It’s hard to talk about Brentford players without feeling like you’re doing one of their teammates a disservice. Praise Ivan Toney, but what about Bryan Mbeumo? Praise Christian Norgaard, but what about Mathias Jensen? Such is the cohesion around this team, there appear to be few players who aren’t pulling their weight.
Another example of this is in defence, where new signing Ben Mee has taken many of the plaudits for his seamless transition into Thomas Frank’s side. This is no slight on Mee, who has been an excellent addition in both boxes following his arrival from Burnley. But his rise has seen Ethan Pinnock’s stoic defensive displays fly under the radar. An underrated player in an underrated team. It’s time to set the record straight.
Still playing for non-league Dulwich Hamlet at 23 years old, Pinnock’s coming of age has come from within. There was no expectation he’d make it as far he as has, and that is perhaps why he and Brentford are such a perfect match. A traditional defender with a disdain for danger and a magnet on his forehead. Pinnock employs a no-nonsense attitude that suits Brentford’s transitional, back-to-front style of play.
The Jamaican international isn’t the strongest with the ball at his feet, but with Brentford averaging 43.5% possession per90 in the Premier League, it doesn’t pose the sort of problem you’d expect. Brentford have conceded just six goals in their last 10 games, keeping clean sheets in five of these games.
They are a team who have long spells without the ball and are reactive to opposition mistakes. So, with that said, Pinnock’s excellent concentration is crucial to keeping Brentford in the game, even if they go behind. Late equalisers against Arsenal and Crystal Palace are evidence of the effectiveness of this plan.
The Bees are chasing a first-ever European berth with the club currently sitting level on 42 points with Brighton and Liverpool and five points behind fifth-placed Newcastle. But with games against Brighton, Manchester United and Newcastle to come, Pinnock will need to be on top form if he’s to achieve the unthinkable with a team that up until last season had never played Premier League football.
There will inevitably be calls for Brentford to be more proactive with the ball, a problem Palace have recently suffered from. At which point, Pinnock may be deemed surplus to requirements. But, for now, it’s time to give the man his flowers.
By: Sam Tabuteau / @TabuteauS
Featured Image: James Gill – Danehouse / Getty Images