What’s happened to Ben Pringle?

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:

Passes per game by Fulham midfielderspringle

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.

7 thoughts on “What’s happened to Ben Pringle?

  1. I’ve tried to explain why I think he’s struggling and I think it’s Voser. Now don’t take that as dig at him, it just we have a left back who can’t use his left foot.
    I think I’ve seen Voser pass the ball down the line twice in forum games. With Pringle wide left he’s not receiving the ball from that position at all.
    He’s having to go in side more or wait for O’hara to play a high pass to him.
    So my conclusion is that he’s just not receiving the ball in the right place and that’s affecting his whole game at the moment.

    1. MJG makes a great point. If we play Ream at LB now, I’d like to see how Pringle’s performances change. He was great in pre-season!

    2. MJG’s take is mine also. Until that alters, he’s useful only for corners and the occasional cross. (Our first two goals of the season followed balls from him, peripheral though he’s been).

      If he can get up and running, there is nothing wrong in principle with having four midfielders who can actually pass a ball, but the point diminishes without a striker for them to set free. In that absence, we might be better replacing one of them (currently it would be Pringle) with a dribbler who can take players on with occasional success. Kaca is our nearest approach to that. Kit may not be the greatest but he hardly has enviable options.

  2. This is very interesting. Liverpool bought a number of players 3 seasons ago who were great with dead balls. Problem was ,with them all in the same side only one of them could take the kick.
    Pringles is suffering from full back support and the renaissance of o’hara (who has been a revelation – in part because of Christensen as his foil).
    Let’s wait to see how Pringles performs with a decent LB – which Voser isn’t given he’s right footed.
    Ream is a great signing, now we need a CB to banish Bodoruv.

  3. I said exactly this when I watched him run around in circles for 70mins against Brighton from the back of he Hammy. For me, just like the losses against Brighton and Hull, Symons is to blame. I love Kit and his enthusiasm for the club but his tactical knowledge isn’t good enough at this level. Hutchinson, bar the foul that cost us a pen against Brighton, has been our best performer this season so far (bar ohara/cairney probably). Without him at CB we would’ve never had a draw to protect against Hull on Wednesday which shows the strides he and the rest of the defence has taken, yet we still concede silly late goals that cost us points. So far three games out of four have ended in that fashion and it’s simply boils down to being the difference between mounting a play-off attempt or not. Last season one of Kit’s biggest failures was his timing of his substitutions. He would wait until sometimes 10 mins before the final whistle to make his first subs. That, one, tires out the 11 on the pitch and two, doesn’t give the sub enough time to get settled meaning he’s far more likely to have a negative effect on the game than a positive one. I also personally think the lack of game time Roberts was given last year under Symons played a big part in him deciding to leave. If your going to sit on the bench you may as well do it getting paid three times your previous salary with the potential to play at a Champions League club. This makes me ask why haven’t we seen Hyndman this season yet? He had a fantastic off season with the USMT and has made massive strides in playing ability, yet so far nothing. He would allow Cairney/LVC to push up and get more time in creative positions which they’re currently struggling to do because out of LVC, Cairney and Pringle (3 positive, creative midfielders) two are always playing out of position. A knock on effect from playing players in the right positions is that others such as Pringle will have more confidence and drive to get into decent positions going forward, and more tactical awareness going backwards, hence the reason I think he’s suffered recently (I got there in the end). At the moment we’ve got four central midfielder’s playing across the whole of midfield, four individually good defenders who struggle as a unit and a strike partnership to which supply is heavily in the favour of long balls to Smith. I love Kit but I’ve only touched the surface of the tactical blunders he’s made. I’m definitely not calling for his head but I definitely don’t think we’ll be above mid table come May either.

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