Mikel Merino has been an instant hit on Tyneside and it’s easy to see why, with it being revealed that no Premier League player has won back possession in the midfield third more than the Spaniard so far this season!
The stat was revealed yesterday by statistical experts WhoScored.com, highlighting just how effective the 21-year old has been in the middle of the park so far in his debut season in the Premier League:
Mikel Merino: No player has won possession in the midfield third more times than @mikelmerino1 (35) in the Premier League this season
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 2, 2017
The Spanish U-21 international has shown his class on the ball, showing his ability to carry the ball or pick a pass, and this stat emphasises just how good he is off the ball too.
The ability to be as effective off the ball as you are on it is a rare and valuable trait and one he almost certainly possesses.
At 6ft 2′ he doesn’t lack size either, seeming able to cope with the physical demands of English football, whilst his mobility and athleticism to match helps him get around the pitch. For a tall guy he can look surprisingly elegant with the ball at his feet.
It sounds like I’m suggesting he has very few weaknesses in his game, but his string of well rounded performances really have given off that vibe.
To say he’s been impressive is an understatement and his in-game statistics so far this season back that up.
Just look at some of these figures below, emphasising just what integral part he’s been in our solid start to the new season, offering such big and consistent contributions both on and off the ball:
Mikel Merino for Newcastle in the Premier League:
Most passes (192)
Most tackles won (11)
Most interceptions (9)
Most take-ons (7)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 24, 2017
Most possession wins (9)
Most tackles won (4)
Most duels won (9)
Most runs (2)
Most chances created (2) pic.twitter.com/Gy1NIxAddS
— NUFC Index (@NUFC_Index) October 1, 2017
Mikel Merino v Brighton
— NUFC Index (@NUFC_Index) September 25, 2017
Mikel Merino for Newcastle vs. Swansea:
Most passes completed (37)
Most tackles won (5)
Most interceptions (4)
Most take-ons (2)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 10, 2017
We have lacked a cultured defensive midfielder for a few years now and Merino looks more and more like he could be that man.