Michael O’Neill outlines position plan for new signing Jacob Brown at Stoke City


Jacob Brown was a man of many hats at Barnsley.

He first got his chance as an emergency full-back, played on the left but mostly on the right, as winger or up front almost like a Yorkshire version of Mame Diouf.

But the key stat that was getting him noticed by clubs across the Championship last season was his number of assists (nine) to help his side stay in the division. He got three second assists too, the passes before the pass that led to a goal.

Now he has joined Stoke City as Michael O’Neill’s fifth signing of the summer and his versatility will be an asset as the manager changes between systems this season.

But in what role will he be used in the long-term?

O’Neill said: “Jacob can play right in a 4-3-3, he can play up top in a 3-5-2 and, with a bit of work, he can play right wing-back too. Certainly physically he has the attributes to play there.

“We’ve only just had him in the building training so we’re not going to pigeon hole his position from Day One but what we’ve brought in is a young player with versatility, a young player with a real high number of assists in the division last year in a team that was fighting to stay in in the division as well. He was a massive part of Barnsley’s survival.

“He is a player over time that will develop and he will naturally, I think, settle down and make one position his own.

“It’s our job as coaches to refine and help him with that but I’m not too bothered about finding an exact position for him at this minute in time.

“He’s part of the squad and he’ll challenge in the positions I’ve mentioned.”

It’s Conor Chaplin and Cauley Woodrow that Brown has been setting up most regularly, whether or not they have finished the move.

He assisted five goals for Chaplin from 16 shots – and 12 shots for Woodrow, who didn’t stick any home.

The 22-year-old will provide competition for Tom Ince and Tyrese Campbell on the right wing or seemingly Campbell, Lee Gregory and Benik Afobe as the second striker next to Sam Vokes and Steven Fletcher in a two-up top.





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