Liverpool in Istanbul. The Cavs being 3-1 down, to winning the NBA. The Mighty Ducks. A few comeback stories that stick in the mind. However, a comeback story of its own may be stirring within Cardiff City. One that, given his start to life in a City shirt, seems like a new signing entirely.
After struggling under Warnock, Will Vaulks has bounded into the midfield three for Harris at the turn of the decade. After the loss of Joe Ralls, arguably City’s best player throughout the majority of the season, fans worried that all momentum would be lost.
With the risk of becoming another City name on the wind, Vaulks could’ve disappeared into transfer mythos, joining the likes of Tom Adeyemi, Etien Velikonja or Quincy Owusu-Abeyie. Instead, like a bolt from the blue, Vaulks has stormed into Harris’ first team, filling a Rolls-Royce shaped void.
With Rotherham, Vaulks was arguably their most influential player, scoring eight goals and assisting nine times in the 18/19 season. Therefore, a transfer to Cardiff wasn’t entirely surprising.
However, his first soirée in the ‘famous’ orange of City wasn’t perfect. Tracking back to cover Bennett, only to be left on the floor by George Puscas, watching as the Romanian forward slotted his first of the day for the Royals. To add insult to injury, he was lugged off for Paterson after just 45 minutes
But 2020 has lived up to its promise for 26-year-old Vaulks, putting in performance after performance, and stamping his name on the box-to-box role.
Much like an experienced postman, his deliveries into the box from his long throw have caused opposition defences trouble, indirectly assisting two vs Wigan. Add to this his tenacity and energy, and a real ability to get inside his opponent’s heads (see Jack Grealish), Cardiff seem to have a Vaulks who is beginning to reach his very best.
Statistically speaking this is obvious, with the midfielder registering an average of 8.51 defensive duels per 90 and 5.5 interceptions per 90. Along with an attacking rate of 13.47 forward passes per 90, he’s proving to be a competent box-to-box.
Vaulks produced a stellar February. We gave him the man of the match award against Forest, made a mockery of Wigan’s Joe Williams and pulled out the trademark somersault after scoring his first goal – a brilliant finish may I add – for the club in the 3-0 win against Huddersfield.
Cardiff are seeing an inform Vaulks for the first time, and it’s certainly a sight we’d like to get used to. With Ralls due to be back from injury, a midfield duo of Ralls and Vaulks has City fans licking their lips.