written by – Rangers Report photo courtesy of – Sydney Mahlangu
A couple of days ago I published my findings after applying age adjusted goal stats to forwards in the Scottish Development League. The post had a detailed breakdown of the Vollman Age Adjusted Goal Projection & also had a whole slew of witty gifs. You probably won’t find all that this time.
One, because you can read all about that here & to be honest, I want to share the findings on midfielders & wingers in a brief, succinct way.
That’s largely because goal scoring isn’t exactly the first stat that I would look for when evaluating midfield prospects. For forwards….it made sense. Identifying which young attacking players are finding the back of the net at a rate that suggests that they are prime candidates to be productive first team goal scorers.
For midfielders, I’d be more interested in data that shows Expected Assists, Secondary Shot Assists, passes into the final third, through balls, tackle completion ratio, etc.
But, given that the only data available for this level of football is goals – let’s see what results we get. If anything, this should be an entry point to identifying players that are showing elite production playing against their peers in the U20 age group.
Below you’ll find the top 25 midfielders & wingers from the Scottish Development League based on their Vollman Age Adjusted Goal Projection. You’ll also see their non-penalty goals & minutes played (as explained in the previous post – this is only from the data I could find, which was inconsistent from team to team), along with their goals per 90, where they ranked in that stat, their prorated goals that have been adjusted to age-based regression, their age at the beginning of the 2016/17 season (in years & months), their Vollman Age Adjusted Goal Projection & then their rank for that stat.
For the complete list of 76 midfielder & wingers (!!) —– Go here.
- The Hearts duo of 16 year olds, Euan Henderson & Andy Irving, really stick out here. They combined for over 2000 minutes & eleven goals, playing in a league where the majority of players have a year or two of development on them. Even though Henderson’s same size is relatively low, six goals in 540 minutes is pretty damn scintillating for a kid born in the year 2000. Irving, who had the 29th highest goals per 90 for midfielders, had the 15th highest Vollman Age Adjusted Goal Projection.
- Mikey Johnston was linked to Chelsea before signing a contract extension with Celtic & you can see why. Given that he’ll be 18 next year, a smart Scottish Championship team would be wise to bring him in on loan.
- Serge Atayaki & Liam Burt will both be 18 next season & need first team minutes. The question remains will Pedro Caixinha give it to them? While Caixinha was giving youngsters minutes towards the end of the season, that seemed to be more of an opportunity to evaluate talent since Rangers were basically locked into third place. Will Rangers look to tap into potential (Atayaki & Burt) or rely on bringing in more proven (& more expensive) players? Given the volatile job security that comes with being a Rangers manager in recent years, it would a surprise to see players like Atayaki & Burt get significant chances with the club next season.
- With the lack of St Mirren players in the top 25 of this list (& in the list of forwards), Conor O’Keefe should be given every opportunity at first team football next season. Especially with the departure of Stephen Mallan to Barnsley.
- Another player that lower league clubs may want to target for a loan deal would be Callum Wilson of Partick Thistle. Of the players in the top 25, he played the most minutes. His goal scoring may not be off the charts, but given how much he played last year in the development league, the next natural step in his development has to be first team football.
Again, these stats are only meant to be an entry point. Teams looking to invest in a young midfielder could use this as one way to try to identify prospects who could turn into offensive threats from the midfield. If more data was available, this kind of age adjusted goal production would be a nice comparable when looking at passing stats & defensive stats.
As I mentioned in the first post, there are dozens of blog posts that could be written based on this data collected & I invite you to do so.
All I ask is, if you do use these stats in any way….please give credit where credit is due.