Earlier this week West Ham manager David Moyes was at pains to point out that the recent exclusion of Gianluca Scamacca was a data based decision. According to Moyesie, our £35m man’s ‘physical data’ was not good enough to warrant selection.
The Hammers gaffer said, “We know that his physical data has got to be much better than it is. No manager wants to put out a bad team, you want to put out the players who you think are going to win for you, so you are always looking to put your best team out.
The general part of his play, his hold-up play, we like him for it, he’s really, really good at it”
The insinuation is clear. . . Scamacca is not running to the levels that Moyes demands, his touch and technique are fine but he’s not working hard enough.
Personally I think that Moyes is being a little selective with the metrics he chooses to assess a players effectiveness. Hammers midfielder Tomas Soucek made a paltry NINE successful passes in 90 mins against Aston Villa but ran around a lot.
I’m not suggesting that athleticism and fitness don’t have their merits on a football pitch. Of course any manager would want hard working players in their team who are dedicated to the cause. However it’s worth remembering that it is actually a football match and not a running race, at some point passes need to be completed and goals scored.
Moyes clearly places the metric of fitness above and beyond anything else but to what cost? Why is it more important than completed passes, shots on goal, or even team morale?
The manager is obviously happy to shoehorn players into the team based on work-rate alone. Pablo Fornals is a committed and industrious player but he’s no winger. He’s slow, can’t dribble, doesn’t appear to have a trick and can’t cross with his left foot. Yet those deficiencies are overlooked because he’s a ‘grafter’ who’ll put a shift it.
At what point did we start ditching midfielders who can’t pass and wingers who can’t dribble down the wing in favour of pragmatic effort?
Gianluca Scamacca might not be Dame Kelly Holmes, but he can rip the net from the goalposts with unerring accuracy and power.
Ultimately David Moyes will find the data he’s looking for. If he’s searching for a lack of effort in the running statistic then no doubt he’ll find it. But maybe he’s looking for the wrong things in all the wrong places.