Cardiff City’s Gavin Whyte declined to be drawn to the issue of making his move to Hull City permanent, but admitted that a loan transfer from the Welsh capital was something he “really needed to do”.
The Northern Ireland international has endured a tumultuous 18 months as a Cardiff City player, having been a mainstay under Neil Warnock before being pushed to the sidelines by his successor Neil Harris.
Whyte has started just one game for Cardiff under Harris this season, while the longest of his six substitute appearances was 14 minutes, often being brought in for cameo appearances in the dying minutes of games.
Now, however, he’s an important part of Grant McCann’s Hull squad, having scored three goals in nine games, including a brace in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Bristol Rovers.
Hull has risen to the top of League One and with Whyte now seemingly a crucial part of their promotion offer, questions have arisen about the player’s long-term future. However, the 25-year-old played a forehand to talk about a permanent transfer to the KCOM stadium.
“To be honest, I didn’t really think about it all the time,” he said. BBC Radio Humberside. “I want to keep doing what I’m doing now and focus on the football side, to be honest.
“It’s a really good place here, I brought my wife down and she loves it.
“I haven’t really thought too far, I just want to focus on the present. “
As Whyte’s Cardiff career started off brilliantly, his chances became increasingly limited and his progress risked stalling.
He admitted that he knew, for the sake of his career, that he needed to go out and get some playing time under his belt.
In January, the opportunity to move to Hull presented itself quickly and he seized it with both hands.
“It was long and it was hard because my daughter is at school in Cardiff,” he said of the difficulty surrounding the move. “Working things around that was a bit difficult, but then they progressed.
“I felt like I needed a loan at some point, but I didn’t know when it was going to happen.
“One day I went to practice and found out that Hull was interested and that was something I wanted to do right away and moved out the next day.
“To be honest, it was long and difficult, but it was something I really needed to do.”
Harris said there were aspects of Whyte’s game that needed to be worked on if he was to appear regularly for the Bluebirds.
Some supporters, while praising his brilliant defensive skills – indeed Neil Warnock once joked that Lee Peltier would get a call-up in England if he continued to play behind him – felt he needed to add a final product to his game. They felt he didn’t pose enough of a threat in the final third and that kept him from taking that step.
So, Hull boss Grant McCann looked to fix this and, after Whyte’s brace this weekend, said he believes the player tends to operate too deep and defensively, but that he could thrive in a more advanced role.
“Gavin was part of a Cardiff City side last year that placed in the top six in the league,” McCann said after the game. “He is a high level player, an international player.
“Today was more to refresh Keane [Lewis-Potter] and give it a break. Gavin trained really well, his performance against Rochdale, there was nothing wrong with that.
“He was probably a little defensive with his positioning at times. It’s about putting him in better positions so that he can affect the game and I think his two goals proved he can do that, so I’m really happy.
Whyte has operated on both flanks for Hull and looks just as skillful as his confidence grows and McCann thinks the player’s offensive versatility is a huge advantage.
“There’s a lot more to him for sure,” added McCann.
“Maybe he’s played a lot on the right in his career, but we know he can play on the left. He’s probably a little more direct when he’s playing on the right. He’ll take more people.
“On the left he finds little pockets that he’s skilled on the ball, he wants to come in and tie in with (Josh) Magennis and (Mallik) Wilks, so he’s a nice string to his bow. can play in a few positions. “
It seems even McCann was keen to loosen Whyte’s defensive chains in order to get the most out of him and, based on evidence from at least Saturday, that seems to have worked.
It is not yet known if Mick McCarthy will have the opportunity to work with him this summer. However, under the current system, one can’t help but think that he could be a perfect fit for this right-back role and could very well provide competition for Perry Ng to move forward.
All of that remains to be seen, however, as at this rate it looks like Hull will be in the Championship next season and Whyte has a big part to play in that.
There will undoubtedly be some close looks at the player’s progress for the remainder of the season, both at Cardiff and throughout the Championship.