This article is part of Football League World’s ‘What does the future hold?’ series, this content strand is where we evaluate and subjectively debate a player’s future at their current club…
Lewis O’Brien has been a shining light in a rather bleak season for Huddersfield Town as they look to secure their place in the Sky Bet Championship.
A product of the West Yorkshire side’s academy, O’Brien has already formed a relationship with the Town fans but his performances on the pitch this season have been seen him become one of Danny Cowley’s most influential players. He has certainly shone this season in a campaign of very little highlights as Huddersfield have struggled to adapt to life back in the Championship after two years in the Premier League.
It hasn’t been easy for O’Brien with the Terriers though; he was shipped out on loan just last season to Bradford City as they would be relegated out of League One at the end of the 2018/2019 season. O’Brien was also one of the few positives for Bradford that season with his performances clearly catching the eye of Huddersfield when his loan had come to an end. The 21-year-old certainly did enough to impress Jan Siewert as he was thrown into the starting 11 for just the second game of the Championship season.
Even following the departure of the German manager, O’Brien was involved in the first team as they looked to recover from their awful start of the campaign. The Englishman has been deployed in a similar role under Siewert and Danny Cowley, he has been used as one of the two holding midfielders in Town’s 4-2-3-1 system. During his spell with the Bantams, he was a key component in their midfield with his ability to link defence and attack allowing Bradford to create opportunities at the top end of the pitch.
His time with his parent club is going a very similar way as they struggle at the bottom end of the Championship and despite his young age, his teammates will be looking to learn from the experience he gained during his relegation battle last year. His ability to link the back third to the final third has given Huddersfield a different edge this season, seemingly replacing Aaron Mooy in the Town midfield.
His impressive performances will have undoubtedly caught the attention of clubs in the Championship and with Huddersfield’s place in the second tier yet to be confirmed, it would be an astute signing for any club in the division. Should Huddersfield be relegated, then it would become obvious that the midfielder would need to leave to continue his development.
Should Town confirm their place in the Championship for next year, O’Brien will be a crucial player as they look to have a season of looking up rather than down. The Cowley brothers will be assessing the Championship and figuring out what type of players they will need to bring to the club to mount a push for a return to the Premier League and the little midfielder will play a big part of that.
The midfielder has two years to run on his current contract, once the season in completed that will give Huddersfield a huge say if any club was to make a move for the midfielder in the summer window with the club in a very strong position to keep the player regardless of what happens to their season.
One thing is for sure, though, the young midfielder has a great future in the game, but whether that is in a Huddersfield shirt remains to be seen.