Cardiff City have struggled for midfield balance this season, with a number of players having filled the central areas but unable to find the perfect combination.
A midfield three of Whittingham, Olofinjana and Drinkwater has provided the best platform, but does not allow for the inclusion of Chopra. Similarly, Olofinjana’s contribution is reduced when playing in a central duo, as he prefers to sit deep and offers less mobility than others.
Whittingham again is not accustomed to a central role, but has adapted well to a new position and offers some much needed ball carrying ability to complement the more defensive minded players.
Squad players such as McPhail, Koumas and Gavin Rae have all tried but failed to break into the starting XI with all three desperately short of fitness and form.
Onc player who is yet to feature in the Championship this season, is youngster Aaron Wildig. The classy midfielder was over-used last season due to various injury problems for Dave Jones, but he gave a decent account of himself and bagged a consolation goal during a heavy defeat to runaway leaders Newcastle United. Another huge moment for Wildig was his header at home to set up Michael Chopra for that massive winning goal against rivals Swansea City.
With the influx of Malaysian investment, and subsequent capture of the likes of Olofinjana, and Manchester United loanee Danny Drinkwater – chances were always going to be extremely limited for Wildig this year. However, the club have been stunned by his incredible physical development over the past 6 months.
From a diminutive and subtle midfield playmaker, Aaron Wildig has become a physical presence after undergoing a strength and stamina regime to go with the maturation typical in 18 year old teenagers. The results have been staggering with Wildig bulking up as well as growing several inches. He is barely recognisable from last season’s Wildig and looks far better equipped to deal with the rigours and physicality of Championship football.
January is a crunch time for the talented Welsh youngster. If Dave Jones decided he does not feature in the first team this season, he must be given a loan opportunity. However, Wildig offers good vision, passing and work-rate marking him as a genuine central midfielder (McPhail & Olofinjana sit very deep, Rae lacks the passing and creativity) and, given his marked improvement, Jones would surely have less doubts about throwing him into the action.
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