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Callum McManaman: Scout Report

McManaman in action for Wigan

McManaman in action for Wigan

Over the past decades English football has seen great players, in late 90’s David Beckham, 2000’s Frank Lampard, John Terry, Steven Gerrard and now Barclays Premier League has great young players like Alex Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Luke Shaw and James-Ward Prowse. These players have a great future ahead of them. These young talents can bring glory to England after such a long time.

Spain and Germany have more A licenced coaches than England. This means that they have better educated coaches. At first sight, it doesn’t look so important but if you start to think about that and realize the importance of A licenced coaches then it makes sense. The latest product of English youth development is Callum McManaman. After, spending nine years at Everton’s youth academy he moved to Wigan Athletic.

Profile

Callum McManaman was born in Huyton, England which is part of the Merseyside region, on 25th April 1991. Callum was an Everton supporter just like his distant relative Steve McManaman who played for Liverpool and Real Madrid. He joined the Everton ranks when he was seven years old and played in youth teams for the blue half of Merseyside until he was sixteen years old. Everton decided not to renew his contract and he was released by the club. He signed for Wigan Athletic on a free transfer after Everton released him, making his debut for the reserves in 2007-2008 and becoming a regular player for Wigan’s reserve team during the second half of the season. He played ten times and scored four goals for the Wigan reserves. He made his first team debut in May 2009 in a Premier League game against Portsmouth. McManaman became Wigan’s youngest-ever player to play in Premier League. He scored his first goal for Wigan against Hull city in the FA Cup and his first Premier League goal was against Tottenham Hotspur in April. A week later he scored the winning goal against West Bromwich Albion.

Soccer Wiki Profile

He wasn’t a regular first team player but he earned a contract extension, keeping him at the club until 2013. He was primarily a substitute to the first team at the beginning of 2010-2011 season. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez observed his evolution and decided to send him on loan and he signed a three month loan deal with Blackpool where he played fourteen games and scored four goals. After he came back from his loan spell, he scored against Swindon Town in the FA cup and returned to Barclays Premier league football at the DW Stadium against Manchester City. Soon enough, he integrated himself into the first team.

İn the 2012-2013 season, Wigan were brilliant in the FA cup and Callum was impressive too, as they won The FA Cup at Wembley. Callum showed what he is capable of against the 2011-2012 league champions

He has been called up by the U-20 national team in July 2011, and was part of the FİFA U-20 World Cup squad. He made his debut against North Korea and he was part of all the games until they were knocked out by Nigeria. He was called up to the England Under-21 team for the European Football Championship in İsrael. Roy Hodgson has some opportunities to experiment with his England squad, McManaman could possibly be a part of his plans.

Style, Strengths and Weaknesses

With or without the ball he is very fast and very good at one on ones. He likes to dribble directly to the goal and improvises when he is alone with the opponent, doing it very efficiently. He creates good chances for his teammates inside the box, providing enough creativity to be a bother for any defender. His unpredictable attacking moves create chances for his team but if he can add more qualities on his game in terms of attack, he can be more complete and more charming for bigger clubs. His ball control and first touch are first class just like his acceleration and he knows when it’s good to accelerate with the ball. These four characteristics form the main part of his game. Besides that, he delivers good crosses to the strikers. While he plays as a left winger, he likes to cut inside, which allows him more chances to score goals. He displayed this in the FA cup game against Millwall, where he cut inside from left wing and scored a brilliant goal.

You can see that if he plays as a right winger, he always prefers to stay close to the touch line and it limits the attacking contribution of the right back. İf he plays as a left winger he prefers to cut inside which allows the left back to join the attack, giving them free spaces and one extra man in the attack. İn my opinion, it is better both for him and his team for him to play as a left winger. İt would allow them to play more effectively in attack.

One more characteristic about him is that he runs directly to the goal so often. If his teammates can give him the ball when he is on the run, it is extremely hard to stop him. He changes the direction so fast and at the same time he can control the ball and dribble with the ball very flawlessly.

His physical strength is one of his main weakness. He is too skinny compared to Barclays Premier League defenders. He loses his balance easily, he has to be more solid. McManaman needs to improve his strength to be a more complete and effective winger. His level of experience is one of the problems he has to deal with; playing more games will help him to improve his experience. There is no question mark on his talent but there is one question mark about his mental strength, we do not know that if he is capable of  handling the pressure of playing for big clubs. There will be expectations from the board, press and the fans. He has to deal with these expectations and pressure, this will be the key factor for his career. His aggressive tackles have been widely highlighted. Weeks ago he made a horror tackle on Massadio Haidara but wasn’t punished by FA. He was roundly criticized by the media, fans and managers. It displayed the behaviour of a young raw talent who needs a proper mentor for a manager to clamp down his aggression.

Callum is always effective in attack but he needs to improve his defensive contribution to the team. He has to take more responsibilities in the defensive part of the games. Without improving his defensive contribution to his team, he won’t be able to play at the top level. Him and his manager have to deal with that, I would suggest he do extra training on his defending and positioning. As the season has wore on, McManaman has become a more mature player, tracking back often into the full-back position to help out the defence. It displayed the usual hard-working Martinez’ team towards the end of the season, playing as a unit.

Despite his lack of defensive contribution, McManaman has an impressive successful tackling rate. He’s won 20 tackles of the 22 he has attempted at a 91% rate. Most of these tackles have come in an attacking zone as Martinez has implemented an effective and hard-working pressing strategy.

At the time of writing, McManaman had an 84% pass completion rate in the Premier League. He has had a total of 132 successful passes. Although, McManaman often looks hesitant to take a chance with his passes, preferring to taking the safe approach. He had an impressive 89% pass completion rate against QPR. A majority of his passes though, were backwards to the full-back in a bid to find more space in dangerous positions.

Transfer Situation

His predicted market value is £1.5 million, as a result of Wigan’s relegation. His style of play would fit both Liverpool and Arsenal. Liverpool are looking for talented young players to build a new and solid team with a keen eye on the future, and Callum can be one of the most complete players in Liverpool’s squad. According to some newspapers in England, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was at the Emirates stadium to watch him.  Liverpool could possibly make a move in the summer to bring him to Anfield. He signed a contract with Wigan Athletic until the 2016 but is unlikely to stay at the club. The other theory is that if Roberto Martinez moves to another Barclays Premier League club, he can take Callum McManaman with him.

I think that best thing for him would be the move to one of the top clubs in England and a season on loan at a smaller side (possible a  newly promoted club) would be the best fit for him. He enjoyed regular first-team football with Wigan Athletic, there won’t be any guarantees at a bigger club. A loan spell at the early stage of his career has helped him a lot to get his chance at Wigan, another loan spell at higher level would help him to secure his place at the top clubs in the country.

This article was written by Mert Conker, who has completed Scout courses in Turkey and holds a Scout Certificate. You can follow Mert on Twitter @Mertconker

Click here to view our other Scout Reports

Mert Conker

Mert Conker

Merk Conker is an author at Outside of the Boot as well as a contributor to Turkish websitewww.yarisaha.com. He is a huge fan of English football, specially Liverpool.
Mert Conker

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