Jake Bidwell came under-fire in Swansea City’s last outing against Queens Park Rangers, but is it time for Steve Cooper to drop the full-back?
He’s a player with great Championship experience with over 200 appearances for Brentford, whom he captained, and 97 appearances in three seasons at QPR.
But amidst the West London club’s expenditure cuts in the summer, Bidwell’s contract was not renewed and he was snapped by by Swansea.
He seemed to be a shrewd piece of business – his Swansea career started brightly and he looked to be thriving with his new club. He was a key part of the Swansea side that won seven of their opening eight in all competitions, but when the club’s formed tumbled from September on, so did Bidwell’s.
The Southport-born Bidwell has played 21 times in the Championship for Swansea this season, starting the vast majority of them. He’s managed to stay fit but has missed a few games through suspensions, and has been benched for others.
His fall from form though was highlighted in his side’s 5-1 defeat at QPR in the FA Cup Third Round last weekend. A terrible team and defensive performance from Swansea, but Bidwell stuck out against his former club as a particular weak link in that Swansea defence.
For Bright Osayi-Samuel’s goal, QPR’s second of the day, Bidwell was dispossessed far too easily and far too close to his own goal, resulting in an easy goal for the home side.
A forgettable afternoon in-front of the QPR crowd who revered Bidwell in his time there, he seemed a completely different player on his return.
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He’s not a modern full-back, in fact, he’s very much an old fashioned one – he’s a powerful, hard-tackling and sensible left-back who won’t be caught way too far up the pitch. He’s a bread and butter full-back, but is that the issue?
Swansea are a team famed with bringing ‘tiki-taka’ football into the Premier League under Brendan Rodgers all them years back, and that reputation has stuck with them to this day. Fans expect every Swansea side to adopt that method, and to play fast, exciting football.
Bidwell is neither a fast or exciting player. Acquiring him on a free would be a bargain for any Championship club but does he really suit Swansea and Cooper’s style of play?
There’s still plenty of football to play this season and plenty of time for Bidwell to prove himself in South Wales, but whether he’ll get enough chances to do so after his recent performances is disputed.