So, here are some additional thoughts to try and claw my way back to relevancy on the post and make it the quality needed for the sort of set I am proposing. He has now led his third team in three years to promotion to the EPL, all of which were as a central figure. That has to be some sort of record. He is finally part of a clubs long term plans (Fulham opted for the expensive Seri instead of exercising his buyout clause from Brighton that was cheap) as their creative hub. I see him as a player with some big strengths in long passing, but clear physical limitations that are holding him back from more recognition. Honestly, players like Vanaken in Brugge slip through the cracks and are unconventional, but clearly have strengths. Since my stats making ability has been getting more refined and more disciplined studying other sets, comments, and analyses, I am going to be trying to limit this player to just what he is: a deep lying playmaker with some really interesting movement and really good passing/long shooting, but little more. Thankfully, he will be in the EPL and more people will watch him next season. Before going with concrete numbers I want to post this stuff with my observations not directly related to stats then asked more experienced members to weigh in if they can on how to make sure we convey this correctly.
He mostly sits very deep and then moves to the side of the pitch as a deeper option that then can switch play in an instant by zipping a really pacey and well placed long ball. With his limited attacking presence anywhere closer than 25m from goal, I would be in favor of limiting his attack more. He is not making runs or movements that I would call of anything indicating high attacking intelligence or ability, rather it is a teamwork aspect. He also does this since it allows the CBs to get really, really, high up the pitch as the coach likes. Norwood does a little of the same thing Frenkie De Jong does at times where he drops ridiculously deep to get the ball and allow others to push up, and then help advance the ball quickly to try and create an overload, although with differing methods of getting the ball up the pitch. Below are some examples:
- Spoiler: show
- https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=172 he moves out wide a lot to offer a short back pass option
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=269 he takes up very deep positions for the most part like this and serves a hard driven pass into more advances players, allowing his team to push further forward
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=281 here we can see his type of movement perfect, constantly dropping where he is positioned. He could very easily advance his position and be an option still, but he mostly serves as the safety option as the close and deeper positioned midfielder that is always an easy pass.
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=363 here again he walks towards his teammate on the ball to pick it up in a deep location and then gets it out wide
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=552 here again we can see him splitting the CBs and then whenever the ball moves up to the WB he tries getting closer, but clearly still in a very deep position. He does not try to run forward and attack open space that other players would thrive on, but rather is more reserved and disciplined in his approach and positioning.
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=720 first instinct after passing the ball is to drop deeper
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=823 amongst the CB line taking the place of Egan who has gone forward, and then drives a long diagonal ball out to Stevens
https://youtu.be/j3QyBJCXPEA?t=194 here he is again is a deeper and free position that a defender won’t be close to him given the area that he then can easily swing in to the box
Some more passes just because they're nice and likely higher yellow material, but I am more resigned to is than I was in the past (speed over accuracy normally and super nice one touch passes):
- Spoiler: show
- https://youtu.be/j3QyBJCXPEA?t=739 here is a nice lofted pass into the runner
https://youtu.be/8zsVFGvhcZM?t=65 defender is tight and he still puts it in just the place his man will be best able to get it
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=522 the only players deeper than him are the two CBs, and just barely, when he tries to squeeze this in a very tight window. He doesn’t complete it by a hair. But, it is an aggressive look. Not many players that go for those attempts.
https://youtu.be/j3QyBJCXPEA?t=91 really good one touch long cross into the box into a very dangerous area and to pick out his teammate
https://youtu.be/dcB54De_cuo?t=84 good tight angle he puts it in
He takes up very deep positions, but is not a proactive or aggressive defender. He looks for the passing lanes that are not being covered by his teammates, especially when the CBs are playing very high as they tend to do, and then drops to the general area to fill the space. However, he next to never presses to win the ball back and lets Fleck do more of the hard running and tacking. He points others to where they need to take up positions defensively, but he himself does not adjust his positioning, which should be really simple given his normally deep positioning beforehand. Whenever it does come time to get stuck in, he does good to win the ball and not foul, but he does really avoid that for the most part. Mostly does the basic pushing his mark wide and then can steal a ball in a crowd and tries to slow down the opposition so his teammates can get back and compact.
- Spoiler: show
- https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=675 here he is doing a rather typical extremely low urgency press. He sees where the danger is twice in this clip and does next to nothing to close it down.
https://youtu.be/XoZc6GWZMuM?t=776 player is right behind him, and he knows this, and he doesn’t do anything to try and correct to get in a good position.
https://youtu.be/j3QyBJCXPEA?t=582 does nothing to step to Adam Reach
https://youtu.be/4SbYcCSgcYw?t=155 here again does very little and lets the cross come in without closing down much.
https://youtu.be/4SbYcCSgcYw?t=350 really slow but at least forces the attacker to go straight and cuts the option to cut inwards
https://youtu.be/whrgXdUNLqc?t=41 bad athleticism here and just passes as if he were a stationary traffic cone
https://youtu.be/whrgXdUNLqc?t=136 everyone is expected to be able to make this tackle
End notes and stat rough thoughts:
Attack can be in the upper 60s or 70 tops
Defense needs to go down into 55 range, maybe tops
DS is lower yet
Header and jump can both be way closer to 60
I hope this can help limit him a lot more where he needs it so the strengths can be highlighted and he isn't too good overall when that is not his type of play style.
He averaged 7.7 long passes a game (not connecting on 4.6 per game which is insanely high for an average when compared to other players) leading the league by over 2.2 more per game than the next closest field player and over 2 crosses a game which ranked in the top 5 most on a per game basis in the league.