Most people will have barely noticed Cameron Coxe until recent reports of Manchester City interest. If true, surely Cardiff are missing a trick? The right back berth is not exactly Cardiff’s strongest position after all and perma-injured Jazz Richards is about to head out of contract, as is Coxe.
Having already pinched Rabbi Matondo, are City about to raid the club once again, and if so, just how good is Coxe anyway? VFTN asked the question of Paul Evans from the excellent Mauve and Yellow Army blog, who is an authority on such things.
Just how good is he?
Yes, I’ve seen a lot of Cameron Coxe over the last five years or so. If anything, I’d say his most impressive performances may well have come for Wales Under-21’s, where he is consistently singled out as one of the stand out players in the team. That’s not to say that he has struggled in any way when he’s played in City age group teams. To be fair, he was injured for much of the second half of the campaign.
Which Cardiff full back from the recent past does he most closely resemble?
Coxe is different from most City full backs from recent years in that I would call him much more of a modern day player in that position because he is more attack-minded. He is one of very few full backs I’ve seen at the club who would be equally at home playing in a wing back role. As Callum Paterson is not considered good enough to play full back, I’d say Joe Bennett would be the only one who could make an effective wing back, so positionally I’d say him. In terms of style of play, I see Coxe more as an energetic, Paterson type though.
What do you think the immediate future holds for him?
I’d give him the chance to establish himself in the first team squad during pre-season, but I wonder if Neil Warnock has concerns about his defensive play. If he is not going to get a chance here, then I think he has to go out on loan somewhere for the first half of the season. On the other hand, while I struggle to believe the Man City story, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was interest in him over the next month or so, but I’d still say the most likely outcome is that he’ll be with us next season.
Would Coxe represent an upgrade on Peltier and Richards?
I’d say there are aspects of the game that Coxe is definitely better than Peltier at (almost all to do with the attacking side of full back play). Richards is more of an all-rounder, but I’d say Coxe is more of a dynamic presence than him. It’s hard to compare when you’re talking about someone who has played so little first team football compared to players who have been doing that for almost a decade or more, but I think he could carry more of an attacking threat than Jazz in terms of an end product.
To me, the overriding factor in all this is Warnock because it seems to me that the elements of the game where Coxe may have an advantage over his more experienced rivals are aspects of full back play which are less important to our manager. I’m pretty sure full backs are, first and foremost, defenders to him with the ‘fancy stuff’ best done by his wingers.
Are there any other Cardiff youngsters worth keeping an eye on?
With a league title and beaten in the final of the play-offs, our Under 18’s have had their best season since we earned Academy status in 2004. Goalkeeper George Ratcliffe won the Academy Player of the Year award recently and is as good a goalkeeper as I’ve seen at the club with the ball at his feet. He’s a regular selection in Wales age group sides and I think he has a chance of making it. The player who captured most headlines was probably striker Dan Griffiths, who arrived from Liverpool last summer and I believe scored 28 times in the season just ended.
Attacking midfielder Sion Spence scored 30 times last season, but has been sidelined by injury for much of this season, as has striker Isaak Davies, who is a personal favourite of mine. Captain Sam Bowen has come on a lot this season in the centre of midfield, while I like the look of Keenan Patten who has a very good all round game. Martyn Margetson’s son Ben had a good campaign in central defence as well.
Apologies to any regulars in the Under-18’s I haven’t mentioned because it doesn’t mean I’m writing them off. There was a strength in depth throughout the team this season which means there are plenty in the squad who I wouldn’t write off as possible first teamers. Of course, you have to take into account that Cardiff has not exactly been a breeding ground for local young first teamers during the last decade.