It’s been a rough start for everybody, but Ben Pringle has been particularly underwhelming. It’s not that he’s been bad – he just hasn’t seemed to be anything. Just there. And really, not particularly there. I even wondered if he’s playing through an injury or something, so uninvolved has he been.
For Rotherham last season Pringle averaged a shot a game, 2.5 key passes (which set up a teammate for a shot) per game, 31 passes per game overall, 3 crosses, and 1.7 long balls.
For Fulham he has had one shot in three games, 1 key pass per game, 22 passes per game, 1 cross per game, and no long balls.
Alright, it’s three games, but decisions are made on much less evidence than this. He’s been invisible. The stats bear out what our eyes have told us.
One thing I wondered when we twigged that Fulham were raiding the Championship’s “chances created” leaderboard from last season was whether there would now be some cannibalisation. It’s not like if I have a mars bar and buy three more mars bars. I’ll have four then. (Actually, a good example is Lucozade, which is being given away by promotional people at Waterloo Station this week. I have seven bottles now. Wrong? No, not at all. They keep handing them to me.)
Anyway, no, it’s not like that. At Rotherham Ben Pringle was, presumably, the creative hub. I wonder if, perhaps, somehow by being in a team with so many other creative types, he’s somehow lost his way and fallen down his team’s pecking order.
Maybe. This is quite interesting:
The interesting thing here is that Cairney and Christensen seem to be playing as they always have. Pringle’s not been that involved this year, to the point where he’s passing half as much as these two, but looking at his Rotherham numbers, he’s clearly not a player who sees a lot of the ball. Alright, fine, but look at Jamie O’Hara!
I don’t know what that even means. O’Hara’s basically becoming the team’s quarterback – everything’s going through him. In many ways this makes sense, given his touch on the ball and ability to be available at all times. That’s great. I’m not going to suggest that Fulham need to share the ball around more because I have no idea if that’s true. But it is interesting that at the same time O’Hara’s basically stepped up and demanded to see everything going on, Pringle has been struggling to get into matches.