Statistical profile of Rangers transfer target – Wigan Athletic’s Martyn Waghorn

Martyn Waghorn, courtesy of Ian Hodgson

written by – Rangers Report

The reporting regarding the signing of  the Wigan Athletic duo of Martyn Waghorn & James Tavernier has been mixed with some sources saying that deals were imminent, while others have claimed that there is nothing new on the horizon.

Either way, I felt it was opportune time to provide a statistical profile of Martyn Wahhorn to get a sense of what Rangers supporters can expect if he does end up signing.  If Tarvernier signs, a similar profile may not be coming given the fact that advanced stats are much more telling for attacking players.

According to Who Scoreda football statistics site, the data suggests that Waghorn’s strengths are, “Taking set-pieces, aerial duels, crossing, & his defensive contribution.”  Set-pieces have been a real weakness for Rangers in the past couple of years, so much so that Steven Smith was inserted into lineups in big matches probably just for his skills at taking a pristine free kick from time-to-time.  The statistical analysis also suggests that Waghorn is a physical presence who “likes to tackle & commits fouls often.”

Who Scored suggests that Waghorn’s weakness are his “finishing & passing.”  So we’re not dealing with an ideal forward here.

Last season, Waghorn played in 23 matches for Wigan – he started six & made 17 substitute appearances.  His average rating from Who Scored in those games was a 6.23, while Squaka, another statistics site, gave Waghorn a rating of 1.5 out of 5 for his performances last season.

Here is a statistical breakdown of his performance last year & how it compares to his career numbers.

Goals per 90 Assists per 90 Shots per 90 Sh Acc Sh % Pass Acc
2014-15 0.34 0.11 2.87 0.32 0.38 0.73
Career 0.33 0.18 2.19 0.41 0.37

Note:  Shooting accuracy refers to what percentage of his overall shots are on target.  Shooting percentage refers to how many of his shots on target end up beating the keeper for a goal.

As you can see there is little variance from how he performed last season to his career as a whole.  Waghorn has spent most of his time playing at a Championship level, 98% of his total career minutes, & has started 53% of his matches.  His usage varies from season to season whether he is used more as a substitute or as a starting forward.  Last season was the first time since 2012-13 that he was used predominately as a sub.

When it comes to pure goal production, Waghorn has been consistently below average throughout his career.  The following tracks his goals per 90 each season since he was 18.

image (1)

Waghorn has never been able to match his production as a 19-year old with Leicester City.  That season he scored twelve goals in 45 matches (28 as a starter, 17 as a substitute).  It was also the only season in which he was given an extended run (over 2000 minutes) with the same team, so that should be factored in when looking at Waghorn’s career trajectory.

In a final synopsis, if you compare Waghorn’s production to the Rangers forwards from last seasonalbeit in vastly different competitive levels, his output is pretty similar to that of Kenny Miller & Nicky Clark.  So don’t expect the heavens to part & a 2015 version of Mark Hateley to appear.

However, two key factors are working in Waghorn’s favor.  First, is his age – Waghorn is only 25 & is in the midst of his peak years as a professional.  Additionally, he would be taking a major step down competitively from the English Championship to the Scottish Championship.  Logic would dictate that his output would increase simply due to that factor alone.  So there is hope that he would be an upgrade over Miller & Clark.  However, I still contend that Rangers best options may still be Ryan Hardie & Calum Gallagher.

You can follow Rangers Report on Twitter @TheGersReport

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