Middlesbrough’s new summer signing Matt Crooks has been instrumental in providing impressive performance for his team despite the club’s inconsistent start to the Championship. The attacking midfielder joined Boro on a three-year deal from the relegated Rotherham United. He has scored a total of two goals so far in the league, which places him in the 1st position in the Middlesbrough goal-scoring chart along with Ikpeazu. The 27-year-old has gotten into trouble a couple of times, he currently has four yellow cards to his name which means if he is handed another, he will have to sit out of the games through suspension. Despite his red card controversy, he has played an influential role in creating spaces for his teammates and has been successful in pulling around defenders.
Let’s look at Crooks’ stats and analyse his position and role in the team
As seen in the above stats, the majority of his attacking and creativity metrics fared better than the league median average. He ranked highly in terms of headed shots per 90, goals per 90 and xG per shot. His ability to receive the ball and carry it to half the length of the pitch to dangerous zones can be fatal for the opponents. His creativity along with his pace has developed over time which gives him an edge over the opponents.
Crooks’ strong physical presence and speed on the pitch have helped him move around the pitch leaving the defenders behind. His ability to better holding up and linking up play has been of great help to the team. He has been involved in early build-ups and has made different runs compared to other players.
His pass receives location displays the areas of the pitch in which he received his passes. As indicated by the chart his work rate is brilliant as he drops into his position to receive passes and contribute to the build-up phases of the game. So far this season Crooks has received most of his passes on the left-wing and in the half-spaces in the opponent half. He has also dropped deep in his own half to receive passes.
Crooks’ heat map indicates his impressive work rate in this season so far, he has been active on both wings. He is almost ever-present on the field while dropping deep to support his team during transitions.
He has also been involved in a plethora of duels all over the pitch. He has also won a considerable number of those duels. The attacking midfielder’s map suggests that he tracked back plenty of times to support his team during the transitions, engaging in multiple ground and air duels.
Crooks has shown consistent performance throughout his game time on the field. Neil Warnock recognized his role as an attacking midfielder and played it best to his strength. He recently complimented his stamina and hard running ability.
Middlesbrough is dealing with major goal-scoring issues this season, however Crooks can play an important role in getting into better positions so that he can find himself attempting more crosses and chances for his team. Although Crooks has impressed so far this season, staying out of trouble will be of utmost importance for him and his team.