Championship: Best U-22 centrebacks in defensive duels

Category: Team Analysis

Winning a duel is fundamental in football. We try to find out which U-22 Championship centrebacks are the best in ground and aerial duels.


Before or after looking at whether a team or a player performs within a soccer match or a whole season, it is very productive to look at the most essential and individual aspects. Going into detail, we can explain the level of a team in its ability to win duels. In the end, even if there are many important ideas and principles of play behind or around it to achieve the objectives, the game is a succession of individual duels that the player faces. One example was Bayern-PSG in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, where Julian Nagelsmann’s men were far superior in every individual duel.

Although this detail is found all over the pitch and involves and demands all players, it is particularly important in central defender. By searching for the best U-22 centrebacks in three types of duels, we can imagine whether they are at the right time to make the leap to the Premier League or a top European league. In that list we find great young projects on loan from Manchester City or Borussia Moenchengladbach.

  • Louis Beyer is undoubtedly the best-performing young center-back in the Championship, who is showing enormous confidence in all kinds of duels. To separate the aerial duels from the rest, we have the metric of percentage of duels down low, which measures the security of a player measured in the tackle, which can serve as a filter to understand that in the short term it would be difficult for him to adapt in a league of much higher level as the Premier League.

Burnley’s first-choice pairing of 22-year-old German Louis Beyer, on loan from Gladbach, and Harwood Bellis, 21, on loan from Manchester City, have become the most reliable pair in the league. But beyond them, there are some interesting players with good potential for the future.

  • Andrew Omobamidele, 20 years old, is one of Norwich City’s most interesting projects. He is a very complete central defender who also stands out in dealing with the ball, being, of course, much better in low duels than high, where his success rate can be improved.
  • Jonathan Panzo, on loan from Nottingham Forest to Coventry City, international with England’s youth teams, presents an extraordinary performance in duels in his own half, with the best percentage of aerial duels among U-22 centrebacks.

We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in the statistical analysis of players and teams; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 200,000 players from more than 180 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
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