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Goodman nails the ‘brilliant’ moment that summed up Tahith Chong

Don Goodman has tipped Birmingham City – and Tahith Chong in particular – for big things.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ EFL podcast the former West Brom and Wolves striker admitted he thought Lee Bowyer was ‘crazy’ to move to St Andrew’s.

However, having described Blues ’ win over Derby as the ‘most complete performance’ he’s seen in years, he has tipped Bowyer’s team to mount a play-off challenge.

And key to that side is the form of Tahith Chong, man of the match against Derby, when his commitment was never better summed up than when he ran 50 yards to snuff out a Rams counter-attack.

“That incident really did highlight what a player he is,” Goodman said. “Football isn’t just about what you do when you have the ball, it’s about what you do when you haven’t got the ball. Sometimes that’s even more important.

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“And when Louis Sibley burst through and looked as if he was going clear for a one-on-one situation, I noted who was chasing back – and it was Chong.

“That hunger and desire to work for your team is only going to stand him in really, really good stead.

“We saw how brilliant he was with the ball, high energy, all action, crowds love that. He is going to be a crowd favourite wherever he goes to play, playing that style of football.

“I was equally impressed with him without the ball as with the ball.”

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He went on to praise the whole team: “They are seventh at the moment, three points off the top. It is very, very early days but what I saw on Friday night was the best most complete performance with and without the ball that I have seen Birmingham City produce for a very, very long time. There is an awful lot of cause for optimism.

“How they tempted Lee Bowyer to take that on in the first place is beyond me, I thought he was crazy to take that on.

Don Goodman
Don Goodman

“But you look at what he has achieved. I like the way he has got Plan A, B and C, he can vary his tactics, his formations, he did it at Charlton, he is doing it again at Birmingham.

“I think if they can maintain those levels we saw on Friday they could be definitely pushing for a top six spot.”

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One of those plans involves Marc Roberts’ long throw. It’s a tactic that has irritated some, notably Stoke boss Michael O’Neill – but one Goodman insists Blues should not be shy about using.

“When you listen to what people say about long throws they are actually more accurate than corners because the player hurling it knows exactly where he is putting it, he knows the length he can throw it,” the pundit continued.

“They are causing panic. If you can pin the goalkeeper so he can’t just come and punch or gather it you stand a real good chance of causing problems.

READ MORE: Lee Bowyer reveals Birmingham City potential to ‘beat up’ Championship rivals

“We have seen a couple of own goals from long throws or if you pick up the second ball, it really doesn’t matter. It’s about getting the ball into those areas.

“In football we can be a bit snobby can’t we? And think a long ball or getting the ball into the box is just old fashioned ‘up-and-at-em’ football.

“But there are times and this is when the long throw comes in , when you have got to swallow your pride and if that’s the best way to hurt the opposition then you have got to do it.”

READ MORE: The ‘ray of light’ who shone for the first time in 656 days after Birmingham City struggles

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