The father of Watford target Joe Bryan saved former Bristol City director Gary Johnson’s life. His son has been lined up to rescue the Hornets out of relegation.
Left-back Bryan, who now plays Fulham, came through the Robins’ academy and in 2017 his dad, Alan, was the advisor in charge of the operation as Johnson underwent triple bypass operation.
Bryan’s supervisor at the time, Johnson’s son Lee, said, “He is a top player. But don’t forget he’s a terrific person and his daddy’s a fantastic person. His father saved my dad’s life, so we’re quite close families today.”
Watford’s predicament is not that serious. However, the Hornets’ treatment area is definitely chock full. That’s the reason new head coach Nigel Pearson has allegedly established a £10million raid for the 24-year-old left-back.
Irrespective of the injury woes, Watford were going to need to do something at left-back this summer. Holebas will be 36 by the time his contract is up at the end of June and has shown signs of decrease this year.
But the Moroccan has fought to fully convince. He has not been helped by Holebas’ remarkable exercise record, but when opportunities are presented he has struggled to grasp them.
Bryan, then, would be just as much a solution for the present as time goes on. But that’s far from perfect and reinforcements have to be sought.
What immediately becomes evident when viewing Bryan is his similarity to Femenía. This is reflected in the fact that he was a left-sided utility guy in the first years of his career, not necessarily nailing down a particular part in Bristol City’s side.
He played 28 times in the Premier League for Fulham last season after a £6million change from Ashton Gate but couldn’t avoid the Cottagers making a direct return to the Championship. That is no slight on him though, and Bryan was among those few who rose from last year’s catastrophe with any credit in the bank.
More could have been expected of this 5ft 10in defender this year, however, and he’s shown defensive lapses. As an attacking full-back by his character, he’s more likely to leaving space in behind to possess a nice quantity of recovery speed — enough to form the floor against most wingers.
Having said that, as a one time defender, he’s quick, tenacious and difficult to beat. In the Championship this year, Bryan has won 2.15 of the 3.15 tackles he’s tried per 90. Only two full-backs have finished, given Fulham average 59.6 percent of the chunk, which is an impressive ratio.
Along with the 24-year-old considers working under former Whites midfielder Scott Parker has benefitted the defensive side of the game.
We do a good deal more investigation work in training.
“I did play wing-back before, but I am a left-back and always seen myself as a left-back. I’m far more comfortable in that position.”
Bryan’s real strength, however, lies in his ability going forward. Always prepared to bomb forward and support the attack — Bryan finishes 0.81 of 1.16 attempted dribbles this year — he boasts impressive shipping and can cross comfortably from shallow or deep positions, providing a real variety to his game.
Ranking sixth for finished crosses by full-backs at England’s second tier, Bryan joins with 0.77 per 90 and has provided three assists. Two of these are out of open-play, and just 3 full-backs have supplied more this year.
Finally, assists hinge on other players completing the chances that you create, however, and a more accurate reflection of his imagination comes from the fact no Championship full-back can better the six significant Chances he has carved out this year, a rate of 0.25 per 90.
His 81.8 touches per 90 talk of a player who’s heavily involved despite nominally being a guardian, while his 0.99 shots only serve to underline his attacking intent.
Just Manchester City and Liverpool have picked up more points than Watford in that time — evidence it’s minor instead of major surgery required in January. Time will tell whether Bryan will extend the Hornets’ top-flight stay.