Stephen McPhail’s first season as a Cardiff City player was a strange one.
Initially, the former Leeds Utd and Barnsley man formed an instant and important partnership with Riccy Scimeca – building a base for the fantastic start. His quick passing and intelligent movement wer a joy to watch and you wondered why he was still playing at the level after instrumenting numerous chances with crisp, precise passing.
However, as the pitches wore, and teams afforded him less space – his form dipped worryingly. Gone were the through-balls and ‘killer’ passes and he looked hurried and lacking confidence as passes went sideways or backwards.
Some fans lost faith in his ability, Dave Jones however did not and rejected a large bid for his services while opening talks on a new contract with the player.
Now though, McPhail’s best mate Chopra has left the club. Next door neighbours in the Vale of Glamorgan, and former team-mates at Barnsley, the pair were good friends on and off the pitch while Chopra attributes several of his goals to the Irishman. Chopra once joked that he only need look at McPhail and he knew where to put the pass.
Whether McPhail will now be less effective without his big mate remains to be seen – they did form a good partnership. However, McPhail on his day looks class and there is no denying he has a big influence on Cardiff City’s play.
Whether playing with Riccy Scimeca or Gavin Rae, McPhail must press on this season and become more consistent and adapt his game on the soggier surfaces and against more pressing teams.
A big season for the Irishman, he may even score!
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