After joining Huddersfield Town in the January transfer window, Izzy Brown has gone on to be one of the best January signings in Championship history.
When the January transfer window opened, despite calls for heavy recruitment, David Wagner and his coaching staff were very cautious about potentially disrupting the harmony of the squad with any new arrivals.
Instead, David Wagner was patient and meticulous in his search for players who would suit Town’s playing style and fit into the side seamlessly.
After Izzy Brown was recalled from his loan spell at Rotherham, almost immediately, the 20-year-old forward was linked with a move to Huddersfield Town.
Although Gianfranco Zola’s Birmingham City were also reportedly interested, Town’s treatment of Kasey Palmer and his ever-improving development under David Wagner made the West Yorkshire side the obvious choice for Izzy Brown.
The first encounter
Prior to joining Town, my only previous experience (other than highlight clips) of watching Izzy Brown was in Town’s 2-1 victory over Rotherham at the John Smith Stadium.
A deft finish from Danny Ward against the run of play gave Rotherham hope that they could secure a result but Town were on the night, the comprehensively better side.
One of the standout performers on the pitch that night was, in fact, Izzy Brown. Despite facing a formidable midfield pairing of Jonathan Hogg and Aaron Mooy, Brown’s confidence in possession despite playing for a struggling side caught the eye of the fans and seemingly David Wagner.
The night may have been a frustrating one for Izzy Brown as Town’s domination of possession suffocated and nullified Rotherham’s midfield and attack. However, whenever Brown was on the ball, there was a sense that he could provide a moment of genius, out of nowhere.
Although the flashes of brilliance were limited on that night, we would soon come to learn that we would see them flashes of brilliance first hand when he joined us.
A unique playing style
After joining Huddersfield Town and making his debut in the 4-0 victory over Port Vale, it was clear from the very beginning that Izzy Brown fitted the philosophy and playing style of the club.
From the first moment that Izzy Brown stepped out in the blue and white stripes, there was an air of confidence about the Chelsea loanee and an obvious desire to get on the ball at every opportunity and make something happen.
Many sides have attempted different tactics to prevent Izzy Brown from having an impact on the game. Some sides have simply chopped him down at every opportunity, whereas other sides have attempted to man mark him. However, even when the opposition have attempted to tightly man mark Izzy Brown, the movement, speed and driving runs have often been simply too much for sides to handle.
From the deeper number 10 role, playing almost as a second striker, we have seen Izzy Brown carry out two roles. Firstly, we have seen Izzy Brown’s footballing intelligence and knowledge of the game to link up the play and orchestrate attacks alongside Aaron Mooy and Jonathan Hogg.
Secondly, we have seen Izzy Brown emerge as a bundle of energy on and off the ball within David Wagner’s system. Brown’s work ethic and willingness to chase and hunt for the ball is ideal within a gegenpressing side, however, it has been Brown’s positivity and forward thinking nature which has seen him quickly become a fan favourite.
In a side where there is no over-reliance on one source for goals, Izzy Brown’s goal-scoring contributions have proved to be crucial. Against Ipswich Town, Queens Park Rangers and most recently Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brown has taken on the goal-scoring burden which has included some magical solo runs and long-range strikes.
February Player of the Month nomination
However, it was the month of February in which Izzy Brown came into his own, a breathtaking performance against Brighton live on Sky saw Brown directly involved in all three goals against the league leader which showed that despite only being 20, he was a player suited to the big occasion.
It also showed that he did not only possess raw talent and potential but also the application and drive for success which has proved to be a common characteristic of a David Wagner signing.
As well as the standout performance against Brighton, Izzy Brown was also the scorer of crucial goals in the victories over local rivals Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers as the upturn in Izzy Brown’s form also coincided with Town’s six-match winning streak.
The consistency and quality of Izzy Brown’s performances were rightfully acknowledged when it was announced that he had been nominated for February’s Championship Player of the Month award alongside Kenneth Zohore, Jota and Aiden McGeady.
The month of February encapsulated just how vital Izzy Brown has been for Town in the second half of this marathon campaign.
The impact of his absence
After Izzy Brown was substituted prematurely during Bristol City’s 4-0 victory over Town, many Town fans were fearing the worst.
Both Izzy Brown and Kasey Palmer had picked up injuries which had seen them return to Chelsea to receive the necessary treatment needed.
The absence of Izzy Brown was extremely telling as neither Aaron Mooy or Jack Payne could sufficiently fill the void left by Izzy Brown. In the number 10 role, neither Mooy or Payne were capable of having the same impact that Izzy Brown did in that position.
During the period of the Chelsea loanee’s injury, Town lost three games, two of which were to relegation struggling sides which saw Town’s form begin to stutter and stall.
However, it appears that Town have recovered from the blip and the return of Izzy Brown has given a much needed boost going into the final games of the regulatory season.
Destined for Greatness?
There is a culture in Britain to over-sensationalise bright young English starlets (and this article could potentially be another example of this), however, throughout my life as a Town fan- there has not been a more talented young starlet to wear the blue and white stripes than Izzy Brown.
A recent report from Dutch sports data company SciSports compiled a list of the thirty players born after 1997 who possessed the greatest potential. On that list is Izzy Brown who is sharing company with the some of Europe’s brightest young talents including Ousmane Dembele, Renato Sanches and Youri Tielemans.
At just the age of 20, there is no doubt in my mind that Izzy Brown will continue to develop and improve to the point that he is playing regular Premier League football (hopefully whilst wearing the Blue and White stripes of Huddersfield Town).
Having already been called up to the England Under 21 squad following a string of excellent performances for Town which included the February player of the month nomination, Izzy Brown has begun to receive regular acknowledgement and appreciation at both domestic and international level.
Having shown that he is a player who can step up for the big occasion with a man of the match performance against Brighton and a crucial goal in the victory over Leeds United, the natural born game winner could prove to be the difference in the playoffs.
Already, Izzy Brown has scored the winner which secured Huddersfield Town’s place in the playoffs and it is clear to me that the Chelsea loanee is destined to play at the highest level, destined for greatness, hopefully with Huddersfield Town.