Alex Pritchard has the X Factor to help Huddersfield Town stave off a Premier League relegation battle – as long as he learns about defence!
That’s the message from head coach David Wagner, who seems very tempted to give the 24-year-old midfielder a first start in the crunch clash at Stoke City.
Pritchard played 25 minutes as a substitute against West Ham United following the conclusion of his £10m transfer from Norwich City and has impressed, both in that short spell and in training.
Wagner – who will save Phil Billing for the FA Cup tie against Birmingham City – confirmed Pritchard is a contender for the matchday squad and starting XI at the bet365 Stadium.
“He is certainly a player who likes to play football in tight spaces,” beamed Wagner when asked about his new No10.
“Alex is confident and brave enough to ask for the ball under pressure and to be creative - he is technically very strong.
“He has a good set play, too, and can create and score goals, and I think he is the type of player which we maybe haven’t had, so he is a good addition to our group.”
The head coach is unlikely to make any more signings in this transfer window, although he admits a flurry of injuries or suspensions could change that trail of thinking.
Pritchard – and Terence Kongolo from AS Monaco – have been key additions and Wagner believes the former is eager to learn all aspects of the ‘Terrier Identity’.
“Alex has shown in training and in the minutes he has played against West Ham that, with the ball, he has a lot of things to give and add to our group,” said the boss.
“Against the ball, however, we defend a little bit differently to other teams he has played with before.
“He has to learn to work on the grass and through using video, so he picks it all up as quickly as is possible, but I am very happy to have him in our group.
“He can create something one against one, or even one against two, he can pick the last pass and he can also score from distance, so he gives us something as a No10 which we haven’t had before.
“It’s the nature of coming into any new club, though, that you have to learn – and he has to learn our game.
“It’s about taking on new ideas, and Alex will learn these over the new few weeks.”