Following on from the review of Seko Fofana's spell at Fulham I spoke to a couple of Walsall fans about our young forward Jordy Hiwula. Despite proving prolific at youth level for the various age groups at City, his first tastes of senior football only came this year during what turned out to be a frustrating early season loan with Yeovil. His bad fortune in front of goal was somewhat cruelly called out by then manager Gary Johnson, causing the move to be cut short after only nine games and a solitary goal for the club. A few weeks later City decided to send him out again, this time moving him to Walsall, hoping for a little more success under Dean Smith's tutelage. He hit the ground running, scoring in his first three games for the club prompting the move to be extended to the end of the season where he played consistently, notching up 9 goals in 19 games for the saddlers.
The immediately obvious one - how has he done this season? Has the loan been a success?
VW - When he first came to the club most fans had their concerns about him, not his fault but from past experiences. We had a young guy on loan from Liverpool (Michael Ngoo) last season who like Jordy had a spell at Yeovil and things didn't go well so we as fans put him in the same category before we had even saw him play. Roll forward half a season and we have realised he's ten times the player Ngoo was and has so much more potential within the game.
BB - Jordy has done very well, his loan has been a success. He hit the ground running with a goal in his debut against Doncaster Rovers, and has gone on to put in several solid performances for the club, making him a favourite for a large section of fans. He has dealt well with a slight switch in playing position following the return of top-scorer Tom Bradshaw from an injury lay-off, Jordy coped well with a move to the wing and even bagged a couple of goals from that position.
What's the perception of his potential as a player within Walsall? Do they think he'll have a chance at City?
BB - In terms of potential with Walsall, he would be a first-choice player if he was to join on another loan next season, he may have to make do with a wider position of play, but as his loan spell has shown he can and has made an impact on the side.
He is however unlikely to get a real opportunity with the Citizens, the rules regarding squads having a certain amount of 'homegrown' talent may lead to players such as Jordy being retained, but with talent like Segio Aguero, Edin Džeko and Wilfried Bony occupying the starting places, and up-and-comers like José Ángel Pozo and John Guidetti on the fringes, Jordy will surely be overlooked.
Have the fans taken to him?
BB - His arrival was greeted with delight by supporters, although some did note his less than successful loan spell with Yeovil Town, however with other loan switches in the past we're more than aware of some players inability to 'gel' with certain squads and tactics, it only takes a tweak here and there to help a player to open the goal-scoring floodgates, or put in performances that will grab the attention of their parent club.
His aforementioned debut goal was a very good signal to supporters of his ability, along with his goal creation, he has also gone on to grab several other goals, including a brace during the Saddlers' 8-2 final day humiliation to Bristol City, helping to establish him as a fan favourite.
His best position? He's played, if I'm correct, wide in a three and up top on his own? Obvious flaws/strengths? Does he remind you of anyone stylistically?
BB - He has played in all positions across the front-line and also as a wide/winger in midfield, the injury to Tom Bradshaw allowed him to make a few appearances as a lone striker but he has spent much of his time out wide. His biggest strength would probably be his finishing, he can be pressured off the ball a little easily at times but that will change with extra strengthening work, he has a good level of pace and is always a threat to the opposition's defence.
It's difficult to think of a player he reminds me of, in terms of un-tapped ability he's like our former winger Emmanuel Ledesma, now of Middlesbrough, who was fairly unknown, or at least not highly thought of before he came to the club, but left on a high as a fan-favourite following many memorable performances.
VW - Jordy was brought in as our centre forward when our leading goalscorer Tom Bradshaw was injured and whilst he was comfortable in this position he has really flourished since move into a more wide position just playing off the striker. His main strengths are his pace and trickery, some of his goals this season have been sublime. One thing he does lack is consistency but that will only come with experience. If I had to compare him to a current premiership player Id put him in a younger rawer category as Theo Walcott, the fact that he has pace to burn and does seem to be ahead of some on his day and a bit like Theo he needs to add more to his physique to match his pace.
Do you personally think he has a chance at Premier League level eventually? Would you give him the odd game in the league cup at City next season etc.. or another loan move?
VW - For me I think he is some distance away from Premiership football but with a few games in the cup competitions with Man City style of play then I can see him adapting quite easy. With nine goals in seventeen games for the Saddlers a season long loan will be beneficial to all parties and with a long run in the side I can easily see Jordy getting fifteen to twenty goals next season.
BB - As mentioned earlier, the likelihood of Jordy getting any regular first-team football at the Etihad seems slim, although you can never really tell. On a personal note we'd like to see him return for another loan spell, cup appearances are good for experience but there is nothing like the regularity of first-team football to move a player on, Jordy has progressed well during his time at the club and would obviously benefit from a longer loan spell during the coming campaign.
Do you think City will utilise the loan link up with Walsall again?
VW - We are trying to negotiate with Man City to bring him back next season on a season long loan but that depends on what Man City want to do with his progression but he will always get game time here and like most of our youngsters they seem to improve under manager Dean Smith. We don't obviously have the same luxuries as Man City but I'd like to think we attack teams at our level as much as City do at theirs.
Liverpool, Chelsea and now Man City have seen Walsall as a club to send their cream of crop youngsters to as our manager Dean Smith gives youth a chance, playing the right way with possession attacking football.
BB - We'd certainly hope so, there are several talented members of the EDS side, many of which would fit into the Walsall side, we have a history of creating our own talent, but are also known for bringing the best out of players who arrive on loan and may have been on a bit of a downturn with their parent club. One issue with modern football is managers' often refuse to take risks, especially in the top-flight, gone are the days of a debuting sixteen year-old striker bursting on to the scene, so this may be the only way for talented reserves to show their worth and try to earn that place at the top table.
To me, he comes across as the kind of old school classic centre-forward who will just pop up and score you a goal. Bit of a rare commodity these days, and when you look at Kane's indifferent loan records before it all of a sudden clicked for him, and indeed even Jordy's prior spell at Yeovil, I do wonder if he could be the kind to one day see a sharp rise in confidence and burst into life at a high level. Thoughts? Or am I getting carried away with myself..
BB - You can certainly see the links between him and Harry Kane, although Harry was seen as a talent early on in his career, but before his breakthrough seemed to be heading for something of a disappointing time in the game.
As mentioned earlier, Jordy has progressed well under the Saddlers' stewardship, and would benefit from further time with the club, he has all the potential in the world and would benefit from another spell of first-team football. If he doesn't return to the club he will leave in a better position than when he arrived, he would fit in well to a Championship side and could be on the cusp of a bit of a breakthrough in his career.
It will be interesting to see how next season pans out for Jordy. Another loan surely beckons. He's clearly a talented young player, but the bar at City is incredibly high. Even at youth level there's stern competition - Kelechi Iheanacho and Thierry Ambrose both appear on the surface much more promising players, and both are two years younger than him, but nothing is ever certain in football and you only have to take one glance at Harry Kane's career to see how a player's career can blow up if the touch paper is lit. A season in League 1 or the Championship could see him score 20+ goals and he'd return a year older, stronger and full of confidence. It never harms to have a hardworking young home-grown striker in your ranks with an eye for goal and pace to burn. Personally, I wouldn't be suprised if he took a similar route to the top level as other ex-City youth prospects, Kieran Trippier and Kasper Schmeichel spring to mind, establishing himself in the lower divisions before moving up with a promoted club. I think we'll know a lot more about the clubs intentions for him when the transfer window slams shut during the early stages next season. Time will tell.