Wigan Athletic come into the 2022-23 EFL Championship season having been promoted from the third tier of the English Football League system, the EFL League One, as champions. The Latics clinched the title on the last matchday of the season after finishing with 92 points. Their main objective for next season will be to survive in the EFL Championship. One of their star men in the successful campaign was centre-back, Jack Whatmough, who was named in the PFA League One Team of the Season for his excellent performances at the back.
Jack Whatmough played in all 46 EFL League One matches for Wigan Athletic last season. In fact, he missed just 31 minutes of action throughout the campaign. He was most active in the area just outside his penalty box. And as a defender who has the ‘defend first’ mindset, this is hardly surprising. Still, the centre-back managed to score twice and assist twice for the Latics. As a result, he was involved in a goal every 1,027 minutes.
In the above visual, we can see the locations of the duels won by Whatmough. Occasionally, he ventured forward, most notably for set-pieces, as seen by the number of aerial duels won in the opposition’s penalty box. However, the vast majority of his victorious duels came in the defensive third, and he also won a sizeable chunk of duels in midfield. Despite being relatively short for a centre-back (standing at 184 cm), Whatmough won most of his duels in the form of aerial duels followed by ground-based defensive duels and 50/50s.
As shown in the above pass map, Jack Whatmough liked to play simple passes to not lose possession in dangerous areas. As a result, his pass accuracy was very high (at least in the high 80s, if not the low 90s in terms of percentage). He completed a decent number of balls into the attacking third and even laid a couple of assists.
Most of the xT generated by Whatmough came from the defensive third of the pitch, and his average xT score hovered around the 0.5 mark. Unsurprisingly, he opted to stay back to prevent the opposition’s counterattacks and regain possession of the ball.
Jack Whatmough’s performances were good enough to not only be named in the Team of the Season, but he has also become a leader at the back. However, Whatmough’s biggest challenge lies ahead as he has never played in the EFL Championship in his career so far, and he will have a point to prove.