Patrick Burner – Player Report

The 23 year old French right back plays for Nice, who are 6th in Ligue 1. Managed by Patrick Viera and recently bought by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, Nice are a young side that are worth keeping an eye on with quite a few players I really like.

Burner has made 15 starts for Nice this season in the League, the same amount he made last season. With Youcef Atal playing higher up the pitch and subsequent injury, Burner has stepped in and impressed at right back for Nice. Burner was one of Tifo Football’s picks for Tottenham Hotspur to sign as their new right back, so Burner has been on my list to watch for a while. As well as having a cool name.

Burner’s radar is pretty much exactly as I would have expected from watching him. He makes a good amount of tackles and interceptions but also commits quite a few fouls, picking up 4 yellow cards and a red this season. Defensively he’s pretty good but can lose concentration a bit. At times he can lose his man down his wing with some simple dismarking play and allow them to run into space and get crosses away.

In 1v1s he lacks patience. He has good body position and it very on his toes, ready to lunge or dive in, but can rush this and can dive in too easily, committing fouls or getting beaten by a burst of pace. Some wingers were trying to draw him in and to then knock it past him, which makes sense if they’ve analysed him.

He doesn’t tend to press out of the back line that much though. He’s good at covering space and reading danger but could close down his man quicker and get tighter at times. He did position himself well to block crosses pretty well though.

In the air he’s not great. He’s only 5’7″ and doesn’t have the best leap or physicality to really compete in the air. Burner has a decent frame and showed good strength on the ball but wasn’t the most physical or aggressive most of the time.

Burner is a good passer of the ball. He has good technique and produces smooth passes with good weight and speed. In buildup he receives the ball well and is quick to pick up his head. He has good awareness and takes progressive touches when he can. The frenchman pushes forward into space if he’s not under pressure, and if he’s pressed he is quick to find a pass or will try to beat his man on the outside.

In the buildup phase, he looks for his winger first and a central midfielder if the winger isn’t accessible. If neither are possible he’ll go back to his centre half. Burner was also good at spotting forward runs and making passes lifted passes down the line. Nice often play a 4–4–1–1 and the graphic above shows a simple but effective move where Burner in possession and can put the 10 in behind the defence.

He’s comfortable and calm on the ball although I thought his decision making was quite slow at times and he could have kept the tempo higher.

As I said, Burner is okay physically but is still quite lightweight and lacking some aggression. He has a low centre of gravity though with above average but not burning (sorry) pace and acceleration. He was agile though with good changes of direction and speed which made he good at going round defenders when under pressure and staying with attackers.

However, he rarely entered the final third. His radar shows good defensive and passing numbers but he doesn’t create much. He is good at progressing the ball into the final third but doesn’t actually enter it himself. He doesn’t tend to support attacks and will stay back to defend counter attacks.

He rarely makes supporting runs for his winger and if he does it’s probably an underlap in the middle third to create space. This is why his xA and crossing numbers are so low. Although he’s effective in the early phases of possession he isn’t part of the attacking phase, especially for a modern full back.

Conclusion

Burner is decent player and is playing at the right level with Nice probably. If another top five league midtable team who want to play possession football and need a cheap option at right back then he could be a good option. He’s good in buildup and a solid technical player, a decent athlete and a decent defender but could improve in areas.

He’s a good all round player who could be a good option for some teams. But, for Nice he doesn’t get forward enough. This is tactical and I’d like to see him in a team that allows him to get forward more and see what he can do in the final third. He is 23 and he’s a solid player who I quite like, it will be interesting to see where his career goes from here but right now he’s at a good place with Nice.

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