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One of the Strongest Squads?
Written by NormEmerges on Sunday, 21st Mar 2021 11:46

I keep hearing that ITFC has one of the strongest squads in League One. It’s certainly true that we have one of the biggest squads, but strongest? I would assume ‘strongest’ to mean ‘includes higher quality players for this league’. What do the facts tell us?

I had a look at the player and team statistics on (covering league games only) and they are interesting reading.

The team as a whole ranks 12th out of 24 – about where you’d think we deserve to be on our performances to date. It’s easy to see where our problems lie. We have a pretty good conversion ratio – one goal every 10.1 shots, only two teams take fewer shots to score a goal. The problem is, only four clubs have had fewer shots and not surprisingly therefore only four clubs have scored fewer goals.

Now consider the player ratings. scores each player on a number of aspects of the game, such things as tackles, blocks, passing, heading and so on.

There are 355 players ranked who meet minimum appearances criteria, and this includes 17 Ipswich players. Only nine of these rank above halfway. Just one of these is a forward, indeed only one forward ranks in the top 200. Here is the full list:

10 Mark McGuinness
37 James Wilson
56 Gwion Edwards
79 Toto Nsiala
92 Luke Chambers
126 Andre Dozzell
173 Stephen Ward
174 Alan Judge
188 Tomas Holy
199 Myles Kenlock
223 James Norwood
230 Flynn Downes
297 Keanan Bennetts
316 Jack Lankaster
343 Freddie Sears
347 Kayden Jackson

Not much sign of strength there I think. You’d expect quality players to achieve higher up the list than these have done. Quality should mean better player performances even if they aren’t gelling as a team, which would be down to the manager and coaches. In fact based on these performance ratings, the team is probably overachieving.

So why aren’t they delivering the quality we’ve all been told repeatedly is there in the squad? Whisper it quietly, but perhaps they aren’t actually that good after all?

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bobbyramsey added 13:41 - Mar 21
Interesting, I do love a statistic. Therein lies a story.....

terryf added 14:06 - Mar 21
Spot on, we just arn't good enough. It's all very well having''flair'' players in your Team but where is the character, tenaciousness and aggressiveness when needed. We need energetic full-backs, centre halves who attack the ball, a creative midfield and a ''fox on the box'' up front.

Paul Cook will need some summer backing by the Owner because sadly I think the Team will come up short this Season.

RegencyBlue added 15:37 - Mar 21
The squad is nowhere as good as some people think. It’s the result of years of selling our better players and replacing them with poorer quality, cheaper/free ones. A lot of our youngsters are vastly overrated as well, by supporters desperate for something to be positive about.

The reason the squad is so large is that once we’ve signed them up and they don’t work out we cannot get rid of them until their contracts run out. Nobody wants to buy them!

Cannot see Evans funding anything like the reset required to turn this club around in the summer.

El_Fenix added 02:56 - Mar 22
Mark McGuinness ranked #10 in all of League 1??? No way!

KiwiBlue2 added 03:17 - Mar 22
A very interesting contribution Norm. If we are to emerge from the division this season we would in fact be achieving well above the statistical ratings.
While there is still the possibility of the play-offs it is difficult to see us being able to perform at the consistently high standard it would take to win a two-legged semi-final and then the final.


KiwiBlue2 added 03:18 - Mar 22
Phoenix - perhaps they have mistaken McGuinness for Norwood......

Marcus added 23:34 - Mar 22
An infinite number of monkeys on keyboards would eventually produce the Complete works of Shakespeare.

blue_mist added 18:22 - Mar 23
If they're all fit then I think we do have got a good enough squad to get out of this league, BUT we're missing a couple of key pieces to the jigsaw. A real vocal and experienced leader in the middle of the park to keep driving everyone on. And another striker to share the workload and responsibility.
That and some decent coaching and we'd sorted.


SouperJim added 17:46 - Mar 24
Bit of a flaw here, in that you state squad strength equates to player quality, but then measure using performance statistics.

I think everyone knows we've under-performed this season. Form and ability are not the same thing.

Do you agree that Mark McGuiness is the 10th best player in the division?

Kayden Jackson 347th?

ElephantintheRoom added 08:42 - Mar 27
These things are relative. When Town are in the top half of the table they have one of the strongest squads in the division. 'One of the strongest squads in the division' is just PR puff tossed out to make everybody feel good.... how you interpret it is up to you. Most, like you seem to think it is a sign of greatness, when it is a sign of mediocrity.... a mid-table team has one of the strongest squads in the division. Words, like stats are meaningless when twisted

DerbyBlue76 added 15:20 - Mar 28
I agree with SouperJim, these are performance figures and it is not surprising that the overall score matches the league table. This does not rank the quality of the players which individually should be better than their current performance

Tractor_Boy_in_HK added 08:50 - Mar 31
That's the thing. Everyone has heard and repeated that we are a big club and have one of the strongest teams in the league...and the players believe it. But we're not. We're not particularly crafty, technical or tactical. We are not even a tall team or particularly fast team. We are a team of individuals that plays with no passion.

- Holy is average, at best. Good shot stopper but rather oddly not confident with crosses. Below average distribution.

- Ward and Chambers - just too slow for wingbacks

- centrebacks - Toto and Wilson limited ability and have always been lower league players, Luke and Mark young and make mistakes

- mids - dozell and downes have potential, but are erratic. Judge, Edwards, Sears, etc have good games and poor games. Nothing special.

- Forwards - all brought in from the lower leagues. Norwood works hard but often to no avail, Jackson has speed, Drinan tries....

So where's all this great talent?

bobble added 10:11 - Mar 31
SouperJim ...cannot see him in the top 600 myself...

Nthsuffolkblue added 18:40 - Apr 3
These statistics represent how the players have performed which explains why they reflect the league position we are in. The issue is that they should be capable of performing much better. It has been poor tactics, the impossible task of managing such a bloated squad and a lack of fitness that has seen us where we are. I struggle to believe that McGuinness is the 10th best player in this league. He is not even clearly our best defender.

bedsitfc added 16:57 - May 31
As stated
Form and ability are totally different things

Also Stats are easily manipulated by the way a question is asked
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