Perry Littman writes a detailed Scout Report about Peterborough’s young winger, Martin Samuelsen.
Martin Samuelsen drew praise for his recent performance against West Brom in the FA cup fourth round replay, with BBC pundit Alan Shearer praising him as “one of the stars of the show”. Peterborough manager Graham Westley has tipped the midfielder to reach the very top. The teenager was named man of the match and wasn’t afraid to show his talent. His progress has been almost as rapid as his own wing play.
Who is Martin Samuelsen?
Born in Haugesund in the north of Norway in 1997, Samuelsen began playing football at youth level with home-town club Vard Haugesund. At 14, he was reportedly attracting interest from Real Madrid and Chelsea. A year later, he joined Manchester City where he spent three years at their academy, playing regular football for the Elite Development Squad.
Samuelsen was released by City and joined West Ham United on June 20th 2015, and three weeks later, he scored on his debut in a friendly match at Peterborough United. Five days after that, he then made his professional debut for the club at home in a Europa League second qualifying round match between Malta’s club side Birkirkara, replacing Morgan Amalfitano after 59 minutes. He played in the Under-21 team and trained with the first team. He made 9 appearances for the West Ham U21 team, scoring 4 goals and getting 2 assists in the U21 Premier League. His still yet to play a game in the Premier League, the closest he has been was when he was on the bench for West Ham`s 3-0 away win at Liverpool, but didn’t come on.
In November 2015, Samuelsen joined League 1 side Peterborough United for a short one-month loan spell, but was extended until the end of the 2015-16 season after some impressive displays in the 1st team. The young Norwegian scored his first goal for Peterborough in a 3-2 win against Sheffield United on January 2nd 2016. it was to be the winning goal for the team, Samuelsen came on as a 78th minute sub for Maddison. With the game at 2-2, he received the ball near the touch-line and got round five Sheffield players, shooting across the goal and beating the keeper, it was a special solo goal that came in the 84th minute. The manner of the goal even drew comparisons with the playing style of Lionel Messi.
So far this season he has made 12 appearances for Peterborough including league and cup games, scoring two and getting one assist.
The Norwegian midfielder has represented his country at youth levels, earning caps at under-16, under 17 and under 18 levels .
Style of play, Strengths and Weaknesses
Samuelsen is a versatile player who can play both central and wide midfield positions on either wing, as well as playing forward, but seems most comfortable down the wings. Peterborough have been playing a 4-3-2-1 formation with Samuelsen playing most of his loan spell at the club at left wing.
He is tall at 6ft 2, slim and elegant on the ball, his best asset is how tricky he can be when he carries the ball and goes past opponents with such ease. He can run rings around defenders using exceptional and superb skill. He is right footed but good with both feet, sometimes he looks like he is about to lose the ball because he might show too much of it to the opposition, but he then quickly moves with it. he has a sheer burst of pace and a level of comfort with the ball at his feet making him a tricky opponent to face. He is not the winger who runs down the flanks and crosses the ball in, more of the midfielder who looks to bring the ball from wide and into the middle of the field.
He is confident and comfortable in taking on a number of players. He also has fantastic energy and has a great work rate, dropping back to defend when he needs to. He is committed in the challenge, and a powerful runner with composure, with the vision and skillset to attack. His ability to drive at defenders from midfield is a crucial factor for any modern day midfielder and Samuelsen is exactly that, with plenty of potential for development.
He likes to block and tackle, and doesn’t give away many fouls. He uses his body well to shield the ball and invites players to give away a foul on him. He gets into the right areas when defending and puts good pressure on the opposing players.
The Norwegian has a footballing brain and can pick passes, both long and short. His first touch is sublime and his passing is what has singled him out as being ready for first team action. His main strength is his ability to play clever through balls into team mates. Samuelsen hasn’t scored as many goals as he might have liked to but he does have an eye for goal and is capable of hitting the target from distance when required with either foot. He does well to find space and can turn with the ball with ease.
He is a pleasure to watch, he is mature for his age and his temperament is excellent, only picking up one yellow card for Peterborough. He does not look out of place in the first team. The team mates around him are confident to play with him and encourage the youngster to play to the levels he is capable of performing.
But as expected he can tend to show inexperience at times. He isn’t quite strong enough to out muscle the defenders in the English league. He did miss his penalty in the shoot out against West Brom who then went into the next round, but at 18 years old, he did show confidence to take one in the early stages of the shootout on an important night for the club. It was a poor penalty that saw him hit the ball poorly with hardly any power on it, straight down the middle of the goal and was saved by the goalkeeper. Samuelsen has taken two penalties for Norway’s youth sides, scoring both in the corners of the goal.
What does the future hold?
Samuelsen current contract at West ham is up to June 2017. With the recent performances he’s made for Peterborough, he has a good chance of possibly breaking into the first team set up for when he returns to West Ham. Victor Moses will be returning to Chelsea after his loan spell which creates a place for Samuelsen. He will still be a teenager next season and West Ham might decide to send him out on loan to a Championship team. But if he can impress in pre-season enough than maybe the Norwegian might make it into West Ham’s first team.
Written by Perry Littman.
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