This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Usurped by a younger model.
That’s the position that Marc Albrighton finds himself in at Leicester City right now.
Albrighton was an integral part of the Leicester City side that won the title back in 2015/16 starting all 38 games (via Transfermarkt). However, he’s been missing out on all the fun of the latest Foxes ‘fairy-tale’ as he’s been reduced to just six appearances so far this term in the league and only one start.
He’s found his place in the side held blocked by Harvey Barnes so far, but does Albrighton have a realistic chance of knocking him out of his spot at some point in the future?
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It’s a really fascinating one because neither man really dominates the other to such an extent that it’s clear and obvious who should be taking the starting role, taking a look at their stats from this season so far.
In fact it’s so close that the only area that you can give someone a ‘solid’ lead to is Barnes when it comes to his number of shots per game, which will come naturally from playing more minutes (644 to 183 in the league, via WhoScored) and thus having more chances.
At the end of the day it’s really unfair to think that someone who is producing at almost the same rate as Barnes has found himself reduced to the role of a substitute, because he is really nipping at the heels of Barnes to push him for that place in the starting eleven.
With Leicester on such a good run of form at the moment, it’s unlikely that the 21-year-old is going to drop out of the side (if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it), so it’s going to have to take either a big slump in form from Barnes or a devastating injury to give him his place back.
But if you consider the fact Leicester have the league’s top scorer, Jamie Vardy, in their ranks, would they really lose too much of a goal threat by bringing in Albrighton? Arguably not. They may even create more as despite regularly coming off the bench, the £9m-rated winger averages more key passes per game.
On that evidence, there is a reason to suggest he’s being harshly treated by Brendan Rodgers. But that’s the way the cookie seems to crumble. If a less experienced pro is doing well, he tends to get the nod – especially at Leicester.