THE SCOUT

Our scout is a top foot­ball ex­pert who at­tends matches each week search­ing for the next star. He’ll bring you his ver­dict in Sports­mail.

Daily Mail - - Football -

ETHAN WASSALL

AGE: 21 CLUB: DERBY COUNTY PO­SI­TION: CEN­TRE BACK VALUE: £300,000

WHAT HAS HE GOT?

IN THE game I saw, he played right cen­tre back in a three-man back­line. A right-footed player, I like the way he stepped for­ward into space cre­ated by his right wing back to­wards the end of the game. His team were push­ing for an equaliser and he showed sound pass­ing skills and force­ful run­ning, which had not been nec­es­sary ear­lier when he had done a good job de­fend­ing the right side with­out be­ing stretched. He has a per­fect frame for a cen­tral de­fender. When he needed to cover at­tacks down the other flank, he was al­ways close to his de­fen­sive col­league and was aware enough to drag his right wing back into a de­cent cov­er­ing po­si­tion. Rarely tested in the air, it was dif­fi­cult to gauge his head­ing strength as in this game most op­po­si­tion crosses from deep came from their left side, so it was the op­po­site cen­tral de­fender of the three who was ex­am­ined. I thought he com­mu­ni­cated well — easy to hear in academy games — and showed a ma­tu­rity for his age. In a strong team, he showed tough­ness when needed.

WHAT DOES HE NEED?

SO FAR he has only played academy foot­ball and dur­ing a brief loan at Here­ford. Still only 21, he needs first-team ex­pe­ri­ence soon. His father Dar­ren heads the Derby academy and served his ap­pren­tice­ship un­der Brian Clough at Not­ting­ham For­est. At Derby, he will have in­stilled good one-on-one de­fen­sive prin­ci­ples in his son. Wassall Jnr shows a calm head when de­fend­ing, sen­si­ble pass­ing and a nice bal­ance be­tween play­ing short, early and with ac­cu­racy and look­ing for a for­ward ball down the right chan­nel, turn­ing the op­po­si­tion de­fence around. Sev­eral of his academy col­leagues look right for the next step and I’ll be sur­prised if Frank Lam­pard does not give them that op­por­tu­nity if Derby fail to win pro­mo­tion this sea­son.

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