Monday, 1 September 2014

Roy's New Lions: Ready to Roar?

The latest set of internationals sees England face Norway in a friendly and Switzerland in a qualifier for euro 2016. With Gerrard and Lampard now retired from international football there are certainly holes to be plugged in the centre if the park and that's where the most surprising inclusions in the latest England squad lie. 

Aston Villa's Fabian Delph and Newcastle's Jack Colback have both earnt their first international call ups. This early international squad often leads to a few surprise inclusions based on so little domestic football having been played. Last year andros Townsend's early form got him selected and a good performance against Poland probably would have for him in the plane to Brazil, had he not been injured, and that's despite him failing to score or register an assist or scoring in the premier league. So there's definitely hope Colback and Delph can establish themselves as regulars.

Colback's move from Sunderland to the team he has always supported, Newcastle, raised a few eyebrows, but he has handled the move with a great level if maturity and has been one of the Magpie's top performers in this embryonic season.

Colback's role is more to dictate play from deep, whereas Delph is more adept at breaking up play, apparently dubbed by some as the 'ginger Pirlo'. Colback's pass accuracy of 90.1% is the highest of all Newcastle players, he has made 53.7 passes per game, the highest of all Newcastle's midfielders. He also plays an average of 5 long balls per game, so his passing is not just short balls in his own half but helps the game ticking over and can launch attacks or switch the play.

Despite playing from a deeper position Colback still contributes to the attack, creating an average of 1.7 chances per game, to put that in context Steven Gerrard has average 2 per game so far this season. 

Delph has been one of Villa's more consistent performers in recent years. The 24 year old has made an average of 1.7 tackles and 1 interceptions per game this season, the 5th highest for both in the Villa side. He has committed just 1 foul so far this season and his discipline shows his maturity, that's an impressive total given him main role in the side is breaking up play.

He does need to add more to the attacking side of his game, having scored just 3 goals last season, although that was an improvement on his total of 0 for the previous 3 seasons, he only managed 2 assists as well. Given that he's playing deeper attacking influence isn't as important as his defensive work which is ultimately what he's been picked for, but it would make him a more complete midfielder.

Hopefully both players will actually get a chance to represent their country and you feel it would be a big moment for both players which could be the moment that accelerates their careers and allows them to become a part of the England set up on a more regular basis.

Statistics courtesy of whoscored.com

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