As of today 30th March 2022, Cardiff City are currently sitting in 17th place on the points table of the EFL Championship. They have conceded the fifth-most goals in the EFL Championship – 56. But one of their best performing players this season has been the defender Mark McGuinness. The 21-year-old Irishman is having a very good defensive season at Cardiff. He may not be their most valuable defender, but he has played the third-most minutes of any player this season.
Given above are the defensive performances of Mark McGuinness relative to the rest of the league. McGuinness attempts 13.67 defensive actions per 90, which puts him in the upper quintile. What’s more, he is successful 83% of the time. McGuinness attempts 7.22 defensive duels per game but comes out successful only 28.63% of the time. So he has room to improve in this area. McGuinness attempts just over six aerial duels, but despite his height of 194cm, he has an aerial duel win rate of only 57.21%. So he will need to improve here as well. McGuinness also makes just over 12 recoveries per game. He commits 1.3 fouls per game, which is better than 89% of the players in the league.
Given above is the interceptions map of Mark McGuinness. As a defender, his duty is to stop attacks in the defensive third. And that is why he has most of his defensive actions in that area of the pitch. Many of his interceptions have been duels won. McGuinness has completed 52 interceptions until this point in the season. He also has 28 completed tackles to his name. Having played 2631 minutes, McGuinness makes around 2.74 tackles and interceptions per 90.
Seen above is the pass sonar, xT timeline, and xT map of Mark McGuinness. McGuinness does not create much of the threat, as seen in the xT timeline. He rarely exceeds the xT value of 0.5. His highest xT value, which is close to 0.8, comes just after the start of the second half. In the xT map, his best threat creation zones happen to be on the right wing in the midfield. His role in the attack may just be making simple passes to teammates who are better on the ball with more creativity.
Mark McGuinness is a promising young centre-back who has certain weaknesses in his game. But as a 21-year-old, he still has ample time to improve his qualities. If he does improve as a defender, he could be a solid centre-back for a team in the upper echelons of the Championship or even the lower levels of the Premier League.