There has been plenty of speculation about Bryce, his background and how seemingly from nowhere, he ended up at Leeds United. His journey is evidence that young players develop in different ways and not always at the same pace. Something that not all academies recognise. Additionally, his arrival in the north is a result of the extensive network that the club’s sporting director, Victor Orta, possesses.
Who is Bryce Hosannah?
Bryce is a product of the Afewee Urban Football Club, that has recently received much well-earned publicity. The club is referenced frequently in Michael Calvin’s highly acclaimed book No Hunger in Paradise and the BT Sport documentary of the same name. Founder, Steadman Scott has a philosophy that teaches young players from the minute they start playing to treasure the football. He encourages dynamic attacking play from all over the pitch, which is clearly evident in the way Bryce plays. He is the latest right full back off the Afewee Urban ranks, following in the footsteps of Nathaniel Clyne and Mandela Egbo.
He was educated at private school and first came to prominence playing for Chelsea coach Fiona Armfield’s Croydon district team, that would ultimately reach the national schools finals. This lead to him being scouted by Chelsea, Fulham and Crystal Palace. He and his family opted for him to join the latter as it was both close to home and most importantly his secondary school, Trinity School, part of the renowned Whitgift group of schools, producer of many top sporting talents. Bryce had by then received both sports and academic scholarships, following outstanding 11 plus entrance exams results and his excellence in both football and athletics. Bryce was a highly rated schoolboy 400 metre runner, giving him the ability to work the line and make lung busting runs on the football field.
Bryce’s time at Crystal Palace coincided with his time at Trinity School, where he was a participant in rugby, cricket and athletics, in addition to various school and representative football teams. He also received weekly enhanced private coaching from Anthony Gale, the son of ex-West Ham star Tony Gale, throughout this period. As documented in No Hunger in Paradise, at the age of sixteen, Bryce received 5 A* and 4As in his GCSEs and left Trinity School to pursue a career in professional football. Due to a perceived lack of physical stature, Bryce lacked game time at the outset of his scholar period. However, he received his opportunity to start in October of that season and following outstanding performances in the FA Youth Cup, made the right back position his own by mid-season. At the beginning of his second scholar season, Bryce had still not received a first professional contract offer, despite being at the club for 6 years. He felt his future was elsewhere and this would ultimately lead to his arrival at Leeds Utd. He enlisted the services of the same management company that look after Tottenham Hotspur’s Victor Wanyama and Chelsea’s US star player, Christian Pulisic among its clients.
After securing his release from Crystal Palace, the plan was to find a club that encouraged a free flowing style of football, which would bring out the best in Bryce. Europe was felt to be the best fit, but contact was also made with Victor Orta, who was then at Middlesbrough FC. An untimely injury meant that Bryce entered the 2017 pre-season still unsigned, but with strong interest being shown in him by F.C. Twente in Holland. After performing well during a short trial period, this appeared to be his likely destination. However, dialogue was had between Bryce’s representative and Orta, who by now had arrived at Leeds. Bryce came on trial and strong performances against Tadcaster Utd and Scarborough in pre-season friendlies led to him securing an initial 2 year contract agreement.
Style of play
Bryce Hosannah is an attacking full back that likes to get up and down the pitch using his pace. He is however, comfortable playing at centre back. Below are his two main positions and his tactical role in them.
What are his key attributes?
Bryce Hosannah has pace to burn and there aren’t many around that can stop him once he gets going. This however isn’t to say that he has just pace and no footballing ability, because that isn’t the case. In his main position, pace is a key attribute to have as it allows him to support the attack but also be able to get back and defend. His dribbling ability for a full back is good which helps him in attacking areas but also when bring the ball out from defence. He is very much a modern day full back that suits the way both Bielsa and Corberan like to set up their teams.
What are his areas for improvement?
Bryce often finds himself in advance positions due to his good running power but at times lacks the final ball. Over the past two seasons he has managed to pick up assists but could have much more if he was more consistent. With game time and more time on the training pitch practicing such situations, I know he has the attitude to improve this area of his game. His defensive positioning will also be an area that Bryce will be looking to improve over the next couple of years. When he plays at full back, it doesn’t have as much of an impact on him as when he plays centre back as he has the pace to get back. The problem comes when he plays centre back. If he is caught out defensively, then because he is the last line of defence, his pace won’t always help him get back and stop the opposition scoring. Like I mentioned early, centre isn’t a position he plays too much and his long term future is definitely at right back or wing back.
One concern of mine is his recent injury record. Since joining Leeds he’s struggled to put a real run of games together and has a number of injures that have sidelined him for months. If he can put his injures behind and start getting a real run go games then there is no reason why he can’t make it at Leeds United. With right back being a position that we have lots of players that are capable of playing there and doing a good job, a loan move for first team experience could be a option both Bryce and the club may think about in January or the summer.
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