I think I might be starting to fall in love with Modou Barrow. Everything about him - his pace, his love of charging top-speed at defenders, and his goals. Saturday’s strike - Reading’s second of the afternoon - put the Gambian up to eight goals for the season, making him the club’s top scorer in the league.
Let’s have another look at it - it’s a beautifully simple goal. Barrow pounces on a loose ball, and immediately bursts pasts Curtis Davies, utterly leaving him in his wake, before slotting past Carson.
You know what? If that’s not a goal that Jimmy Kebe would be proud of, I don’t know what is. The more I think about, the more I realise - Modou Barrow is actually the heir to Jimmy Kebe.
We’ve had some decent wingers in the last few years (no Hal, not you), but none have quite captured Jimmy’s spirit. It is, quite simply, a lethal mixture of scorching pace and the confidence to use it - no larking about working out what to do - if they’ve got the ball and space to run into, on come the afterburners.
They seem to have a similar temperament too - off the pitch, they’re both quiet, unassuming characters (excluding sarky tweets about signing for Newcastle United), but on it, there’s an enjoyment of playing that’s apparently immune to negativity. It doesn’t matter how bad Reading are, Barrow won’t stop running.
We talked on this week’s TTE Podcast about early contenders for Reading’s player of the season and, for me, Barrow has to be the early favourite. With eight and four respectively, Barrow is the club’s best in the league for goals and assists - and, if he gets just three more goals this season, he’ll have Reading’s highest return for a winger in a single season in the 21st century.
That record’s currently held by, you guessed it, Jimmy Kebe. Would Barrow breaking it put him on the same level as his Malian predecessor? Not immediately, no, but I’m backing Barrow to have an impact at Reading in the next couple of years that Jimmy would be proud of.