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Opinion: Huddersfield Town have combatted defender’s departure with 26-year-old yet they still need to replace top-class talent

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Huddersfield Town’s play-off final defeat came less than a month ago, yet planning at the John Smith’s Stadium is already well underway for the 2022/23 campaign. 

Swiftly following a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest was the club’s retained list, which was headlined by Naby Sarr, who actually started at Wembley, departing West Yorkshire after a couple of seasons.

That decision was justified in the last couple of weeks by the unsurprising arrival of Will Boyle, who has rejoined Huddersfield some years after departing the club having progressed through the youth setup.

Boyle has developed in the lower leagues since then and, most recently, was on the books with Cheltenham Town.

The 26-year-old was Cheltenham’s captain and has over 200 career appearances under his belt. Yet, Leigh Bromby (Head of Football Operations) has outlined how Huddersfield feel he can still develop under Carlos Corberan’s coaching.

As a left-footed centre-back, he combats what Huddersfield have lost by Sarr’s release and Levi Colwill heading back to Chelsea after a superb loan.

Despite the fact that Huddersfield have outlined how they hope Boyle can develop, there will be some belief that his addition plugs the gap left by Sarr, rather than Colwill.

Sarr was Huddersfield’s fourth choice centre-back last season behind Colwill, Tom Lees and Matty Pearson. Then, towards the end of the campaign, Jonathan Hogg even dropped into the back-three.

It’s no slant on Sarr, who still had a massive contribution in Huddersfield finishing third and reaching the play-off final, that a defender stepping out of League One should be able to cover his departure with relative ease.

What Huddersfield have to look to do, though, is find a replacement for Colwill this summer.

Pearson, Lees, Sarr and now Boyle are all run-of-the-mill centre-backs; they are reliable and the type of players you need to be successful in the Championship. Yet, they lack that natural, top-class talent like Colwill.

Loans like that are, admittedly, hard to come by. Yet, Huddersfield have proved themselves as a real hub for Premier League players to develop and thrive. If you were a Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City or Liverpool, you’d look no further than the John Smith’s Stadium to loan your top talent.

You’d like to think Huddersfield might just pick up another Colwill this summer.

Alternatively there’s Rarmani Edmonds-Green to come back into the fold after a superb loan of his own at Rotherham United. However, he’s going to be competing for either Pearson or Lees’ shirt given he’s right-footed and you have to recognise their importance. Corberan will be reluctant to gamble on the raw 23-year-old rather than that reliant duo.

Boyle turns that duo into a trio, like Sarr did. However, his arrival doesn’t answer the question of what’s next following Colwill’s return to Chelsea.

An answer for that will hopefully be forthcoming, as Huddersfield continue to plot going one step further in 22/23.

Quiz: Can you name which club these 27 ex-Huddersfield Town players are playing for now?

1 of 27

Jack Hunt


Alfie is a journalist based in Yorkshire with years of experience covering the EFL. A current focus on Huddersfield Town and their fortunes back in the Championship, but out and about at as many games as possible. Covered Leeds United during their promotion-winning season in 2019/20.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Huddersfield Town have combatted defender’s departure with 26-year-old yet they still need to replace top-class talent

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