Remarkable stat highlights difference Wolves-owned Sheffield Wednesday youngster can make to first team
It takes all sorts to crack League One.
That’s been the suggestion of Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore throughout their mission to rebuild the Owls in recent months, with the 47-year-old having spoken time and again about the need for ‘balance’ in the squad.
One area they have plenty of options to choose from is out wide. The departures of the likes of Kadeem Harris, Adam Reach and Andre Green have been resolved with the additions of Marvin Johnson, Jaden Brown, Olamide Shodipo and Sylla Sow.
Callum Paterson has played out wide already this season and Josh Windass is still to enter the battle for minutes as he recovers from injury. Saido Berahino is another player who may find himself playing on the outside of a front three should Moore continue with their current system long-term.
One player who may well find himself increasingly involved in the coming weeks and months is Wednesday’s on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers youngster Theo Corbeanu.
Illness and a late arrival at the club has seen his initial involvement come mainly from the bench, but his attacking instincts and ability to run at players has had Wednesday supporters excited.
In his 163 minutes of football so far for Wednesday Corbeanu has picked up the ball and ran at defenders at an incredible rate of 19.88 dribbles per 90 minutes, a figure that drops to 15.65 per 90 even without the stat-bending outing of 24 dribbles against Newcastle United under-23s.
Of those runs, some 75% have been successful.
Compare this with the stats of his two out-and-out winger predecessors and you can see the difference in his skill set and in the instructions, perhaps, he has been given by Moore.
Last season Green attempted only 4.52 dribbles per game at a success rate of 40%. Harris ran with the ball more at a higher success rate with 7.87 per 90 at 59.7%, numbers still way down on Corbeanu’s efforts so early on this season.
A Canadian international, the 19-year-old has featured from the bench in matches Wednesday were chasing and may well be asked to play more conservatively were he to feature earlier in matches.
It’s early days and a small data sample size of only 163 minute played could throw up an anomaly, but what is clear is that Corbeanu offers something Wednesday fans haven’t seen from their wingers in several seasons.
He’s a player clearly rated by those to have coached him, too, with Moore describing him as a player supporters should be excited by even before he had kicked a ball in South Yorkshire.
His former boss at Wolves, now-Spurs manager Nuno, had him working alongside Spain international Adama Traore and last year said: “He’s a young player in the under-23’s who is working with us almost every day.
“He has talent but I think he, more than anyone else, has the realisation that this is very hard. It’s very hard.
“You can see the way he approaches his duels, he has to become stronger. We realise the talent is there, but it requires many, many other aspects of his game to become a better player.
“He’s talented and is good one-v-one offensively. He’s fast. But he needs to improve.”
Corbeanu will hope League One proves to be the stage to make those improvements.