Following Reading’s home defeat to Birmingham City in early December, Mark Bowen was forced into bringing fellow compatriot Chris Gunter back in to the side, as a result of Yiadom’s injury. 

In 2019 the 30 year-old was frozen out by former manager José Gomes, alongside good friend Garath McCleary.

Their time at the club seemed destined to be up; however, following Bowen’s appointment, both players were brought back in to first team training and named in a match day squad shortly after.

Gunter in particular has been presented with a string of first team chances since Yiadom’s injury, and many fans feel he has taken the opportunity in his stride.

The Welshman has played every minute of the Royals’ last nine league games and some fans have suggested he has made the position his own. 

Reading fans had reason to be worried when the club confirmed Yiadom was out for the foreseeable future.

However, Gunter has shown he is more than up to the mark, with a significant improvement in his crossing ability and a clear understanding of the role he has to play offensively, as well as defensively. 

Yiadom played mainly as a wing-back prior to his injury, with Bowen not making wholesale changes to the tactics put in place by his predecessor.

Since Gunter’s return to the first team, Bowen has adjusted his tactics accordingly but has mainly preferred to play with full-backs rather than the original 5-3–2 system he took over.

In previous years Gunter has tended to avoid playing the forward pass and has been criticised for playing too safe or ‘sideways football’.

However, under Bowen the Welshman has displayed a positive style of play, in contrast to the very ‘stand-offish’ role that he has been accused of playing in the past.

A large proportion of fans were very sceptical about Gunter’s return, but now many will be asking whether his performances of late are enough to keep Yiadom out of the first eleven; Bowen certainly has a decision to make.

Given Gunter’s impressive recent form, it would be unfair for the Royals boss to simply bring the Ghanian international straight back in.

Bowen has to assess what he feels suits the style he wants to play best and make a decision accordingly; he has been known to vary his tactics and formations dependant on the opposition, meaning there could be opportunities for both Yiadom and Gunter.

In terms of statistics, Yiadom comes out on top, registering an average of 2.1 successful dribbles per game in comparison to Gunter’s 0.3; this is supportive of the suggestion that Gunter is keen to play the pass or cross rather than attempt to beat his man - something Yiadom is renowned for.

The Ghanian also averages over double the amount of key passes per game and is fouled seven times more than Gunter on average.

On the other hand, Wales’ most capped player performs significantly better in terms of losing possession and poor control, with Yiadom ranking particularly poorly. 

A difficult decision for Mark Bowen to have to make, with both players having performed consistently this season but certainly a good complaint to have for the Royals manager.