Huddersfield Town winger Sorba Thomas has enjoyed a whirlwind 2021 that has led him from the National League to the Wales squad.
Carlos Corberan has developed 22-year-old magnificently, giving Thomas the perfect amount of time to adapt to new surroundings before unleashing him on the Championship.
This time last year, many Huddersfield fans would have been forgiven for not knowing who Thomas was. He was pulling up trees for Boreham Wood at non-league level, catching the eye of sides in the EFL.
On January 13th, Huddersfield hit the gas and swooped to sign Thomas on a contract until the summer of 2024, with a further 12-month option in the club’s favour.
Initially, there was some underwhelmed reaction from supporters:
honestly who is that
— dyl (@dyl06369534) January 13, 2021
@rickywagg11 cheap option again 🤦🏻♂️
— Andy fortis (@fortis_andy) January 13, 2021
Another signing for the development team 🤷🏻♂️ When are we going to see some first team signings?
— Nick Jagger (@NickJagger6) January 13, 2021
— will (@will9ii) January 13, 2021
Others, though, were slightly more enthused by the arrival of Thomas.
His reputation had been growing in the National League and Huddersfield were hardly putting millions on the line.
The gamble has paid off, with Thomas thriving under Corberan as a right wing-back in 2021/22. He’s been ever-present in the Championship, contributing a goal and eight assists, helping Town compete for an embryonic place in the top-six.
A reward for that has been a call-up and debut with Wales, who he is currently working with during the November international break.
Given Thomas had arrived from the National League and the fact he had such a limited impact in seven Championship appearances last season, nobody at Huddersfield saw that coming, even Corberan.
However, Huddersfield were warned that this could be a shrewd signing back in January by a host of rival fans on Twitter:
He's a cracking player. Best player I've seen against Hartlepool in years. Huddersfield have got themselves a good player
— Chris (@durhamchris1983) January 13, 2021
he’s a decent player tbh mate
— jude (@drfcjude) January 13, 2021
Like the look of this move. Had a good grounding at Boreham Wood but clearly ready for next step.
Glad he's joined a club willing to give players time to develop. https://t.co/pRfTY64EyU
— Ryan Deeney (@RyanDeeney2194) January 13, 2021
Very interesting signing. Good deal for both parties, a standout player in the national league, hopefully he pushes on better than Reece Brown done signing from Forest Green from League 2. Interesting to know if the £2m fee is true. https://t.co/LcIh3WoGnf
— Seán Walker (@SeanWalkerSport) January 13, 2021
Mixed reaction, then, when Huddersfield opted to bypass two divisions and take their punt on Thomas.
Fortune favours the brave, though, as Thomas’ whirlwind 2021 continues this week with Wales caps three and four potentially on the cards.