In this scout report, we are going to break down how Liam Walsh plays with and without the ball. Liam Walsh is an English footballer, who started his career with an EPL club, Everton. He got a transfer to Bristol City, a club that plays in the EFL Championship, and from there he went on loan to Coventry City FC. Moreover, in this tactical analysis piece, we will analyse some indicators that give him an extra advantage while playing. Furthermore, this analysis includes a comparison between him and the team. In that way, we will see Liam Walsh’s impact on the team.
His role in the team
Coventry City have played with several different tactics and formations during the season. The most common formations that the manager, Mark Robins uses, are the 3-4-3 or the 3-4-2-1. These are formations that demand that the full-backs participate in the offensive and defensive part of the game. Additionally, the centre midfielders must be supportive and keep the balance between the lines with and without the ball.
Liam Walsh is a central midfielder. His role in the team is mostly as a defensive midfielder, but his awareness and his technical characteristics allow him to support not only the defensive line but the offensive part of the game in an efficient way.
Liam Walsh without the ball
Starting the scout report from the final third, Liam Walsh is a player with a high awareness and a good ability to read the game. Those facts let the player be very supportive in the opponent’s half. For that reason, Walsh takes a position on the field between the centre of the field and the opponent’s box. In that way, he is between the centre line and the rest of the team, with a high position in and around the box. Liam Walsh has a twofold role in that part of the game: firstly he is making sure that he will go for every rebound around the box, and he will try to put the ball back in the box when it comes out. Secondly, Walsh is making sure that Coventry retains the balance of the team, and he restricts a counterattack with his effective transition game.
Analysing his game without the ball in the middle third, we can see that his ability in reading the game makes the difference. Liam Walsh is a player that can scan the space. For that reason, he can forecast some parts of the game before they happen. This is a great advantage, and especially when the defending part comes in. This is an ability that gives Liam Walsh the advantage to read the game and take the right positioning. Moreover, the good positioning gives him the advantage in defensive duels. In that way, he has more chances to regain possession of the ball and start a counterattack or a positional attack.
Going a step deeper into the field, Liam Walsh becomes more supportive. The wing-backs are coming deeper, meaning Coventry City are defending with a defensive line of five players. Moreover, Walsh is stepping deeper and is taking a position in the box. This is a way for Coventry City to become more compact when defending. By doing so, Coventry City is trying to protect its goal with as many players as possible. The opponent has to encounter a strong defensive line, which is working with the same purpose.
Liam Walsh with the ball
Breaking down Walsh’s game from the back, we can see that he is a player that likes to play in front of the defensive line. In that way, he tries to help the defenders to build up the game from the back, and not play a long ball. Moreover, we can see that Liam Walsh is an important player for Coventry City: with those kinds of movements, he is trying to receive the first pass from the defensive line. In that way, Walsh is becoming the player that is transferring the ball from the defensive third, through the middle, to the final third. Coventry City as a team wants to dominate possession of the ball, so this is a crucial role in the team’s style of play.
When he receives the ball in the first third of the field he has the role of the linking player among the thirds. Because of his awareness, he knows where to pass the ball before receiving it, which is a great advantage. Coventry City is a team that prefers playing the ball from the back and transferring the ball through the thirds. Because of that, many times, Coventry City has to deal with opponents that are trying to block this type of game style. This is where players like Liam Walsh can be invaluable, and help the whole team to come out of these kinds of situations successfully. When Walsh is the carrier of the ball in the middle third, he prefers a penetrative style of game. His ability in scanning the field is very strong, and this is something that helps him to be accurate with most of his passes. Those kinds of penetrative passes give Coventry City a great advantage: the ball is transferred into the final third more quickly than usual. As well as that, Walsh has the ability with those passes to play through the lines of the opposing players. This is happening because several times the opponents press the carrier of the ball, with free space appearing in between the lines. Additionally, Walsh has the patience to play the ball safely to his team, to retain possession of the ball, when this is necessary.
Although he is a midfielder, Liam Walsh, when he has the ball in the final third of the field, knows how to react, and what to do. It is very important for players to know how to adjust to different scenarios and situations. A player that can adjust out of the comfort zone of his regular position is more useful for any team, and this is because the team has a player that can understand the game from every point of the pitch, and can demonstrate the appropriate skills and techniques. Liam Walsh knows what to do when he is in the attacking midfield position. He tries to play penetrative balls into the box and create chances for his teammates. Moreover, he knows how to react when he is on the flanks. He can adjust and become a winger. Those kinds of players are useful for coaches, as they can lean on them.
What makes the difference in Walsh’s game
In this section, we will analyse deeper a part of Walsh’s game that we mentioned previously. This is his awareness. Liam Walsh not only checks behind his shoulders before receiving the ball but also does so when he looks to claim the ball after the opposing team has cleared it. This is a constant part of his game. For this reason, he knows where to pass when the ball reaches him, and where to go when he is looking to win it back for his team. In that way, he makes sure he takes the best positions on the pitch, increasing his chances of winning in duels on the pitch.
Another part of Walsh’s game that makes him valuable to the team is his organisation and communication skills. Walsh, when he cannot receive the ball to connect the defensive with the attacking line, guides his teammates by communicating with them. This is very important, as there are times that even professional players need guidance. For a manager, it is difficult from the dugout to guide every player, telling them which direction to pass in a difficult situation. This is a job that has to be done by someone on the field. Liam Walsh does that role very well, as he manages and organises his teammates, and is trying to get them out of a difficult situation.
Statistical analysis shows that Liam Walsh plays a crucial role in the performance of Coventry City. He is a player that contributes to keeping the statistics of Coventry City at a high level. As mentioned above, Coventry City prefers to keep the possession of the ball and dominate in every area of the field. Coventry City has 78.05% passing accuracy, while Walsh has 80.72% in the same indicator. Moreover, Coventry City has 66.55% in forward passing and Walsh has 67.34%. As far as the passes into the final third go, Coventry has 60.74% successful passes, while Liam Walsh has 61.74% in the same category. Furthermore, if we break down some of the defensive indicators of Coventry City’s game, we will see that the team has won 60.6% of the defensive duels, while Walsh has won 64.45% of them. Lastly, Coventry has won 47.54% of the aerial duels and Walsh has won 56.6%. These numbers show the contribution that Liam Walsh makes during the season in the crucial demands of Coventry City’s game.
From this scouting report, we can see that Liam Walsh is a crucial player for Coventry City. He has made the difference during this season. This is a fact that we can spot not only from his performance but also if we analyse his statistics. Moreover, Liam Walsh came into Coventry City from Bristol City on loan, which is a club that plays a league above his current team. Walsh’s performances during the season have helped in Coventry City’s successful bid for promotion to the Championship, which shows the quality of this player.