This week Connor McLaughlin received an international call up for Northern Ireland as the team face off against Netherlands and Germany in the UEFA Euro qualifiers. McLaughlin earned the call up despite being part of a Sunderland team who failed to perform consistently over the last few weeks (WhoScored.com).
When a fan account, Sunderland AFC StatZone, tweeted out statistics from the player season that have helped earn him a call-up there were other fans you responded to the tweets suggesting he is undeserving of his spot in the Sunderland squad. But what if we dig deeper? What if we look at all the stats?
TIF Tactics – How has McLaughlin actually performed this season?
This article will look at how McLaughlin performs, on average, over a 90 minute period. Being a right-back, we will naturally start by looking at the player’s defensive performances. We will only be taking data from the start of the 2019/2020 season.
McLaughlin averages 6.99 defensive duels per 90 minutes, winning just 60.6% of those duels. He also averages 5.77 aerial duels per 90, winning 69.7% of those. He averages 4.4 interceptions and 9.59 recoveries as well. Of the recoveries, 26.5% happen in the opponent’s half. And while those defensive statistics sound good, McLaughlin averages 13.3 losses per 90 minutes, 28.7% of which happen in his own half. He also averages 1.32 fouls per game.
Moving into the defender’s ability to progress the ball up the field, McLaughlin averages to 7.35 passes into the final third, with a 60.4% accuracy. And as a full-back, he only averages 2.07 dribbles for 90 minutes, 53.8% of which are successful. He also only averages 2.38 crosses per 90 minutes, with a 31.1% accuracy.
At first glance, McLaughlin’s defensive statistics suggest a player is playing well. However, upon closer inspection, there are some major area concerns surrounding dispossessions and a lack of influence going forward.
(all data and stats from Wyscout.com, accurate at the time of writing)