Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes says there aren’t too many players as good at breaking up play as Hamza Choudhury. The duo are on Young Lions duty currently.
Hamza Choudhury burst on to the main stage Premier League scene during the 2018/19 season with outstanding performances versus big six cornerstones Chelsea and Manchester City, in particular. He also displayed grit, determinatmidfielderand expertise as a dogged defensive midfielder against lesser teams in the division and on League Cup outings.
Although, Hamza, as the Blue Army simply refer to the player of Bangladeshi and Grenadian decent, is not a one-dimensional player. In a somewhat bizarre seeming move at the time but now understandable, Claude Puel used Choudhury as a makeshift, or auxiliary, right midfield agent. That was only in sections of one or two matches. In those positions the academy graduate was eager but raw. Having a variety of uses will, however, bolster his premiership career.
While another former Leicester youth player, Harvey Barnes – who knows Choudhury well and is now making his mark on the Foxes first team – suggests his team-mate is one of the best specialist players around. Among all professional footballers, Barnes indicates Choudhury as being exceptionally proficient at making challenges, reading opponents’ play and breaking it up:
“I have grown up with Hamza for years now. He is a great player to have on the pitch. I don’t think there are many players like him that are as good as him at the other side of the game.
“We have got a lot of quality but it helps having a player like that who is so good off the ball.
“I think in the modern game, all the creative players have to be able to do the other side of the game.
“Even if you watch Lionel Messi, he will still be given challenges to do off the ball. I think it massive.
“For us as young players, it is something we are working on all the time because we know how important it is.”
That is high praise indeed from another gifted performer who knows the Fox thoroughly. Presently the pair are with England’s Under-21s or Young Lions on international duty preparing for the Euros.
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Will Rodgers start Choudhury for Leicester City in 2019/20?
Whilst Choudhury has impressed at Leicester in his short time with the first XI, he has one major obstacle in becoming a starter: Wilfred Ndidi. The Nigerian is only a year older than his counterpart, but is established as City’s starting bulldog in that intense position. Though, because of Ndidi’s wayward short passing – an aspect Rodgers has identified as a weakness – his performances vary.
Yet Ndidi is a valued cog in Leicester’s wheel; making Choudhury’s task ever more difficult with Rodgers regularly relying on only one player of that ilk. When playing the so called big six the Northern Irishman does field two defensive central midfielders in a ploy to stifle talented opposition. Maybe that scenario or unforseen injury is when the England Under-21 competitor can make Ndidi’s monopoly tentative – as well as taking the mantle. Oh, and Papy Mendy was impressive in the role on occasion too.