Sheffield United: The statistics that suggest Jack O'Connell would be a better bet for England team ahead of Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings
The naming of every international football squad always creates great debate amongst tribal football supporters… and Gareth Southgate’s latest England announcement was no different.
And, with news that Tyrone Mings could play for England in Bulgaria tonight and that boss Southgate is considering switching back to a 3-5-2 formation that proved successful at last year’s World Cup, many Sheffield United fans have been clamouring for defender Jack O’Connell to receive his first call-up to the senior side.
An England youth international, O’Connell has made the position his own on the left of United’s back three, which has the second-best defensive record in the Premier League and sit only behind Liverpool going into the latest international break.
The defender – a bargain £500,000 signing from Brentford in 2016 – also offers increased offensive output as part of Chris Wilder’s innovative system which utilises overlapping centre-halves. Although Southgate is unlikely to give any of his defenders such freedom, it is undoubtedly another string to O’Connell’s already-impressive bow.
But how does the 25-year-old stack up, against Mings – who seems to be his closest rival?
Both players have been ever-present for their sides this season after helping them win promotion last year, although Mings’ price tag is a lot heftier than O’Connell’s. His fee from Bournemouth could rise as high as £25m.
O’Connell’s tackles and interceptions per game (0.5 and 1.6) are both higher than Mings’ (0.3 and 1.3) and he has conceded less fouls per game so far (0.3 vs 0.8 for Mings).
No other English centre-half has kept more clean sheets than O’Connell and he leads his countrymen in terms of aerial duels won, too, with 42.
The most remarkable statistic of all for O’Connell, though, is probably his 100 per cent success rate in tackles since becoming a Premier League player.
Courtesy of data analyst Blades Analytic on Twitter, here’s a few more comparative stats between O’Connell (JOC) and Mings (TM)…
Aerial duel win %
Goal threat at set pieces
JOC 6 efforts
Mings 1 effort