I wouldn’t have expected to be in this position only a month or so ago. With the establishment of the Tom Lees/Lee Peltier partnership in the heart of defence, we now have a captain who is not a liability when named in the first team. There was a period when Peltier, appearing at left-back having been ousted from his preferred berth on the right, was swiftly becoming a figure of derision. It was not obvious where he fit into the team, given Sam Byram’s run at right-back and the simple fact that the 19-year-old had performed to a level that made it impossible to drop him, even for a more experienced head.
However, in the time since, Lee Peltier has struck up an unlikely partnership with Tom Lees in the center.
There are a handful of reasons why this partnership is unlikely, not least Peltier’s apparent discomfort at using his left foot. Aside from this, the duo are an oddly classy pair, not the type of central defenders to throw themselves at the ball in the manner that is usually demanded of those at this level. Their game is clearly about reading the play and intercepting, dealing with the problem calmly and casually.
The clearest example of the nature of their play comes from the substitution that is usually made in the latter stages of a game – the introduction of Jason Pearce. Bringing him on symbolises their weakness, that of dealing with pressurised situations and those late attempts to loft the ball into the ‘mixer’ that comes with leading a game. However, it should be noted that this weakness is only notable in the latter stages – Peltier and Lees generally deal with everything else calmly and efficiently, and should be praised for that, the duo good to the extent that you don’t even notice them. They have truly established themselves as an effective, modern, useful pairing and can be seen as one of the more trustworthy segments of our side.
I now await the inevitable mistakes that will come at the weekend on the back of a piece of this nature.
Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).