Well, the transfer window has closed and Leeds United stand as the proud new owners of 15 players at the onset of the International break. Whilst eyes were diverted by the arrival of ‘promising youngsters’, ‘starlets’ and other such gloriously-termed players filling the midfield and attacking ‘flair’ positions; what of the foot-soldiers injured in battle?

What of Stephen Warnock?

Warnock is Leeds’ joint-top scorer with one goal but what other benefits does he bring to the team?

In all fairness, over the 414 minutes of football played this season, Warnock has probably been Leeds United’s most consistent defender. On the Squawka.com website where I crawl through the mire for my stats/number pictures to illustrate the match reports that I produce on my own Leeds United Blog, Warnock tops the Leeds’ defenders with a 5 match total score of 122 points. Now I know that many will say “Yeah, but stats are nothing, it’s the interpretation of them that matters!” and they are right, of course. Numbers, taken in isolation are…well just numbers really.

The thing is, Warnock has been putting up some pretty impressive numbers in what, I think we can all admit, has been a pretty p**s-poor defence so far this season. The Leeds’ defensive unit reminds me of a typical English summer; it is grey and dismally ineffective and there are brief glimpses of promise that look like sunnier times ahead. Amidst the gloominess and bad performances, Warnock has been there in those ‘brighter areas’ more consistently than others that he has lined up alongside.

He is ranked the 4th out of all Championship players for interceptions per game with an average of 3.4 intercepts p/game; only centre backs rank higher than him in this category. Often, the small things that a player does are missed by the ‘fan eyes’ as the passion they bring when watching their team play simmers over. They focus on the missed header or mis-kicked clearances rather than the timely toe nudging the ball from an attacker’s feet and into touch.

Not only does Stephen Warnock defend consistently well but he also shows accurate distribution of the ball. On a per 90 minute basis, Warnock attempts to distribute the ball around 42 times with a passing accuracy of 86% showing tidy aspects in this area and one aspect of his play that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Squawka OPTA stats have him as a solid contributor across the three areas that they measure: defence (56), possession (40) and attack (26) and this is in a Leeds’ team where the next highest ranked defender has a grand total of 14 points (Jason Pearce) and one on -72 (Sam Byram).

Amidst the transfer influx and the anticipation of seeing the first Brazilian in the white of Leeds United since Roque Junior’s cameo back in the ‘dark days’, will people forget about those still there and quietly going about their job in a steady and consistent, if unspectacular, way. Stephen Warnock is one of these and, should he remain sidelined, it does look like Leeds will turn to the youngster Charlie Taylor to fill Warnock’s boots at left back.

  • Bluesman

    Warnock has been immense this season. The very best at the back and going forward. Was not impressed with him a couple of seasons ago but he has grown in stature within the team and is well worth his place. Really like the look of him these days and cant see him being sidelined for a while.

    • RobHK

      He may be sidelined as he came off injured against Bolton, although he says it’s not serious and the international break may mean he won’t miss the next game..

      • TSS

        Wasn’t as bad as first feared, expects to be fully fit by time international break ends

  • Guest

    He may be sidelined as he came off injured against Bolton, although he says it’s not serious and the international break may mean he won’t miss the next game.

  • Leeds Fan

    Under-rated defender, should be first name on the team sheet.

  • mrbigwheels

    Lots of articles in the past 36 hours highlighting his, (Warnock), support for Hock.
    Cellino perhaps doesn’t do stats but he does do ‘getting pissed off’… very easily.
    Warnocks goal celebration was reportedly about Cellino mobiling Hock at the Bradford game to ‘get Warnock off’ after he fell over, early on in the match…..

    Warnock is valuable this season if he stays fit. Hope Cellino sees it that way

    • TSS

      There was an article from Phil Hay summing up the transfer window in which he said the only position Cellino planned to strengthen but hadn’t been able to do so is left-back. Cellino however had been impressed by Warnock’s form so wasn’t too concerned with Taylor there for cover.

      I don’t think Cellino’s the sort who’ll be concerned by players showing a bit of attitude, Warnock’s gone out there and proven him wrong, I’d admire that personally – and I think Cellino would do.

      • mrbigwheels

        Very enlightening and structured comments.
        I can see the reasoning from another view now.

        I am a big fan of Warnock (LB).

        Saw the other one last week….. he’s still bubbling his speien…

        Thanks.

      • pmh

        Just because Cellino can dish out the verbal abuse doesn’t mean he can take it. We all have known insecure bosses who fired anyone who disagrees with them. We’ll see what happens.

        • henrymouni

          It may be Warnock’s wages that are Massimo’s target?
          He must be one of the highest earners left in the squad.
          I hope he stays.
          He always gives 100% and is fired up for every game.
          His only weakness is putting good crosses into the box.

          • Graham

            henrymouni…thought the cross he put into the bottom corner against Bolton was sweet though.

          • henrymouni

            Yes!
            He sent everyone the wrong way with that one Graham!!!

    • spellz

      I wondered what he was doing, celebration seemed a little odd.

  • henrymouni

    He also talks to the other players throughout the game, to try to organise the defence.

  • spellz

    Well this is funny as the amount of people on this forum constantly adding him to the list of shit players we have are probably going to post how good he is now, I have always rated Warnock and said that he is a premiership quality player probably our only one, I have felt like at times I am the only person that feels this, I know he has made mistakes in the past but I have never doubted his ability, he always puts in an honest shift, I have said it before I will say it again he is quality.

    • Graham

      He is quality and consistent; which is exactly what we need. He has better defensive performance statistics than the total of ALL Leeds defenders used this season and better per game passing statistics than Luke Murphy.

      I think that we’ll get a lot out of him this season and, alongside a more settled centre back situation with Bellusci and A.N.Other plus Berardi on the other flank – we should improve as a unit.

      • spellz

        Exactly that and he also out of the Warnock rejects the only one who has remained consistent to this day, I dont know if you remember but when McD took over he was captain for his first game in charge so obviously respected by the manager too, our back line is definitely looking more solid, this team needs the time to gel and we need a coach sooner rather than later to give them the direction they need.

        • Graham

          Fully agree – I’m not a massive Sam Byram fan and was hoping that money would have been agreed for him; maybe he’s being kept as a back-up to Berardi…who knows?

          • spellz

            He has not been the same since the injury, I really hope he regains the promise he once had.