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Harrison Reed for England?

Written by Jack Stroudley on 19th February 2021

Photo: Pedro Soares (Licenced via Imago Images)

Jack Stroudley asks the question on all our minds: is our midfield maestro ready to don the Three Lions?

Harrison Reed’s performance against Everton was nothing short of spectacular. The general in the midfield seemed to be everywhere, sweeping up passages of play and distributing effectively all night. The 26-year-old’s performance was remarkable and deservedly received plaudits from neutrals and pundits around the country.

It’s the sort of performance we’ve become accustomed to over the course of this season and the back end of the last. So it begs the question: are Harrison Reed’s capabilities enough to warrant a place in the England squad?

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The Southgate system

Gareth Southgate usually operates in a 3-4-3 system with two central midfielders who are expected to bring play forward and help contribute in the attacking phase but also have the defensive capabilities to break play up and cover when necessary.

This means that Gareth is able to be flexible with his midfield options and has a variety of different players available at his disposal. Here’s a list of players Gareth is able to use/has been using:

  • Jordan Henderson
  • Declan Rice
  • Mason Mount
  • Harry Winks
  • James Ward Prowse
  • Eric Dier (has been playing centre-back for Spurs this season)
  • Kalvin Phillips

Now it’s obvious the difficulties comparing Harrison Reed to a player like Mason Mount due to the differing roles they offer for their respective clubs. So it’s worth just comparing his season to players who operate in a similar role as him.

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Statistical comparisons

I’ve decided to compare Harrison Reed to the following players (using Squawka per 90 mins):

  • Jordan Henderson (has had a varied season in differing positions)
  • Declan Rice
  • Kalvin Phillips

And, to be frank, he compares favourably with all three, even beating them in a number of areas.

Firstly, all four midfielders have a very similar passing accuracy ranging from 85.3% to 87.4%. Harrison’s is at a respectable 86.8%. If we look at how he affects games in the attacking phase, he has the second highest forward passes, with 17.6 per game only beaten by Liverpool captain Henderson.

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Reed’s take-on success is also the second highest, with 73.33%, bettering Henderson (57.14%) and Phillips (58.82%). He’s second for fouls won per game with 1.1 as well as being second for possession lost per game, he loses the ball on average 10.3 times per game, in comparison to Phillips at 13.2 times and Henderson at 14.7 times.

Now if we look at Reed in a defensive capacity, the stats also reflect the fantastic season he is having. Firstly, he’s only beaten for duels contested per game by Phillips, who betters his 9.5 with 11.2.

If we delve further into Reed’s defensive stats, he averages 2.3 tackles per game bettering Jordan Henderson (1.3) and Declan Rice (1.9). Finally if we look at interceptions and blocks he is the best performing out of the four players with 2.1 interceptions per game and 0.6 blocks per game.

Is he ready?

Harrison Reed’s stats in comparison to his English counterparts demonstrate his clear ability at a high level, but is he ready for an England call-up? The honest answer is yes. But it’d be fanciful to say he should be a regular starter for Southgate and will be a key cog in the system come the summer and the Euros.

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But he’s an underrated player who’s had a magnificent season in a Fulham side that, going on current league position and points tally, has underperformed. Pundits and fans alike are starting to notice his impact in games, and I genuinely believe he’d be a valuable squad player for Gareth to have at his disposal.

There’s an argument to be made he is only a half a season into his tenure at a Premier League club consistently, but what about Kalvin Phillips? His English call-up certainly was debated by many, but called up he was.

Harrison Reed for England?  Why not?

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