Earlier on today, Coventry full back Cyrus Christie completed a move to Championship side Derby County signing a three year deal.
The 21 year old has been an excellent player for the Sky Blues since he was promoted from the academy back in 2010 but his form post January was near appalling and he looked a shadow of his former self.
Many fans have put this down to Christie’s head being turned in January after reports surfaced that various clubs were interested in his services though no formal offers were made.
Christie has played at championship level before and not looked out of place but if his poor form from this year carries over, the higher quality wingers from the Championship will make easy work of him. This has led me to question whether Cyrus will cut it at a higher level this coming season for Derby.
Despite his poor recent form, Christie is a very good player. He has all the attributes to kick on and play at the highest level with raw pace and power that few players can match.
He is a serious attacking threat and terrorised many full backs during his time at city. A major positive for Derby is that current Rams’ captain Richard Keogh played with Christie during his time at Coventry and they made up half of a very solid defence which is shown by the fact that despite Coventry being relegated, during the 2011/12 season, seventeen teams conceded more than City.
Another positive is his versatility as he can play at centre back as well as right back.
However, Christie has a main issue that just can’t be glossed over which is his defensive capabilities can be called into question.
Forgetting how good he is attacking wise, his primary job as a defender is to actually defend and when that is a key problem in his game, it opens up the question as to whether he’ll be able to perform against better opposition.
It’s an area of his game that needs a lot of work. Another issue is that his final ball is usually poor and undoes the work that he has put in to get into a good position.
Whether Christie will cut it? Only time will tell. There’s a reason we rejected a £1.5 million bid for him from Huddersfield in August 2013. That’s because on his day, he was the best in league one and better than the majority of right backs in the championship.
But major improvements to his game are needed. I have already stated that defensively, he needs a lot of work but since McClaren joined Derby, he has been getting the best out players who have looked poor in the past with examples like Craig Forsyth and Jake Buxton.
Rams’ fans will be hoping for another repeat of this. If, and its a fairly big if, it happens, Christie could go on to be one of Derby’s best players next season.