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What is with the Scotty Parker hate?

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But for serious, am I the only that digs what our Captain does?

Jamie McDonald

For starters this isn't meant to be a poor Scotty Parker you should all be a lot nicer to him post... whew, that was a mouthful. I'm not going to even mention that he's now the team Captain and that should incur some respect from the club supporters. Largely because I think that's crap and really just opens him up to more ridicule and higher expectations.

The thing is coming into the season we already had huge expectations of him. Giving him the Band isn't/wasn't absurd and he's a guy that in a lot of ways is a good representative of the club in how he conducts himself not just on the field but off too. Though, I could very easily be missing something that all of you see that I do not.

That said he's had a sort of negative meme that has surrounded him. Which I kind of want to address. Let's look over the three that I've noticed the most. You might have others that we can address later, you can just leave them in the comments.

He turns the ball over... all the time.

Okay, so I embellished a bit on this one. But I feel justified in doing it because I have to listen to all of you all the time and you just have to listen to me just this once. So it works out in the end.

Parker has 2 turnovers on the ball, 6 dispossessions and 47 incomplete passes--regardless of what type of attempt (i.e. long ball, through ball, ect). That accounts for 55 total 'bad' plays. If he has touched the ball 385, which, according to WhoScored, he has, that leads to about 14% of his on the ball actions being considered "bad" or negative worth plays.

This is not a lot. But for the sake of comparison and in an attempt to contextualize that information let's look at another player that plays a similar position and has similar minutes.

Jeff Hendrick, a central midfield darling and upcoming Irish Midfielder for Derby county has had 5 turnovers, 12 dispossessions and 26 incomplete passes (he's only attempted 191 passes) from a full tally of 254 total touches. Those negative actions account for 16% of his plays.

All these numbers are courtesy of WhoScored... who in turn provide it because they have a license to distribute from Opta. Opta records the numbers as it happens by way of a live stream. Cool--cool, cool, cool.

He doesn't make good passes and ruins good opportunities.

Here are more numbers. Scott Parker currently ranks 2nd in passes attempted (318) among midfielders, he's 3rd in pass completion among midfielders with at least 200 attempts and lastly he's tied for third for most key passes (7) by midfielders with at least 200 pass attempts. He might miss some chances and I wouldn't argue that he doesn't but there is a fair argument to be had that he creates more than he probably misses. Probably.

He is asserting himself as the primary facilitator of the ball for the attack.

This sounds like more of a statement but most say it with the intention of being derogatory. The thing this is 100% accurate. He is the facilitator and the kind of the co-commander of the attack. He is one of two individuals to play all four matches (the other being Patrick Roberts) and leads the team in total minutes. Each match he ranks either first or second in percentage of total touches--meaning he's held the largest possession of the ball and in most cases more than anyone else on the other side of the pitch.

He has so many passes because of the role that he plays linking the defense to the attack and distributing the ball around to either the forwards or other midfielder to build up to opportunities. His short little pin-wheel passes are a result of the formation.

His location and positional savvy is obvious. While all other veterans are being discarded no one has really bothered to ask why Magath stickes by Parker? It's because he's confident and has a strong acumen for the position. The result of his time with the ball and placement is not an accident.

POS

%ofTouches

TeamTouches

Parker Touches

Rank

FORMATION

POS

66%

13%

798

102

2nd

4-3-1-2

RCM

62%

13%

820

108

1st

4-3-3

CM

49%

13%

685

89

1st

4-4-2

RCM

53%

12%

701

86

2nd

4-4-2

LCM

Looking back to how he's been positioned in the line-up card; Felix Magath has purposely made him the influential figure on the pitch to help things. My thing with it is this; wasn't that kind of what everyone wanted to begin with? That Parker would take on a leadership role on the pitch and help stabilize the midfield. "It was imperative that he play a lot of games, while also and being good"? Parker was suppose to be a "huge" piece for this club going forward and despite four losses he has been--yet, people are disappointed, mad, frustrated?

---

This isn't an I love Scott Parker post. It's not. He does bad things too and I'll gladly have that discussion at another time. One of the more noticeable things at his stage is that he's not the ball winner he once was. Those days of chasing down a counter are done. Which, being that's a huge weakness on this team kind of stands out.

That said one of my worries with this club was having him shoulder the role of defensive midfielder, and Magath has seemingly disregarded, because of his age and because of his decline of skill. Really I would like to see Parker much in the same position he was against Ipswitch and Wolves. Where he isn't responsible for width or defensive tracking but still can help maintain possession and help influence the offense.

Getting back to the whole outro and point of this undertaking; Parker is a good player and it's not as if any of our players have been out right consistently terrible at this stage of the season. Even Cameron Burgess--who has struggled through a collection of moments early this season has some equally good take homes.

I'm a glass is half full type of guy and perhaps you've already picked up on that. Parker in my book is a net positive for the Whites and I'm happy to have him be an unchanging pillar in all this upheaval. That said, this probably means that Magath doesn't start him tomorrow, which means those 18.5% of you that don't want him to start should be mildly satisfied with the line-up.