EFL One’s To Watch – Courtney Senior

Name: Courtney Senior

Club: Colchester United

Age: 21

Position: RW/LW

Mins played: 1271

Player Background

A name that did not stand out to me before this season but one I’m watching very closely now. Senior is a winger with some outstanding attributes and potential to grow. Senior came through the Brentford academy system before the club decided to disband their academy. A short loan spell at Wycombe in the 15/16 season only heralded 1 appearance and Senior found himself signing for his current club Colchester United in the summer of the 16/17 season. Fate worked against the young winger in that season, before even making an appearance Senior was ruled out of the season with a knee injury and had to wait until the beginning of the 17/18 season before making his debut for the club. That debut was rather memorable due to the injury time goal Senior managed to grab and that impact was a sign of things to come. The Us took their time to develop Senior and he didn’t break into the first team on a consistent basis until the 2nd half of the 17/18 season, he finished that season with 19 appearances and 4 goals, but more than that the signs of potential that Colchester had a real player on their hands if they worked at maximising his strengths.

Playing Style

Senior is a typical flying winger. He possess pace, a low centre of gravity which allows him to turn sharply and drive with the ball into spaces or at defenders. His acceleration but more importantly his balance are the key to his style, Senior has the ability to go on either foot and his quick feet with his ability to manoeuvre the ball in either direction makes him a nightmare to defend against. As a young winger there is normally an expectation that the skills might be there but the game understanding isn’t. In Senior’s case there is an element of a young man who is improving his game weekly, he has learnt when to make runs centrally in behind defences, making him a real goal scoring threat and his composure and touch when in those positions are good enough to realise he can certainly score goals at League 2 level at an above average rate for a winger.

Statistics and Effectiveness

I must stress I DO NOT JUST USE DATA in this scouting series. I also watch a lot of video of the players I’m highlighting to understand their strengths, weaknesses and positional traits. However, there is no doubt that I base a lot of these series on what the individual performance data tells me. To get a real comparison of Senior’s performance levels I took a look at all wingers from EFL L1 & L2 aged 24 or under. Why the age range? I’m currently in the middle of writing a piece on age adjusted stats, without giving up the ghost let us simply determine that comparing young players to established senior Pro’s is not the correct method in terms of judging their performance data accurately. Plus I am interested in the younger potential stars of the EFL so U24 made perfect sense. With the data analysed the first thing I like to is make a playing style radar to show what stats of a normal winger Senior is shining in and what areas could he improve.

CS(1)

 

Senior’s radar coverage is fantastic. One of the key areas to highlight are the scoring contribution sector (this is assists, 2nd assists and 3rd assists p90). Senior is a highly creative player able to provide the final pass/cross or be involved further in the build up to a chance or goal. He is also extremely competitive and aggressive in his defensive work, making a high contribution of defensive actions. The 21 year old does not shoot much nor does he have many touches inside the box but when he does get in the box he is both clinical and from good goal scoring positions.

The scatter chart below shows U24 wingers from L1 & L2 with their p90 expected assists and expected goals numbers. Senior is pretty much right in the middle in terms of his bias, he creates at an above average rate and he has goal scoring chances at an above average rate too.

Capture

The most interesting aspect of the data is that in terms of expected assists and expected goals one of the magic things to look at those players who are performing at a rate of 0.2 or above Xa and xG p90. Only 6 players in L1 & L2 within the age and minutes played parameters I looked at had a combined xG and xA p90 of above 0.2, Senior is one of them. Others for context of ability are Marcus Browne on loan at Oxford, Mame Thaim at Barnsley, Luke Thomas (Coventry), Jamal Lowe (Portsmouth) and Jake Hesketh (Burton Albion). That is some esteemed EFL company that Senior currently finds himself in.

One way I like to look at a player’s output is by comparing them against their peers across a number of metrics to find where they rank in each statistics percentile rank. Below is Courtney Senior’s comparison chart (all stats based on per 90 metrics):

CS(2)

Nice and easy to summarise here. The winger surpasses his peers above average on his current non penalty goals, expected goals, shot to goal conversion. What does any of that mean? It means here we have a player who gets into good goal scoring positions and when he’s in position and gets a chance he’s clinical. His goal conversion % is one of the highest from the list of players I reviewed well above the 80% percentile rank. The above chart also re-emphasises his creative abilities, his expected assists and scoring contribution numbers are fantastic. This means quite simply he is very involved in setting up chances, or involved in the build up to chances. This does highlight that Senior doesn’t shoot much or cross much, but when he does he is very accurate. Finally Senior is shown as one of the better dribblers from the list of players analysed. In all an outstanding young winger, who can create, break lines, beat defenders and chip in with goals.

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