Amongst our crop of exciting, upcoming youth players who are having a breakout season under Lampard, one stands out from the others. Whilst the likes of Abraham, Mount, Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi are forward thinking, attacking players, Tomori is the first defensive success to come out of the academy since Andreas Christensen. He is fast, strong, hard in the tackle and has brilliant match intelligence, but how does he rank against some of the league’s other centre backs? The players I have chosen to compare him to are meant to show a variety of different players playing for a variety of different teams.
Another breakout star from this season, Soyuncu was brought in to try and fill some of the hole left by the departure of Harry Maguire in the summer. So far he has played every minute, and has done the job better than most people imagined he would. The 6 foot 2 Turk is strong and pretty quick for his height, but not as fast as Tomori, who has showed excellent pace to make recovery tackles on numerous occasions. He makes more clearances than Tomori, but less blocks, tackles, interceptions and commits more fouls than the Englishman. He has 1 assist to his name so far, but overall a worse passing accuracy. In conclusion, despite his near £20million transfer fee, he isn’t as good as Tomori statistically.
The newly made England International has been somewhat of a revelation for Aston Villa this season, being one of the main reasons Villa have the joint most clean sheets and the joint fourth best defence in the league, shipping just six goals. The 6 foot 5 Englishman has played every minute of Villas campaign so far, compared to just 180 for Tomori. However, per game Tomori makes more tackles (3 vs 0.4), more interceptions (4 vs 1.4) and commits less fouls (0 vs 0.6). One stat Mings is superior in is clearances, making 8.4 a game, with 4.2 being headed. Mings is also yet to be dribbled past.
One of Tomori’s strengths is his composure and passing ability. So far, Tomori is making 84 passes a game at an accuracy of 90.5% which dwarfs Mings’s of 46 passes at 78%. Personally, I think Tomori is already at a similar level to Mings, and the only area of the defensive game that Mings is superior in is heading and aerial duels. Give it a year, or possibly less and don’t be surprised to see Mings’s place in the England squad taken by young Tomori.
Now I am by no means saying Tomori is anywhere near the level of Man City’s key man at the back. However I was somewhat surprised when I took a closer look at the stats. Tomori makes more tackles, interceptions and blocks, whilst Laporte leads the way in clearances and is dribbled past less. They both make 0.5 key passes a game whilst completing more than 80 passes per game.
Whether this says more about Tomori’s excellent start to the season or Laporte being a bit off the pace, it is surprising to see how similar the pair are. Even when going back to last year’s numbers, Tomori still is on top in most key defensive metrics. Clearly Laporte is the better player, with considerably more experience in two of Europe’s top leagues but maybe it shows that we could have something special on our hands.
Hopefully these comparisons have shown that despite his inexperience, Fikayo Tomori has all the qualities to become a top level centre back. With regular game time this season looking more and more likely with each game he plays, don’t be surprised to see him only get better. And with Euro 2020 coming up soon, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make the squad. I don’t want to be premature but could we have the next great academy made centre back?