Comparing Ashley Young’s stats to his rivals for an England place
Ashley Young has earned an England recall thanks to his fine form for Manchester United, but how does he compare statistically to some of his rivals from Tottenham, Manchester City and Southampton?
Young has earned the trust of Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, being deployed in a variety of roles in some of United’s biggest games of the season thanks to his tactical discipline and defensive work-rate.
Despite making his name as a winger, the 32-year-old has played the majority of his football at either full-back or wing-back this term.
“I’m one of those players who can read the game well,” Young recently told ESPN. “I’ve got that experience to be clever, know where to be, when to attack, when to defend.
“It’s been quite easy to adjust to the position, and with the help of [Mourinho] and the other players I’ve done that really well.”
With Gareth Southgate hoping to experiment with a three-man defence, Young is expected to compete with Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker for a place on either flank.
We’ve compared the quintet’s Premier League stats from the current season, using a per 90 minute metric where applicable. Since Rose has only made a solitary appearance in the division this term, we’ve used his stats from last season.
— England (@England) November 2, 2017
While wing-backs are expected to contribute offensively, they likewise cannot ignore their defensive responsibility. Analysing defensive statistics can be difficult as they can be skewed by factors such as how much a team spends on the front foot, tactics and the quality of the opposition.
But Young’s stats do suggest, perhaps as expected, that he is not as strong in this area of the game as his rivals for a place in Southgate’s side.
The Manchester United man’s tackle success rate of 53.6% is comfortably lower than Rose (70.7%), Trippier (70.8%), Bertrand (71.4%) and Walker (84.6%).
His aerial duel win rate of 41.2% may be identical with Bertrand, but is still down on Trippier (59.3%), Rose (64%) and Walker (74.3%).
Having spoken of his ability to read the game well, one statistic Young does impress in is interceptions, making an average of 1.9 per 90 minutes. Only Rose (1.3) averages more than one among the other options.
In terms of clearances, Young’s 2.6 per 90 minutes is higher than Bertrand (1.1) and Walker (2.5), but lower than Rose (3.1) and Trippier (3.3).
Great to see Ashley Young back in the England squad. Only people who haven't watched him will say he doesn't deserve to be there.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) November 2, 2017
As a player who has largely operated as a winger throughout the majority of his career, Young will hope his attacking expertise can give him an advantage over the more traditional full-backs.
In 11 matches this season, however, the former Aston Villa man has registered one assist, with only Bertrand recording fewer. Both Trippier and Walker have created an impressive four goals for team-mates, while Rose had two to his name last season, albeit from 18 matches.
But assist statistics can be misleading. A player can created plenty of chances only to see them go to waste due to a team-mate’s profligate finishing.
And yet only Walker (0.7) creates fewer chances per 90 minutes than Young (0.9). Bertrand (1), Rose (1.5) and Trippier (2) all fare better in this aspect of their game.
Young also has the worst passing accuracy at 73.9%, with Bertrand (85.2%) and Walker (86.7%) leading the way in this regard.
One aspect the returning veteran has been more productive is crosses, averaging the most per 90 minutes than any of his rivals (1.1).
Few could begrudge Young his recall to the international fold, but it still appears that he has work to do if he is to usurp his younger competition.