Brek Shea’s shorty of a loan deal – Seriously, is there a record for at brevity on these things? – to Championship side Barnsley is up in about a week. For his own good, he really should try to stretch this little teaser of a loan for a while longer.
The original 28-day loan deal from Stoke City expires following Barnsley’s league match – the Championship is England’s second tier – against Blackburn Rovers on Jan 28. Unless the deal shifts, the young U.S. international will be back under Mark Hughes’ watch at Stoke after that.
But would a move back to the Britannia really be best for the left winger, who still has a reasonable shot at a World Cup roster spot (if only because of that unique, run-right-at-‘em skill set and mentality that he adds to the U.S. assortment of talent)?
If he’s playing and, by all accounts, shining for Barnsley, wouldn’t it be more productive to hold in place a little while longer, say, another month? At Stoke City, he might make the 18-man squad a few more times, but a regular starting assignment at the Britannia hardly seems imminent.
Here’s something to consider: Shea’s had apparent success while wearing the Tykes’ kit, but it has certainly been limited success. It’s not really his fault; Shea just hasn’t had enough opportunities to suit up since arriving into the second-tier club at the start of the New Year.
He debuted well enough on Jan. 2, and his latest effective outing was further affirmation that Shea did the right thing in extricating himself from the bench at the Britannia, looking strategically to get games wherever he could. But fate and circumstance have limited his time on the field.
In fact, those are the only two appearances Shea has made for the club.
One of Barnsley’s matches during Shea’s days there was an FA Cup contest; he was already cup-tied with Stoke. And one league contest (sadly, one at The Valley, a swell London venue with Premier League history) was postponed due to weather conditions.
Two matches so far. That’s it.
For his own good, to keep the momentum moving, Shea and his representatives really should work to extend the loan deal a while longer.
February, by the way, would bring six chances to play; Barnsley has a half dozen league contests on the docket. Now that would be a run of games to build on.