Modern football law dictates that we are not allowed to simply enjoy good players.
The trickle-down effect of the tedious Messi/Ronaldo debate means we must endeavour to rank every individual in the sport so that whenever someone plays well, a bloke on the internet can retort: not bad but [player x] is better!
We are therefore obligated to arbitrarily rank the following four players: Jack Grealish (£4.8m), James Maddison (£4.2m), Phil Foden (£4.2m) and Mason Mount (£2.7m).
While there are variations in their roles for their respective clubs, they can broadly be banded together as relatively young English attacking midfielders who are playing well this season.
Despite the snidely sarcastic nature of the intro, there is some value in measuring the members of this quartet against each other.
Firstly, comparing players can be fun and informative if you strip away all the tribal nonsense.
Secondly, Gareth Southgate probably won’t be able accommodate all of them in his Euro 2020 (2021) squad and so analysis may give us an indication as to how the Three Lions will approach the upcoming major tournament.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Dream Team gaffers want to know who will hoard the most points going forward.
So let’s delve into the numbers for this season.
GOALS IN ALL COMPETITIONS
- Foden: 10
- Maddison: 9
- Grealish: 7
- Mount: 4
SHOTS (PREMIER LEAGUE ONLY)
- Maddison: 47
- Grealish: 46
- Mount: 43
- Foden: 28
Man City’s golden boy is leading the way in perhaps the most important metric of all despite not attempting to score anywhere near as often as the others (in the league at least).
Granted, he’s played in a more advanced position than his rivals, even deputising as a false 9 at times, but his keener eye for goal is notable this season.
Maddison has already equalled his best-ever season in terms of goals in a Leicester shirt and is on course for a career-high campaign.
ASSISTS IN ALL COMPETITIONS
- Grealish: 10
- Maddison: 7
- Mount: 5
- Foden: 5
BIG CHANCES CREATED (PREMIER LEAGUE)
- Grealish: 14
- Mount: 6
- Foden: 4
- Maddison: 3
Aston Villa’s talisman is in a league of his own creatively speaking and so if Southgate is looking for someone to feed the likes of Harry Kane (£7.2m), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£4.3m) and Raheem Sterling (£6.8m), there’s surely no looking past Grealish.
The underlying stats suggest Mount is unlikely to be lagging behind Maddison in assists — Timo Werner’s (£3.6m) dry spell may have played some part in that.
AVERAGE WHOSCORED RATING (OUT OF TEN)
- Grealish: 7.80
- Foden: 7.27
- Mount: 7.20
- Maddison: 7.19
DREAM TEAM STAR MAN AWARDS
- Grealish: 4
- Foden: 4
- Mount: 4
- Maddison: 2
Maddison’s goal contributions are highly impressive but he’s ever so slightly lagging behind in more intangible measures — that won’t bother Leicester fans much at all.
DREAM TEAM POINTS
- Foden: 137 points
- Grealish: 125 points
- Maddison: 113 points
- Mount: 96 points
DREAM TEAM OWNERSHIP
- Grealish: 35.3%
- Foden: 29.9%
- Maddison: 20.4%
- Mount: 8.6%
All four currently feature in the top ten midfielders but it’s important to note that Mount is considerably cheaper than the other three, meaning he actually comes out on top in terms of value for money (points divided by price).
As the man with the lowest option of the four, Chelsea’s No19 may be the most inviting for those in desperate need of a differential.
The fact City have been fighting for trophies on four fronts is probably the reason Foden has acquired more points than Grealish.
And his side’s progression in the domestic cups and Europe should assist the 20-year-old further in the second half of the campaign.
So what’s the conclusion?
It would appear that Dream Team bosses would be wise to back Foden but it’s likely that most could accommodate two or three of the quartet, in which case, you can’t really go wrong with any combination.
In terms of England, Grealish and Foden would appear to be the standout options but Southgate has been such a vocal supporter of Mount that he may shuffle the pack to include all three, with Maddison terribly unlucky to miss out.
Go forth and argue as you see fit.
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