Ryan Fredericks was one of the most impressive performers in the Championship last season and was well worth his move to the Premier League.
That free transfer to the London Stadium looked like a great deal back in the summer, but the Englishman has struggled to adapt to life in the top flight.
It was a baptism of fire at Anfield on the opening day of the season and it didn’t get too much better after that. As the team struggled, Fredericks was taken out of the firing line.
Pablo Zabaleta, who is trusted completely by Manuel Pellegrini, has taken his place in the side and doesn’t look like budging.
Fredericks’ learning curve
Fredericks is also keen to make it clear that he’s learning. Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “It’s the best and most competitive league in the world.
“It was a wide awakening as it doesn’t get much tougher than going away to Anfield for your first game; so it was a steep learning curve straight away. But I enjoyed the experience and you have to enjoy them because they only happen once!
“It’s a lot different. The Championship is more end-to-end and maybe not as much tactics go into it. In the Premier League, you can’t make as many mistakes; as you’re playing against world-class players and you get punished.
“I’m ready to get out there. I learnt probably more in the first three or four games I played in the Premier League than I probably have in the last four years of my career; so it’s stuff I picked up and saw the other players doing. I’m ready to help this team by doing as much as I can.
Long way from being ready
Fredericks might have the legs but Zabaleta has the experience and winning mentality. He has been so good since he came back into the side that Fredericks has a lot to do to get back into the squad.
His comments show his attitude is good but the fact he has so much to learn means he’s got a development to make.
That first-team return he desires looks a long way off now.