The Cardiff City ace who shocked team-mate in training and how it has shaped Bluebirds' transfer strategy

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14 Apr 2021
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The emergence of some players at the back end of the season appears to have altered some of the Bluebirds' thinking in the transfer window


The meteoric rise of Rubin Colwill was a much-needed success story at Cardiff City last season.

From starting the campaign on the bench for the under-23s in a 5-1 drubbing by arch-rivals Swansea City to pushing for a place in the Wales side against the Swiss this Saturday on one of the biggest stages of them all, few could lay claim to such a steep upwards career trajectory in recent months.

This time last year, for instance, there was a real conversation going on behind the scenes at Cardiff City.

Playmaker Sion Spence was one of the most talented players in the Bluebirds' youth ranks, but tough decisions had to be made and it was decided that Colwill, a year his colleague's junior, should be afforded the pathway to flourish.

Spence left, eventually being picked up by Crystal Palace and is now very much treading his own path, and Colwill stepped up a rung on the ladder.

It appears to have been one of the most significant sliding-doors moments in recent Cardiff history pertaining to young players coming through the ranks, because Colwill has grabbed his opportunity with both hands and bolted.

And, as outgoing Bluebirds playmaker Jonny Williams says, the 19-year-old forward shone like a beacon from the very start. It was a bafflement, even, that he was not already involved with the first team.

"Ever since the first day I trained with him at Cardiff, he shocked me, the ability he had," Williams said.

"I was surprised he wasn't already with the first team, because he has got the full package.

"He has got the size, good feet, ability on the ball and he is only going to get better and better.

"He's a really nice guy as well so I am pleased for him. I'm always pleased for the good guys in football and he's one of them."

If we talk about sliding-doors moments in relation to Colwill and Spence, then Williams' release this summer certainly has the same ring to it.

All the noises coming from Mick McCarthy seemed to indicate that Williams would step in as the "perfect" replacement for Harry Wilson, who was destined to return to Liverpool.

Indeed, even Williams believed that to be the case, stating that he thought he was going to be at Cardiff City Stadium next term in a candid interview out in Baku.

But the emergence of Colwill appears to have altered the club's transfer strategy and the decision on William's future appeared to take a U-turn at some stage.

Colwill's talent was recognised by the Wales staff after a strong end to the season with his club and he is now very much a part of Wales' Euro 2020 plans as well as McCarthy's Cardiff City plans for next term.

As Williams says, Colwill will only get better and is at the very beginning of what Wales and Cardiff fans hope is a lofty bell curve in his career.

But for Williams, who has historically had to battle with injury troubles and did so early on in his albeit brief Cardiff stint, Colwill represented the better option for the higher-ups.

Colwill is now expected to play a far more prominent part for the Bluebirds next season and with Lee Tomlin already in situ and Cardiff understood to be in the market for another No.10, there was no room for Williams in the ranks.

The Bluebirds' transfer strategy has been centred around a measured, prudent approach, cutting costs where needs be and implementing the right youth structure to lean a little more on the starlets breaking through the academy.

Colwill's progress in recent months has been exciting to witness, but it just might have come at Williams' expense.


The Colonel

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Looking forward to seeing what Colwill can do in the Euros if he gets a shot.

Could be a real confidence booster for him ahead of next season.
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