out on the right wing; he could be trusted to track the opposition full-back and help his right back out with defensive duties.
When on the ball, he's direct. Especially when playing down the middle. I think his final ball/end product could improve (though there are reasons for its inconsistency) but there is no doubt that he was one of the Derby players who got the team up the pitch quickly with the ball at his feet.
How has he performed for Derby and adapted to the Championship?
His time at Derby was full of inconsistencies. Part of that was his own form and being unlucky with injuries, part of that was managers using him as a swiss army knife. He played at right back, right wing, holding midfielder, no10 and left wing.
He clearly possesses the speed to get at Championship defenders and close players down quickly. Never shirks a challenge. The fact he has been trusted to play so many positions shows he is tactically capable of taking information on board too.
What do you think he can add to this Huddersfield Town team?
I think under Carlos he could fit like a glove. Of course, he is from the Bielsa school which is all about pressing and movement - Holmes has that in spades. If he can just add a better final product to his game, he really could turn into a top midfielder in the division.
I think if he is asked to lead pressing phases and counters he'll set the tone with his relentlessness and directness. I think with players like Bacuna and Mbenza around him who will go beyond and free up spaces for him to run into then he'll have a lot of joy. Alternatively, if he’s played in a deeper role next to Hogg, he'll know he has defensive cover to push up the pitch from deep and create those overloads in the middle.
What would you say is his best position?
He's best down the middle. An 8 or 10 for sure. As mentioned before he is versatile but I don't think it's something he relishes. He wants to play down the middle and I think that is where he's most effective. He doesn't have the speed of a pure winger, and his crossing is too inconsistent.
When he gets the ball on the half turn and is sprinting down the middle with options ahead of him, he's a problem. He also has the tactical awareness to pull into pockets of space in the middle, something which isn't afforded to him when played out wide.