We don’t really see players who are specialists at only one thing in the modern game, and most of them are expected to be excellent in every area of the game.
Ultimately that does lead to a lot of players being fairly “samey” and it does take some of the excitement out of the game, but it’s the reality of the Premier League just now.
West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen is an interesting example of this as there’s no doubt that he’s a threat going forward, but a report from Football Insider has looked at the defensive side of his game.
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You can manipulate stats to show you anything you want these days, but they claim that the stats show he’s the fourth worst player in Europe for allowing opposing players to make progressive passes against him.
Ultimately it does suggest he needs to work harder at his defensive positioning and closing players down properly, and Kevin Phillips has indicated that he will need to brush up on this part of his game if he wants to keep his place in the side:
“Stats don’t lie. In possession, he’s great. But ultimately out of possession, you’ve got to know your positions, you’ve got to know when to press, you’ve got to know where to show someone and where not to show them.
“If you don’t get it quite right at this level, you get punished. It’s no surprise because he’s more of an offensive player, defending’s not his main duty. But we all know that nowadays you’ve got to be able to do both.
“So that will be an area they’ll want to improve. These coaches know that. They’ll look at the stats.
“It’s certainly an area that he needs to learn, the young kid. That will get better as time goes on, particularly under Moyes who is a fantastic coach.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a major concern for Moyes because they are getting results. He’ll be more concerned with what he does when he’s in possession.”
While that may sound overly harsh on Bowen it’s something that can be corrected with hard work and some quality coaching, but it’s something he will need to do to ensure he can be relied upon in every game.