It was confirmed yesterday afternoon that Jack Payne would be temporarily leaving Town to join Pep Clotet’s Oxford United side on loan for the upcoming 2017-18 League 1 season.
Following a standout season with Southend United, Jack Payne joined Huddersfield Town for a nominal fee. Despite primarily being used as a substitute under David Wagner’s tutelage, the talented midfielder played his part in Town’s fairytale season.
From his vital goal in the home victory against Preston North End to his memorable winner against Newcastle United at St James Park, Payne showed glimpses of his potential and the raw talent that he possesses.
Like Kyle Dempsey, Payne has been a victim of Town’s meteoric success. If Town were preparing for another season in the Championship, Payne would undoubtedly be part of that squad and play an even larger role than last season.
Instead, Payne has been given the exciting opportunity to join Pep Clotet at Oxford United. Jack Payne’s return to League 1 will bring back some happy memories, Payne’s last involvement in League 1 saw him finish with nine goals and five assists in thirty-two League 1 appearances for Southend United. The talented starlet in the number 10 role was averaging a goal or an assist every other game.
This piece looks to offer Oxford United fans an insight into what they should expect from Jack Payne over the coming season.
What to expect
The first thing that I noticed when watching Jack Payne is that he has almost a continental style of play. Despite playing in one of the most crowded areas of the pitch, Payne enjoys linking up play fluidly with short one touch passes.
This often means he plays a free role in the midfield, with tactical flexibility, Payne has the ability to either drop back and build attacks from deep or made advanced runs forward supporting a lone striker.
As a central attacking midfielder or even further advanced as a second striker, one of Jack Payne’s strengths is his insatiable ability to find space in between the lines.
Not only does this require intelligence to find this space, the 22-year-old midfielder has the footballing ability to make the most of this space to create chances and score goals.
For a 22-year-old, Jack Payne’s bravery and willingness to take on the responsibility as the chief creator is particularly impressive and a sign that he has a very bright future ahead.
Often picking up the ball on the half turn in tight areas, with a low centre of gravity and a turn of pace, Payne has the ability to drift past players and drive at opposition defences.
This gives some explanation about Payne’s impressive goalscoring record from midfield as he often creates chances for himself as well as supporting the attack.
Although Payne’s finishing self-admittedly requires improvement, the 22-year-old has the ability to both score from range and be a penalty box threat.
At times last season, Payne entered the box late with clever delayed runs which weren’t picked up by defenders, this gave him the space and the opportunity to ghost into positions to score goals.
Even though his finishing may need some improvement, Jack Payne was also guilty of ill discipline at times last season. Pep Clotet will need to manage the temperament of the 22-year-old carefully.
As a player that is constantly improving, the young hungry advanced midfielder will look to reach double figures in both the goal and assist tally next season and I would not be surprised at all if he reached his goal and surpassed them.
Whilst some Town fans feel that it may be time to cash in on Jack Payne just a single season after joining, I think a loan move to a side that could well be challenging for promotion next season is the best move for all the parties involved.
As a player that I believe has a very bright future ahead, I will be keeping a close eye on Jack Payne who I think could be one of the standout stars in League 1 next season.