Harry Wilson has undoubtedly had a stunning season on loan at Derby County. An impressive collection of goals, assists and moments of inspiration will combine into a season that the young Welshman will never forget. This tactical analysis will look to explore Harry Wilson’s future at Liverpool with the use of statistics.
Liverpool have made a huge breakthrough in Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has stapled his name as one of the first on Jürgen Klopp’s team sheet. The Liverpudlian has set the benchmark for the Liverpool coaching staff to progress and find the next star in the making, fresh out the fields of Melwood.
It is only a matter of time until Wilson gets his opportunity at Liverpool. After making three appearances for Wales in the past 12 months, the questions are there to be as to why the Wrexham-born creative midfielder isn’t getting his opportunity to shine in Liverpool’s first team?
At this time, Wilson is preparing himself for the Championship Play-Off Final after a sensational comeback at Elland Road against Leeds United, which saw them progress to the “most valuable game in football”.
The 22-year-old prefers playing in the number ten role. His flexibility and attacking versatility has been a dream for Derby manager Frank Lampard. His ability to take set pieces has also caught the attention of many this season, particularly his free kicks against Manchester United at Old Trafford, and his 25-yard strike against Ireland in Dublin for Wales.
Wilson made the majority of his appearances on the right, and according to Who Scored, had his best spell of performances while out wide despite being favourably left-footed. He scored eight goals in 13 appearances and proved to be a credible threat to opposition full-backs, with his range of passing, through balls and attempts on goal from distance.
The youngster achieved 16 goals in 39 appearances in the Championship this season, at the same time accumulating an average of 2.7 shots per game and a 74.6% pass completion rate, which clearly illustrates the composure and the confidence in this young man’s game, something that Jürgen Klopp could do with in his squad next season, perhaps.
His style of play suggests that he does get fouled quite often. This can be attributed to his preference of cutting inside as he is very durable on his weaker right foot. Wilson also loves to track back, which suits Klopp’s philosophy of heavy metal football down to a tee.
His statistics compared to his teammates really do stand out. Tom Lawrence has been playing on the opposite wing this season along with his fellow countryman and is also very versatile, but has not had quite the impact this season that Wilson has. Despite featuring in more games than the Liverpool winger in a fixed position for Frank Lampard’s side, he only managed four goals in 19 games for the Rams this season, averaging 2.3 shots per game and a pass completion rate of 74.8%.
Some were questioning before the start of the season the decision to loan Wilson back to the Championship, after a successful loan spell at Hull City the season before. The Welsh maestro turned 22 in March and is on the books alongside some of the world’s top forward players in Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
It’s fair to say that he certainly has lacked the opportunity at Liverpool during his time at the club, after some favourable performances playing for the U23s in the 2016/17 campaign. Klopp decided that the next step for his development would be a loan spell in the second tier of English football. This season, he has definitely had the opportunity, playing a total of 3,366 minutes and picking up three man of the match awards.
Klopp will have rose to attention by some of his eye-catching performances this season, and with the former Borussia Dortmund manager looking to increase the squad depth in this side, and Daniel Sturridge looking to be on his way out of Anfield, time will tell over the next 3-4 months whether or not Wilson can fill those boots.
However, with Klopp’s side having an impeccable disciplinary record this season, Wilson picked up ten yellow cards this season in all competitions and that could be an area of his game that may need some improvement going forward.
Harry Wilson‘s ability is not to be underrated, with pundits on Sky Sports raving about the young star and admitted that his goal against Manchester United was the goal that he enjoyed the most.
this is without a doubt my favourite goal I’ve scored so far in my career. The way I struck the ball at the time, the stage it was on and obviously being a Liverpool and doing that at Old Trafford was a great feeling for me.” – Harry Wilson
With his Liverpool connections as a young boy, maybe it’s written in the stars that Wilson will go to feature in a red shirt more regularly. However, with the concerning rate of academy graduates featuring in the first team of late, it may not be the case.
Most notably, Raheem Sterling, Jon Flanagan, and Trent Alexander-Arnold are the only three in recent years to make a significant amount of appearances for Liverpool since progressing through Melwood.
Harry Wilson told BBC Sport in 2018 that he dreams of playing first-team football for Liverpool, after two successful loan spells in the Championship, is this now a possibility? Over to you, Jürgen.
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