This past weekend in the FA Cup was not exactly a classic.
Giant-killings were relatively modest, there weren’t too many barnstorming games, and aside from a few teams and people, it won’t be a third round that will stick long in the memory.
But on the Totally Football Show this Monday, our panel made the case for the FA Cup, and why there is still value to be had in the competition, despite the relative lack of obvious headlines.
“I just think that you have to search for a different kind of joy in it,” said Daniel Storey. “Everyone moans about young players not having a pathway [to the first-team] and kids not being given a chance, but actually this means we get to see players like Curtis Jones scoring brilliant goals for Liverpool, for example.
“Those AFC Fylde fans who went to Bramall Lane to see their team lose 2-1 to a Premier League side, won’t think “Yeah, but Sheffield United made a load of changes so it doesn’t count.”
Tom Williams picked up the theme.
“One example [of youngster who got a chance] is Adam Idah, a Norwich Academy graduate who scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Preston, and these games can serve as launchpads for players like this. A year ago it was in a cup game against Nottingham Forest that Callum Hudson-Odoi produced one of his first really eye-catching performances, and now he’s an England international and someone who’s very familiar to all of us.
“There are storylines there if you’re willing to look for them.”
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) January 4, 2020
And probably the most heart-warming moment of the weekend was the interview given by Sheffield Wednesday’s Osaze Urhoghide, who was released by AFC Wimbledon but impressed on trial at the Owls, and excelled in their win over Brighton. Matt Davies-Adams was charmed:
“If anybody has any doubts about the FA Cup, just watch that interview. It weirdly restored my faith in football. He was just so happy. And as he was giving the interview, more things started occurring to him: “We kept a clean sheet! And it was at a Premier League club!”
And aside from producing wholesome social media content, a performance like that could have a real, tangible impact on his career.
“It matters,” said Daniel Storey, “because it’s not just about impressing Garry Monk and getting into the league team at Wednesday – at some point he’ll probably go out on loan, and if the evidence you’ve got is them doing very well when under huge pressure to perform in their one opportunity, that will matter to scouts. They’ll see that and think “He’s got something about him, he can deal with those situations.”
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