For a number of reasons, Ben Brereton’s performances for Blackburn Rovers this season were always going to attract plenty of attention.
Following his exploits for Chile in the Copa America over the course of the summer, the 22-year-old has found himself somewhat thrust into the spotlight heading into the new campaign.
Furthermore, Rovers’ failure to source a replacement for their 29-goal top scorer from last season, Adam Armstrong, during the summer transfer window, has heaped more pressure on Brereton to deliver for the club this season.
But just how has Brereton coped with that expectation that has placed upon heading into the 2021/22 campaign, in the wake of those events over the summer?
Here, we’ve taken a look at some of the stats behind Brereton’s season so far, according to WhoScored, in order to find out.
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The immediate promising sign for Rovers, given their hopes that Brereton can help fill the goalscoring void left by Armstrong, is that he does seem to be doing that so far.
With four goals in his eight league outings so far, the Chile international looks to be well on his way to bettering his tally of seven in 40 games from the 2020/21 campaign, which is his most successful Rovers campaign to date.
The fact that Brereton is finding the net more regularly may not be a huge surprise, given he is averaging three shots a game this season. That is a significant increase from an average of 1.8 last campaign, thus giving him a greater chance to add to his goals tally.
Indeed, it does seem appear as though Brereton has the confidence to take on defences himself more regularly this season, with his average dribbles per game increasing from 1.4 to 1.8 in the early stages of the campaign.
That appears to back up the suggestion that the attacker’s confidence has received a boost from his Chile experience, and it does seem to drawing him more attention from the opposition on the pitch as well.
This season, Brereton has been fouled 1.9 times per game, as opposed to 1.5 time last season, which does seem understandable given his increased involvement and importance in Rovers’ attack.
However, that does seem to have impacted on Brereton’s link-up with some of his teammates at Ewood Park this season.
Since the start of the campaign, Brereton has a pass success rate of 67.7%, a rather significant drop from the 76.5% he recorded last season.
That does also seem to have impacted his creativity, with the attacker averaging just 0.6 key passes per game this season, in comparison with an average of 1.1 per game during the previous campaign.
Even so, given Brereton’s main priority this season is surely to be Blackburn’s main man in front of goal, the fact that his stats have improved in that respect, means there is likely to be less concern about his performance in other areas of the pitch, provided his attacking threat helps the club to continue their strong start to the campaign.