One of the English youngsters making a mark in the Scottish Premiership is Leighton Clarkson, who plays for Aberdeen on loan from Premier League club Liverpool. The 21-year-old midfielder arrived in Scotland on a season-long loan deal last summer and has emerged as an influential figure in the Aberdeen midfield. He scored on his Scottish Premiership debut in a 4-1 victory against St. Mirren and has given some strong performances in the middle of the park. Clarkson’s addition has added more strength and dynamism to Aberdeen’s midfield, and his contributions have helped the team remain in contention for a European berth. Below are some stats that capture the midfielder’s performances from the current season.
Leighton Clarkson has cemented a regular place in Aberdeen’s starting eleven. He has played as a left-sided centre midfielder for the team and has made 24 appearances this season. The 21-year-old has found the back of the net four times and also has four assists to his name. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player in comparison to other central midfielders in the Scottish Premiership. It can be observed that Clarkson has contributed well to the attack, and his ability to retain and pass the ball has been impressive. The defensive stats show that Clarkson has a decent sense of positioning and makes his presence felt by contesting defensive duels.
Positioning and defensive attributes
The above viz illustrates Leighton Clarkson’s heat map from the Scottish Premiership of 2022–23. It can be observed that the young midfielder shows high intensity in the middle and final thirds of the pitch. He is more involved in the opposition’s half, particularly on the left side, but also drops into his own half to contribute to the play.
Clarkson makes a significant contribution in defence for the team. The viz above shows the player’s average defensive territory from this season, and we can see he positions himself near the half-line inside his half. The numerous defensive actions committed all around the pitch show the midfielder covers a lot of ground.
Clarkson averages nearly 13 duels per 90 with a 43.4% win rate. He makes 3.35 interceptions and 6.71 recoveries per match, putting high pressure on the opposition’s midfield region while also dropping into his own penalty box. Furthermore, the player contests 6.03 defensive duels and 1.17 aerial duels per match.
Aside from his contributions out of possession, he has shown commitment to helping the team advance with his ability to pick out progressive passes. Clarkson currently averages 36.18 passes per 90 minutes and has a 72.6% accuracy rate. He likes to play the ball off the ground often and can unlock defences with through passes. On average, he makes 6.81 passes to the final third with 55% accuracy and 3.7 passes to the opposition’s penalty box with 43.4% accuracy.
The young midfielder has shown the ability to put himself in scoring positions. Clarkson has found the back of the net four times in the Scottish Premiership. He takes 1.12 shots per 90 minutes with an accuracy rate of 26.1%. The xG map above shows most of the shots have been taken from outside the penalty box, reaching the back of the net three times, highlighting his ability to shoot from distance. Meanwhile, he has also scored one goal from inside the six-yard box.
The Englishman’s proficient ability on the ball is highlighted by his four assists in an Aberdeen shirt. The above viz shows the shot assists delivered by the midfielder this season. Most of the key passes are directed towards the penalty box. The others have been a few cutbacks from the advanced attacking areas as well as crosses from corners. Clarkson provides 1.31 shot assists per match and has also created four big chances thus far.
A move to Aberdeen has seen Leighton Clarkson develop into a vital player for the team with regular first-team experience. He has the qualities of a box-to-box midfielder, with notable defensive attributes as well as the ability to contribute to the attacking play and get attacking returns. With only ten rounds to go, Aberdeen will be hoping Clarkson’s presence in the midfield can guide them to a fourth-place finish and help them qualify for Europe.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine