Huddersfield Town need no reminding just how important a high-quality Premier League loan can be to a successful season in the Championship.
Aaron Mooy was the star of their promotion-winning side back in 2016/17 whilst on loan from Manchester City. Kasey Palmer and Izzy Brown also contributed to that memorable season after signing from Chelsea.
Levi Colwill has followed in the latter pair’s footsteps this season and arrived in Huddersfield from Chelsea, embarking on his first journey into senior football.
How’s it gone so far?
Colwill hadn’t played a minute of senior football before arriving at Huddersfield, so there was, naturally, some intrigue to whether he could adapt to the Championship and Carlos Corberan’s demanding style.
He’s answered any questions emphatically, too.
The 18-year-old debuted in the League Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday and has, subsequently, gone on to make seven appearances in eight of Huddersfield’s Championship fixtures.
Colwill has missed only two fixtures across all competitions: Everton in the League Cup and Stoke City in the Championship. He was rested on both occasions.
Corberan has experimented with Colwill at left-back in a heavy defeat to Fulham, but the bulk of his football has come on the left of a three-man defensive unit, where he’s thrived and help tighten up the Championship’s worst defence from 2020/21.
The stats don’t lie either. As per whoscored.com, Colwill has a pass success of 80.6% in the Championship, wins 2.9 aerial duels per 90, averages 3.9 clearances and one block. He’s also scored once, a memorable winner in a late 2-1 victory over Sheffield United.
What issues does he face?
It’s been such a good start for Colwill at Huddersfield. He looks the part in the Championship and the expectation is that he won’t be kicking around at this level for too long.
Not many sides have been able to stretch him defensively and he’s not had any standout issues in the opening months of the season.
There was, though, a rare occasion last Saturday in the 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest where Colwill was caught out by Brennan Johnson. The Forest winger sized up the centre-back and skipped around him easily on 22 minutes, teeing up Lewis Grabban for the game’s opening goal.
On that occasion, Colwill was caught out by one of the Championship’s speedsters. He should have taken Johnson out and risked a yellow card. It will be something he has to, and will, learn from.
More of the same.
Colwill has been part of a very encouraging start to the season for Huddersfield. They’ve collected 13 points from the opening eight fixtures and will be confident of heading down to Swansea City this Saturday to compete for three points.
In terms of individually, Colwill will be looking to put his misjudgement with Johnson behind him and return to his usual, flawless self.
Later in the season, there’s the expectancy that Pipa’s return will see Huddersfield revert to a 4-3-3 system, which offers Colwill a different type of challenge. He’s thrived in a 3-5-2/3-4-3 so far, but would be under more pressure in a flat four. That, though, is a challenge he will meet head on, just as he has with everything else in this impressive start.
The arrival of players like Colwill and their adaption to life at the John Smith’s Stadium has built early season optimism, very much like the 2016/17 campaign did.
It’s too early to say that Huddersfield will repeat what they achieved under David Wagner. In truth, it’s ridiculous for anyone to even be thinking about that right now.
Sides that compete at the top of the division have that Premier League quality within their squad, often relying on the top-flight loan system.
Whatever happens this season, Huddersfield have chipped into that market and Colwill is threatening to be one of the summer’s best captures.