Towering Stoke City centre-half Harry Souttar is a wanted man with both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur sending scouts to watch the Australia international, according to the Stoke Sentinel.
The 22-year-old has developed into one of the Championship’s top defenders in the last year after making his mark in the Potters’ first-team during the 2020-21 season.
Souttar had previously spent the season on loan at League One side Fleetwood Town and that experience in the EFL saw him become a part of Michael O’Neill’s plans, and this season he has even captained the side on a number of occasions.
Let’s have a look at the qualities that Souttar brings to the table that would see him be an asset in the Premier League as several clubs monitor his progress.
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An aerial presence
The most noticeable thing about Souttar is obviously his height – he is the tallest player in the Championship standing at 6 feet 7 inches and it’s incredibly difficult for any striker to get the better of him.
Whilst Souttar isn’t the strongest centre-back, his quite slender frame means that he is quite agile for his size and he can keep up with the quicker forwards in the division.
His aerial presence though is the thing that is most striking but for his height you’d expect him to score a few more goals from attacking set pieces.
He’s scored just one league goal for Stoke but has already found the back of the net six times for his country – the most important thing though is that he defends long balls and crosses in defence well and he’s been doing that a lot this season, losing just 10 aerial duels out of 65 (per Wyscout).
Playing out from the back
Souttar doesn’t just head the ball away – he’s comfortable with bringing the ball out from the back with his feet which makes him a good fit for a Premier League team.
More and more often now you see top flight clubs have their defenders dribble out into the midfield to create chances and Souttar does this for Stoke – you’ll often see him marauding up the pitch or playing a defence-splitting pass.
The stats show on Wyscout that of Souttar’s 235 attempted forward passes this season so far he’s completed 179 of them which is a very respectable tally for a centre-back, with his ‘accurate passes into the final third’ column reading 34 out of 64.
Even though he’s just 22 years old and this is only his second season of Championship football, Souttar has taken over the captaincy role for a number of matches so far whilst Joe Allen has been on the sidelines with an injury.
There’s other more experienced members of the squad that could have taken it but there’s clearly something seen in the defender that makes him a leader at such a young age.
That could put him in good stead for a Premier League move and he won’t shirk any responsibilities considering he’s entrusted to lead a team out in the Championship.