Neil Redfearn came out this week and said that Sam Byram’s participation at first team level “hadn’t been handled as well as it could have been” and that  “It’s been a stop-start season for him so far,” regarding his opportunities this term. Redfearn sees Byram as a protoypical attacking fullback, as comfortable defending his own box as attacking the opposition’s box.

Much to the chagrin of some armchair managers on the greatest management forum of all, Facebook, Byram has been favoured over this season’s purchase of Gaetano Berardi. some had even written him off as ‘injury prone’ and ‘gave us one good season’. It is obvious that Neil Redfearn is an admirer of Byram’s qualities and what he can bring to a game but, the question remains, what did he bring to the game on Saturday against Blackpool at Elland Road?

Byram’s opening 45 minutes

Byram 0-45

In the opening 45 minutes Byram was reveling in his more attack-orientated role. He had 40 pass attempts with 38 of these being successful in reaching their intended target; overall this gave him 95% accuracy. As expected with a right back, Sam Byram was extremely active down the right flank and this activity is shown on the Squawka ‘heat map’ which plots the areas where the player is most active, the colours increasing with the intensity or frequency of activity in that area.


Byram’s closing 45 minutes

Byram 45 - 90

What can be observed is that Byram’s productivity dropped somewhat in the second half where he only made 21 pass attempts with 16 (74%) successfully reaching their intended targets leaving him with an overall passing accuracy of 88%. The ‘heat map’ shows that whilst he wasn’t as active, he was still active in both the Leeds and Blackpool middle third areas of the field (at either side of the halfway line).

Final thoughts

Byram had a good game, that can’t be doubted. He was extremely busy and fulfilled Neil Redfearn’s faith in him being equally comfortable defending his own box as attacking the opposition area and asking questions of opposition players. Byram’s 61 passing attempts was the highest on the team, as was his accuracy at 88%. I do write about Byram’s game yesterday elsewhere, but these ‘headline’ figures here do represent an encouraging return from this match and, it is surely the hope, that this is a return to the kind of form that Sam Byram showed in keeping Real Madrid Galactico Gareth Bale in his back pocket in the 2013 FA Cup tie that which ended in a 2-1 victory for Leeds.

10 Responses

  1. Ron

    The bottom line is he’s a player that when playing his best, is better than the division and we need him playing in the hope he hits his stride. If Del Fabro and Dawson can get on the pitch in the 2nd half of the season, we’ve a very decent spine of players under 23 and that sets us up nicely for next season.

    • Thommohawk

      With Redfearn being in charge I expect to see more youngsters playing more regularly. Byram’s a good player, at least he can stay on the pitch which is more than I can say for Berardi. Lewis Cook is a fantastic player. I haven’t seen much of Dawson recently but he’s highly rated and Charlie Taylor is supposedly every bit as good as Byram but as left back.

      I have no idea how good the others are but I do know how good Lewis Cook, Sam Byram, and Alex Mowatt are and I do know the Under-18s win every week and if I’m not mistaken have won youth leagues. So we obviously have a bright future and I think next season if we have a promotion push that we’ll do it with a big time smattering of our home grown youth talent who all know each other (and Redfearn and vice versa) inside out.

      The last time we had a smattering of youth talent come up to the first team (that we didn’t immediately sell like Aaron Lennon and James Milner) was Woody, Smithy, Hartey and Robbo and they achieved Champions League miracles.

      • Irving08

        The present crop is possibly more reminiscent of the early 80’s group of Sheridan, Sellars et al. We don’t however have a Tommy Wright, though Antenucci shows promise !

  2. spellz

    Sam Byram was back to form, showing the ability he once promised before the injury. He is quality on his day and the attacking role definitely suits him more my personal man of the match. Could I just say though, how we did not improve on a 3-0 half time lead? at home and actually concede is concerning after all we were playing a Blackpool side with one win to their name and one away win in I believe 29 attempts.

    M.O.T AA.

    • Irving08

      Tiredness, I suspect, was one reason: Mowatt looked a bit heavy legged for a lot of the game, while the Brazilian lad won’t be used to the intensity of the Championship, similarly the Italians, to some degree. The stamina of the rest impressed me, particularly that of Doukara, Cook and Byram.

      • spellz

        I agree, spot on Irving. The last three you mentioned were definitely juiced up until the whistle, international break needed for sure.

  3. Irving08

    Correction: Byram had a very good game. Edwin Gray made him man of the match; so did we.

  4. Irving08

    Dawson lacks sponsorship. How about this site stepping in ? It will pay dividends.


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