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Summer 2024: Left Wing

Selles never particularly settled on who he wanted to play at left wing. Knibbs started the season as a narrow left attacking midfielder, when he moved into central midfield then Dom Ballard took his place for a couple of games before his season ending injury. Mukairu took over the role for a while, though would often be replaced by Elliott. Vickers had a few games there too. Later in the season Ehibhatiomhan was the option off the bench, before starting some games himself before, finally, Mamadi CamarĂ¡ took the last half hour of the season.

I think there's two profiles amongst all of those names. First - Ballard, Mukairu, Ehibhatiomhan, and to an extent Knibbs - effectively strikers who look to cut inside and score themselves. Second - Vickers and Elliott - tricksy passers. I think the fact the latter were never first choice shows that it's probably the former that he prefers, but it's a position that Selles is happy to develop players in.

I'm not sure the pool of potential left wing options is that strong this summer, but there's a couple of names I would be looking at to add versatility to the options already at our disposal. Even if we do bring in a new option I wouldn't be surprised to see Selles continue to use some of the younger members of the squad in that position to continue giving them game time. 

I think this is the sort of position that you often see loans from PL2 cover, but I have a finite amount of time, and no PL2 streams. Maybe Dom Ballard will be back - he was attempting to be fit for the start of the season.

Ruel Sotiriou

Leyton Orient | 24/08/00 | Contract Expiry

Sotiriou can play basically anywhere across the front line and has often been used, as his shirt number suggests, as a 10 (or on the right). His main time at left wing was late on in games so Orient could maximise their subs but he did play 850 minutes there over the course of the season.

He holds width in the initial stages of build up, but tends to narrow and allow others to go outside him when getting into the final third. When the ball is out on the right hand side, which is obviously how Reading build a lot of the time, he likes to come into the centre of the pitch in order to be more of a threat.

His darts in behind defenders are especially potent and often catches defenders unaware. Potentially there may be a bedding in period with Smith who likes to do similar but with Sotiriou coming from the left that should lessen the issue.

You could argue that adding yet another Not Quite A Left Winger does nothing to help us, but just adding Sotiriou to the squad would be beneficial. Opta have him in the 92nd percentile for attacking contribution - which they define as open play chances created + non-penalty shots taken. He's almost exactly equal with Big Kelv.

Jack Nolan

Accrington Stanley | 25/05/01 | Contract Expiry

Nolan's raw numbers are incredibly impressive. In 45 games he's racked up 25 goal involvements, and even if we filter out seven penalties it's still great numbers for a 22-year-old (he's since turned 23 after the end of the season). Best of all, another potentially returning academy graduate.

I must admit, I'm not sure I'm quite as high on Nolan as others. I think he lacks some mobility, and I'm not sure his ball striking is always the cleanest - though his set piece delivery is excellent. When he does hit it cleanly, he hits it well. Even if his mobility isn't the best it doesn't seem to affect him much, his 71 'chance creating carries' are third highest in the league (Opta). 

They've only ended in 5 goals though (Jodi Jones has created 15 from 65!) which may highlight his decision making could do with improvement - check out his shot map to get the idea. Combine that with his below average touches in the opposition box and you see he tends to do his work from distance.

He does have a decent cross though, and a left footed option at left wing would be nice. Plus he'd be a good fit for backing up Azeez at right wing.


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