Defensive dilemmas for Nathan Jones as Gabriel Osho impresses again
Gabriel Osho put in yet another marvellous performance on Tuesday evening, with the 23-year-old looking to cement himself in the starting XI for what remains of this Championship season.
The former Reading man is a true athlete who typifies Nathan Jones’ shift to recruiting players who can physically impose themselves on the opposition.
Osho also reads the game exceptionally well, with the young defender making 14 interceptions during Tuesday night’s victory over Swansea City.
Meeting the modern demands of a central defender, Osho is also comfortable in possession and has the technical capabilities to operate as the more central option of a back three.
As well as making us appreciate the standard of our defensive line at present, Osho’s recent performances mean that competition levels are currently going through the roof.
Osho played next to Kal Naismith and Reece Burke against the Swans, with Tom Lockyer, Sonny Bradley and even Peter Kioso good options at Championship level for a spot in the backline.
Things often change quickly in football, but as we stand, and in this form, there are not too many clubs in the second-tier, if any, with the kind of depth that we possess within our backline.
Saturday’s FA Cup clash allows Nathan Jones to alternate his defensive options, although, the 48-year-old has spoken about not making too many changes.
Bradley could be available on the weekend, and whilst he has looked an integral part of the starting XI this season, it remains to be seen whether he can regain that status when fully fit.
At the moment, Naismith is undroppable and is proving to be one of the best defenders in the division, whilst Burke is not far off that level.
And, when considering the options available to use, where we signed these players from is an excellent reminder of the excellent recruitment that our club engages in.
Burke joined us after struggling to play consistently for Hull City during their promotion from League One last time out, whilst Osho was on the fringes at Reading before his release.
Naismith was brought in last January from Wigan Athletic when the Latics were battling away for third-tier survival.
Bradley was another third-tier acquisition when he arrived in 2018, whilst Lockyer was heading for League One with Charlton Athletic.
And whilst he primarily operates a full-back, Kioso has displayed that he is a more than competent right-sided centre-back, with the 22-year-old a signing from the non-league.
It will be an interesting and exciting battle to see who picks up regular minutes as the season progresses, with there likely to be plenty of twists and turns.