Ipswich Town defender Luke Woolfenden has been one of the standout players for the Tractor Boys so far this season and has been linked with a move to Sheffield United recently.
The Daily Mail reported over the weekend that the Blades are keen on signing the 21-year-old, who has been used at both right-back and centre-back for Ipswich this season.
Woolfenden is regarded as one of the brightest young talents at Ipswich and many feel that he has what it takes to play at a higher level in the future.
In the latest FLW Spotlight, we discuss whether Woolfenden is good enough for the Premier League, by taking a closer look at some of his stats from the season so far….
Woolfenden has been a key player for Ipswich so far this season and if we take a look at some of these stats in more detail, it’s easy to understand why he’s starting to attract interest from top clubs.
He’s has made 1013 passes for Ipswich this season and has a pass accuracy of 79.9%. This is pretty good for a defender and suggests that he’s pretty comfortable playing out from the back, which is an important ability for any modern-day defender to have.
He’s been involved in 185 defensive duels this season and has won 69.2% of them. This is rather impressive, especially when compared with the current Sheffield United defenders Chris Basham (66%), John Egan (66.8%) and Jack O’Connell (56.7%).
Now, it’s important to remember that the Sheffield United trio are playing in the Premier League every week, so in theory, they are coming up against tougher opponents, but Woolfenden’s stats are still very impressive.
Woolfenden has won 60.8% of the 176 aerial duels that he’s been involved in this season. His height and physical stature means that he’s very good at defending set-pieces and dealing with balls into the box.
When compared with Basham (60.7%), Egan (61.6%) and O’Connell (69.6%) it highlights how much potential Woolfenden has as a defender.
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Woolfenden has also made 135 interceptions, which is impressive and shows that he’s very good at reading the game – another important attribute for a Premier League defender.
He’s made 92 clearances, which is more than any other Sheffield United defender so far this season, although it’s worth pointing out that Woolfenden has had slightly more time on the pitch.
It’s also worth remembering that he’s obviously playing at a lower level too, but it’s still impressive nonetheless and once again highlights his potential.
Woolfenden has given 23 fouls away and has received six yellow cards. All things considered, this is not too bad for a central defender and is to be expected for a player who often gets stuck into challenges.
Overall, these stats show that Woolfenden is a very promising player and he could be a decent signing for Sheffield United. He’s got a lot of potential, but it’s quite a jump for League One to the Premier League, so he’ll need to do very well to adapt.
With this in mind, he probably wouldn’t start for Sheffield United straight away, given his lack of experience in the top flight.
An experienced manager like Chris Wilder should be able to help him adapt to the challenges that come with playing in the Premier League, but perhaps he’d be better off remaining at Ipswich and trying to gain a bit more experience first.
His stats certainly suggest that he’s one to watch for the future, so it’s also possible that Sheffield United could sign him and then send him back out on loan to Ipswich or possibly a Championship club.
Woolfenden recently signed a new contract at Portman Road, so Ipswich are under no pressure to sell him, but at the end of the day, money talks, so it’ll be very interesting to see what happens regarding his future.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.