written by – Rangers Report
Mark Warburton has done it again. He has brought in a young player, entering the prime years of his career, who already has a good deal of first team experience under his belt & as you will see later – at another bargain price.
Jason Holt began his career with Hearts back in 2010-11 & has since played over 5,000 minutes of first team football in his five seasons. Not bad for a 22-year old, especially when you consider that 93% of those minutes have come in the past three seasons.
The midfielder struggled to find a regular place in Robbie Nielson’s Hearts side, but that provided an opportunity to go on loan with Sheffield United in January, which turned out to be a real turning point in the Holt’s young career.
After being used predominately as a substitute in his first two months in England’s League One, Holt’s production really took off once he earned a starting spot in Nigel Clough’s lineup.
|Goals per 90||Assists per 90|
* – includes time with Hearts
Holt’s goals per 90 minutes include his output in 15 matches with Hearts (ten of those appearances was as a sub). His output with just Sheffield was 0.37 goals per 90 & was largely spurred by a stretch of five goals in eight matches.
To put Holt’s production in context, Rangers leading scorer last year was Nicky Law – but he only managed to score 0.28 goals per 90 minutes. Rangers top two forwards were Nicky Clark & Kenny Miller who both scored 0.36 goals per 90. Law’s production was respectable given his role, Clark & Miller’s was quite frankly not up-to-par. The leading goalscorer in the Championship last season, Jason Cummings, scored 0.73 goals per 90 minutes. While Hearts’ loan star, Gernaro Zeefuik, scored a sensational 1.02 goals per 90.
For a midfielder, like Holt, to be scoring a goal every third game, is the kind of production a winning side needs. Plus, Holt was used as a forward occasionally by Clough so he could easily slot into the role that Nicky Clark is often asked to play.
The lack of assists is a bit strange & will be something to look out for as the season gets off the ground.
Holt’s shooting statistics are actually very similar to another one of Warburton’s signings – Andy Halliday.
|Shots per 90||Sh Acc||Sh %|
Both players managed a little more then a shot on goal per game on average & nearly half of their shots were on target. Holt’s form with Sheffield is exemplified again when you factor in that 63% of his shots on target beat the goalie for a goal. It’s a small sample size (17 matches) & that number will surely regress but it further highlights the fact that Holt can be a very dangerous scoring threat.
It makes you wonder why Sheffield United passed on offering Holt a contract. Holt earned the opportunity to stay at Sheffield but ultimately other factors influence Nigel Clough’s decision.
At the culmination of last season Clough said, via Sky Sports – “We would have loved to have kept Jason, but we thought he was just too similar to Stefan Scougall who we have under contract.”
“We brought Jason in because Stefan had a few knocks and niggles and for him to score the amount of goals he did from midfield was excellent.”
James Shields of The Star elaborated, “Sheffield United negotiated first option on Holt after recruiting him on loan from Hearts earlier this year. But, after reassessing their plans for next season, Clough and his coaching staff have elected not to pursue those talks.”
Shields contends that, “A desire not to inhibit the progress of home-grown talent is understood to have been the catalyst behind that decision combined with a determination to increase the physical power at Clough’s disposal.”
Additionally, Clough expected competition for Holt’s services from other English Championship clubs.
Once again, Mark Warburton has secured the rights of a bright prospect for minimal cost. Reports have Rangers paying a £65,000 development fee for Holt’s rights.
Back in January, a reported £500,000 transfer was turned down from Nottingham Forest – that was before his successful run with Sheffield United.
Another bit of impressive business from the new Rangers manager.
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