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Danny Lewis writes a detailed scout report about Solly March, Brighton & Hove Albion’s technically gifted winger.
Brighton & Hove Albion have had an incredible season as they gained their first ever promotion to the Premier League. Championship Player of the Year Anthony Knockaert scored 15 league goals and dazzled crowds all season, Glenn Murray who has scored goals all his career got a total of 22 for the season, while Israel international Tomer Hemed bagged himself 11. However, it was none of these who scored the goal that got Brighton over the line and secured them promotion. That honour went to Solly March, as he powered the ball through the grasp of Wigan’s Jakob Haugaard to get his side’s second in a game that would end 2-1.
This is an amazing achievement for somebody who was ruled out for 11 months due to a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament sustained against Derby last season. The winger has gone on to be an important member of the Brighton squad in this historical season and will be looking to be involved at the Under-21 Euros in Poland this summer. Following on from that, it will be a test for March to show that he can mix it with the best next season in the Premier League, but that is a challenge he will be more than willing to face.
Born in Eastbourne, Solly March began his playing career with Lewes. In 2011 March, he made his debut for their first team at the age of 17, when they were in the Isthmian League Premier Division. It only took that one performance for him to catch the eye, as he was offered a scholarship by Brighton & Hove Albion.
There was interest from Newcastle United and Millwall, but the Seagulls were able to lure him to the Amex Arena. Again, the winger impressed quickly, as his performances in the youth teams earned him the Young Player of the Year Award at the end of the 2012-13 season.
The following season he made his debut, when he came on late on in a 2-1 loss to Derby County. He also scored his first competitive goal for the club in the 2013-14 season, scoring his side’s second in a 3-1 win over Port Vale in the FA Cup.
His career stalled during the 2015-16 season due to the aforementioned long term injury. March made his return, as he came on for the latter stages of a 2-0 win over Leeds on December 9th 2016 and then made his first start since his return in a 3-0 win over QPR 18 days later.
Since coming back he has bagged himself three goals, which came in a 3-3 draw with Brentford, a 2-0 win over Rotherham United and that all important 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic.
Regarding international experience March has played for England Under-20s on four occasions, before stepping up to the Under-21s and making the first of his 3 appearances for them in a 1-0 friendly win against USA Under-23s on November 3rd 2015. March’s latest match for the Under-21s saw the winger score his first goal for his country with a brilliant strike against Denmark Under-21s.
Solly March is a direct and tricky winger who will look to take on the opposing full back. He can make players on the other team look foolish at times, as he beats them with ease or puts the ball through their legs. Like Knockaert on the other wing he is able to run inside the full back or hug the touchline, which keeps defenders guessing.
He is not just a trickster though and has a great end product. The 22-year-old has an eye for a spectacular finish. This was epitomised by that goal that he scored in the 4-0 win against Denmark Under-21s.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) March 27, 2017
March also has good delivery into the box from wide areas. He often works his way to the byline before putting a quality ball into the box. The variation in his play can cause plenty of trouble for the opposition full back, as it keeps them guessing as to where he will go.
March is brilliant technically, his direct running and distribution make him a real threat to opposition defences. He has a plethora of tricks at his disposal and he shows the confidence to use them to the benefit of him and his team.
This is also helped by his physical attributes, as the 22-year-old is quick and agile, which allows him to dart past players to get the space needed to get a strike on goal or cross into the box. He also has high stamina, which helps him get up and down the pitch to fulfil his defensive duties, while maintaining the threat he poses to the other team.
He has an eye for a spectacular goal and is able to make and finish scoring opportunities, making a goal out of nothing. He is also capable of picking out a team mate when he gets into a crossing position. After managing to get to the byline some players will often panic and aimlessly deliver the ball, but March has the composure and technique to pick out a team mate and put the chance on a plate for them to finish.
&One thing that his return from injury has shown is his mental maturity and the confidence that he has in his ability to recover from the setback. This attitude is important if he is to make it in the Premier League, as he could have different obstacles that he will have to overcome if he is to have a successful career.
Solly March recently had a run of games where he started five times in a row, but hasn’t really managed to get substantial runs of starts at Brighton. This could be because Chris Hughton is looking to ease him back into things following his injury, but it does make it difficult for the 22-year-old to get real consistency.
It is vital for March to stay away from another long term injury. If he was to face another lengthy spell on the sideline it would really stall his development and potentially prevent him from reaching the next level.
However, if he is able to get regular game time for Brighton then he could develop into a brilliant player, especially if they manage to stay in the Premier League.
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