Name: Harry Pickering
Team: Crewe Alexandra
Position: Left Back
A name many EFL lovers may not be fully aware of but one they should definitely remember. At only 19 years old Pickering has played 48 games already for Crewe in the EFL and is vastly experienced for such a young age. Pickering is just another off the Crewe academy production line that continually produces accomplished, technically sound players. The financial situation at Crewe means that these young players often are given the opportunity to step up into the first team from a very early age, Pickering fits into that category and has certainly taken his opportunity. The 19 year old is a highly technical player. This technique and ball striking ability means he is a key man for Crewe in the set piece delivery department. His set piece delivery and crossing ability firmly make him one of Crewe’s key players in chance creation, and furthermore his creative numbers are some of the best in the whole league for full backs, but how does he stack up against the rest of the league?
The chart above shows some key fullback/wing back stat categories and judges Pickering based on where he ranks from League 2 full backs and wing backs on his percentile rank. Don’t worry too much about the maths behind this, just visually see the balance of the player. Pickering is without doubt one of the top creative fullback threats in the league. He ranks in the top 10 % in the league for crosses, crosses to 6 yard box, expected assists and forward passes. He is progressive with purpose and loves to get involved in the attack either via an overlap or a large part of Crewe’s play is actually knocking the ball back to Pickering for a 1st time cross. This allows him the angle to use his superior technique to whip the ball into dangerous areas, and he is very accurate with his delivery. The major weaknesses in game come in the form of the more defensive metrics. Defensive metrics are hard to quantify accurately and without doubt they need context and more observation. The main issue here though is Pickering’s defensive duel win rate %. This stat records a player’s ability to win 1 v 1 situations when being attacked. Pickering ranks poorly in this area and this is a huge part of his game he needs to improve on if he is to step up the EFL ladder.
The modern game demands energetic and offensive full backs who can deliver quality and threat from wide. Pickering without doubt has that ability and that in tandem with a very sweet left foot, his age and his experience means he could be a player that L1 or top end L2 clubs should be looking at.