George Boyd, one of the masterminds behind our rise up the Football Conference in the early 2000s, may now be entering the twilight of his career. But the 34-year-old is keen to prove there is still plenty of life in the old dog yet back at Peterborough United. After his release from Championship big-spenders Sheffield Wednesday last summer, Boyd was head-hunted by Posh boss, Darren Ferguson; a man who managed Boyd during a six-year spell at London Road previously.
With 64 goals in 263 competitive appearances for Posh between 2007 and 2013, Boyd played the best football of his career for Peterborough. The form of the ‘White Pele’ had a big hand in their brief sojourn in the Championship back in 2009. In the latter half of his career, he’s more used to being in a team of perennial strugglers; attempting to upset the top-flight bookmakers and help Hull City and Burnley to cement their place in the Premier League. This time around, however, he’s looking to help galvanise a Peterborough squad that looks geared up for another tilt at the Championship.
Boyd’s lethal team-mates
A two-year contract at the age of 34 is something that Boyd couldn’t turn down, despite other offers from lower-end Championship clubs. The challenge of trying to help Posh back to the second tier was too alluring. It’s not surprising when you consider that Boyd’s role at London Road is to feed not one, but two of League One’s hottest striking prospects: Ivan Toney and Mo Eisa.
23-year-old Toney has 14 league goals ifrom his first 19 league appearances this term. The Northampton-born hotshot has experience of playing at a higher level. Back in 2015, he secured a life-changing switch to Newcastle United from Northampton Town at the tender age of 19. Unfortunately, after three years on Tyneside and plenty of on- and off-field turmoil at the Magpies, Toney dropped down two divisions to play for an upwardly mobile Posh. It was a similar scenario for strike partner Eisa; going from Cheltenham Town in League Two to Championship promotion hopefuls Bristol City in 2018. But, after failing to make the grade at Ashton Gate, Eisa ended up at London Road too.
Boyd’s vision, weight of pass and creativity marries up very well with the raw pace and power of Toney and Eisa. It’s, therefore, little surprise to see Peterborough at the top end of the League One table; battling it out for automatic promotion with the likes of Wycombe Wanderers and Ipswich Town. Before the festive season, Posh were just a single point off the top two; the Tractor Boys with the luxury of a game in hand, however.
How has Boyd performed so far this season?
Peterborough were forced to plough on without the services of their star playmaker in recent weeks; Boyd sustaining a minor knee strain. Darren Ferguson has, however, confirmed that he’s already back in training; hoping to play a key part of the Christmas schedule. They’ll certainly need him. The injury list is starting to pile up quite worryingly. With a squad that’s not as deep as former Championship sides like Ipswich, it could be Posh’s automatic promotion downfall.
In terms of how Boyd has been used since his Posh return, Ferguson is using him on the right of a diamond midfield. There’s no denying that Boyd may have lost much of his acceleration in recent years. But he’s lost none of his guile and fleet-of-foot in tight areas. He may also be playing in a slightly more disciplined role than he used to in a Posh shirt. Again, that’s largely due to the free role afforded to Posh playmaker Marcus Maddison.
The midfielder from the North East has something of a ‘bad boy’ image. But his ability to score, create and provide a threat from dead ball situations is invaluable. When you consider the attacking power Posh possess, you’d be wise not to bet against Boyd having one final year in the Championship in 2020-1.