In Salford’s second to last home game of the league season they delivered, scoring twice inside 30 minutes to win 2-0 against relegation battling Hartlepool United. Salford had the most dangerous chances and most of the play in the first half. The second half became a little more even, but Salford did enough to put behind them, their previous 2 loses at home to keep their playoff chances alive.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Scottish
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 11/03/2000
- Club: Salford City
- Career: Blackburn Rovers (Y), Liverpool FC (Y), Preston North End (Y), Wolverhampton Wanderers (Y), Carlisle United, Bradford.
- Position: Central Midfielder
- Other Position: Defensive Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Elliot Watt played in the midfield 2 of Salfords 4231 formation, in a deeper role where he set the tempo and dictated the play. Comfortably the most technical player on the pitch, he would progress with short and sharp passes, often playing off one touch to keep the tempo up. He really shone when playing line breaking passes, showing his vision in spotting gaps and runners as well as being able to switch the ball.
The former Scotland under 21 midfielder was constantly scanning, not only when looking to find teammates, but to get into areas he could cut off passes to attackers. He screened well, on a few occasions he managed to cut off the passing lanes before moving to intercept, to stop attacks and start counters.
Sometimes Watt was structurally slightly too high, although Salford tactically pushed their 2 holding midfielders forward when going direct, to win the second ball. So, this could be put down to the tactical make up of his team. But often when he was caught out, he would move towards the ball and forget the man behind, leaving space that could be exploited.
Physically he wasn’t the quickest, and when pressing the ball if he was caught out of position, he was a little too keen to go to ground when tackling. The physical side of his game was probably his weakest, at only 1.75m according to Transfermarkt he struggled with any sort of duel in the air and looked a little slow on the turn when mirroring attackers, although did show he could shield the ball when under pressure.
Watt had great confidence in his ability, he was one of the few players that could still play under pressure, even in his own box where many would choose to clear the ball, he had the composure to keep possession.
I really enjoyed seeing how active he was in finding space, although not the quickest he had the short burst of acceleration to move away from his marker. Using his great scanning ability to spot the space, sometimes taking his marker with him to create a passing lane for his teammates, and looked sharp in anticipating areas where the ball would drop.
Rating – A1
Watt’s definitely had the technical and psychological skills that more than made up for his physical weaknesses and could definitely play at a higher level. His line breaking passes and scanning ability a particular highlight. If he continues to work on his defensive discipline he could be a real asset as a deeper play-maker for many teams.
- Nationality: English
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 21/06/2003
- Club: Salford City (On loan from Aston Villa)
- Career: West Brom (Y) Barcelona (Y) Aston Villa u23, Ipswich (Loan) Swindon Town (Loan) Mk Dons (Loan)
- Position: Attacking Left Winger
- Other Position: Right winger, Striker
- Preferred foot: Right
Louie Barry started wide on the left for Salford and showed potential in 1v1 situations when cutting inside, doing exactly that for Salford’s second goal where he showed close ball control and agility followed by a short back lift to complete a tidy finish.
Barry looked particularly strong off the ball, sometimes shuffling deep, bringing the fullback with him before exploiting the space in behind. Physically he had great acceleration and would use that to attack space, especially at the back post from crosses from the right-hand side, and when looking for knock downs from striker Matt Smith.
Physically there were a few issues, at only 1.74m according to Transfermarkt he struggled in the air, and with only a slight frame at times did look weaker on the ball compared to others. He wasn’t as keen to use that acceleration to track back as quickly as he was to get forward either. Although his agility made it very difficult for defenders to mirror and when he kept control of the ball he would beat defenders comfortably.
Despite showing that he could beat a man 1v1, there were times when dribbling he would lose control slightly, stopping the momentum of a move or the touch past a defender would be to heavy and he would lose possession. He did have the vision to spot runners or passes inside, but the execution was often off in a fairly average display of distribution partly down to a lack of concentration.
Barry also found himself receiving with his back to goal when he did move deeper for the ball, before giving an easy lay off. If he could position to receive on the turn instead, he could cause plenty of issues for defenders.
Rating – B1
Louie Barry showed at times he had good quality, looked dangerous when attacking space, in 1v1’s and gave a glimpse of what he can offer with his goal. Although there were a lot of inconsistencies. Physically he needs to learn to protect the ball better, if can brush up on his concentration when passing, and consistently keep the ball closer and get himself into more 1v1 situations he could be a dangerous profile from the left hand side.