The Sport Bible yesterday published this table ranking the Premier League’s top 20 players by distance covered per game this season – the simplest statistical measure of work-rate available. Two United players are on the list – one of whom arguably doesn’t belong there at all.
As you’d expect, the list is dominated by midfielders, with more English players than any other nationality, and not a single non-European player to be seen.
James Milner tops the table at this early stage in the season, having racked up an average of 12.29km per game, whilst Spurs have 3 players in the list – more than any other club.
As for Man Utd, Morgan Schneiderlin is the club’s hardest working player based on these figures, having covered 47.06km (11.77km per game). He’s the league’s fifth-hardest-working player overall, and his aggressive pressing game has certainly made a big difference to the complexion of United’s midfield from what we’ve seen so far.
The other Man Utd work-horse on the list is none other than Wayne Rooney – the only striker to feature. Rooney is the EPL’s 14th-hardest-working player, covering an average of 11.14km per game. We all know Rooney likes to be involved in the play, and that inevitably sees him dropping deep, tracking back, and generally not playing much like a classic lone frontman. This stat seems to point to the suggestion that Rooney would be better-utilised in the number 10 role, where his propensity for running around a lot might be more beneficial, but that leaves only Martial and Wilson as options for the number 9 role, which is far from ideal.
It’s good to see Darren Fletcher on the list too – his work-rate was once a key asset for United, and it’s great to see that he’s recovered the energy-levels that made him such an important player for us. Signing Schneiderlin – a player who possesses some similar qualities – definitely makes United a harder team to break down; we now just need to add some flair and expression to our base of industry and control.