Blackburn Rovers have done some very efficient piece of business this summer, bringing in some young talented players from the Premier League into the EFL Championship.
One of these recruits has been the 20-year-old midfielder from Liverpool academy, Leighton Clarkson who has joined the side on loan. It has been a good move for the youngster away from Anfield to Ewood Park where he would get sufficient game time for his much-needed improvement, which could have evaded him if he stayed at Merseyside this season.
With Blackburn forming relatively well this season finding themselves in 11th position in the league, we look at his stats so far.
The youngster has played in six matches so far, sometimes starting on the right side of the double pivot in the 4-2-3-1 system while also playing as a number 10 on few occasions. He has also played on the left side of a 4-3-3 system at times. The red and orange areas in the above image show that he has naturally spent the majority of his time at the heart of the pitch, covering a lot of ground. His positioning on the right-hand side in the attacking third is clearly prominent while drifting towards the left side of the pitch as well. Clarkson has dropped a lot into the defensive third providing as a cover for the defence and helping the team to start fast counters which they heavily rely on. He has played only a handful of passes, as much as 102 yet averaging 47 touches on the ball and 30 passes per 90. He has recorded a passing accuracy of 72% where he can work on a bit to become more precise. Most of his passes have been near the right flank in the attacking third to create chances. Clarkson has played mainly short passes but has attempted cross field balls on certain occasions to change the direction of play. The youngster has played a lot of passes into the wide channels for the wingers to operate while playing a huge number of through balls from midfield into the dangerous areas upfront during the counter attacks with some balls having xT of 0.3240. His passing accuracy has been an area of concern as he has ranked only 8th percentile in terms of accurate passes per 90 and 14th percentile in terms of accurate attacking third passes which is way lower than the league median. But his vision is impeccable, picking out players time and again against the run of play ranking 95th percentile in smart passes played per 90 while ranking 97th percentile for his dangerous through balls per 90.
As a defensive mid, he had to engage in a lot of duels. The youngster boasts a 50% successful duel winning rate from a total of 22 duels he has engaged in so far. Most of his duels have been on the ground, as the player is not very strong in the air winning only 33% of aerial battles. His tackling has been mediocre with a success rate of 57%. Other than that, Clarkson also has five clearances to show for. From his limited chances as an attacking mid, Clarkson has not been able to score. He has taken only four shots mostly from long range with an accuracy of 33%.
From the minimal chances he has gotten so far, Clarkson has been relatively impressive. A lot of areas can ask for improvement in his gameplay, at the age of just 20, Leighton will have enough time to make himself better.