The former Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, and Crystal Palace defender Scott Dann signed a one-year deal with Reading FC. With nearly 250 Premier League appearances to his name, the 34-year-old centre-back’s contract expired at Crystal Palace in the summer, and he will now bring a wealth of experience to the Royals backline for 2021-22.
It has taken Dann several weeks to build up his match fitness after joining the Royals on a free transfer, following his exit from Crystal Palace in the summer. It was an impressive full debut for Dann as he helped the Royals to victory against Barnsley in October. The former Crystal Palace defender was a stand-out performer in the 1-0 win, with Dann helping his side keep another clean sheet and providing the assist for John Swift to score his eighth goal of the campaign. But since then, Reading have faced a slump in their form and have only won one of their last five games in the league.
Reading’s manager and fans have been full of praise for the 34-year-old, who was making just his third appearance for the club in the EFL Championship after coming on as a substitute against Derby County and Cardiff City before the October international break. It did not take long for Scott Dann to show his experience in central defense for the Royals. He looked assured at the back and his positioning and reading of the game have been superb.
Let’s take a look at what the stats have to say:
When looking at the above chart, the general rule is that the longer the bar, the better the performance – you can see the league average in the middle, and % is the percentile rank the player is in. The Englishman averages 7.87 defensive actions per 90 but has a very high success rate and has won 94.55% of the duels. He has made 11.88 recoveries per 90 minutes and is ranked high for making recoveries per 90 amongst the other defenders. His aerial ball duels win percentage is the highest amongst the other duels contested.
Dann has been starting on the left side of a back-four and as a sweeper when playing in a back-three. His positioning in defensive transition has been impressive, and he does not make many mistakes, a result of his Premier League experience. The Reading defense looks much more stable than what it was at the start of the season with Dann at the back, but their attackers have failed to perform in the final third in their recent games.
The above visual shows us the successful passes Dann has played so far in the league. The pass map for Dann indicates that the centre-back has played several passes into the final third of the pitch that generated a high threat on the opposition’s defense. Dann is a calm figure on the ball and can play from the back if needed. The number of passes he has played in his half shows that he has seen a lot of the ball when Reading are in possession and helps to stretch out the game by playing passes towards the flanks.
Dann has won 54.55% of the defensive actions he has attempted and has a high success rate in winning defensive as well as aerial duels. Dann has won the most number of aerial as well as defensive duels he has attempted. The English centre-back has attempted a high number of aerial duels higher up the pitch in the opposition’s penalty area, which indicates the threat he imposes from set-pieces. He has the physique to win the aerial balls from the opposition players. Dann has attempted a high number of 50-50 duels in his half and has been able to time most of these duels well.
The 34-year-old has also attempted a high number of interceptions in his half and can stop most of the attacks that the opposition creates, as he can read the game well and can position himself accordingly. Dann has made timely interceptions at the back against most of the teams.
Scott Dann gives what Reading need in every situation, and the mental side of it, the team’s football intelligence increased as a whole with him on the field. His composure, experience, maturity, quality, intelligence, and reading of the game, really gives Reading what they need on the pitch.