Carlton Morris: A player worthy of a record transfer fee
We signed Carlton Morris for a record fee according to Nathan Jones, rumours from Mike McGrath from the Daily Telegraph puts this fee at around £2 million. Although it’s unclear how the deal is structured, we all are aware of high tightly the purse strings are held in the boardroom at Kenilworth Road. Most likely the fee has been amortised across the length of the contract, meaning for a three year contract there will be three payments of £666k made to Barnsley, alternatively it could be an upfront fee with performance and sell on bonuses. Enough accounting assumptions though. I’m here to talk about Carlton Morris stats and why he will kick on to new heights in the second half of the season.
The data This season Carlton Morris has scored 8 goals and provided 3 assists in the Championship, having played 21 games, starting 18. This is enough to put him joint 2nd (with 3 other players) in the Championship for goals scored behind 8 players who have found the net 9 times. Interestingly, Morris is joint 1st for goal involvements, with 11 total from an expected goals + expected assist (xG+xA) of 8.2. He is ahead of Jerry Yates (xG+xA 7.8), Josh Sargent (7.8) and Ilman Ndiaye (7.6). Although these may seem like arbitrary numbers, this isn’t the case. It shows that Carlton is doing what is required of a striker creating scoring opportunities and having shots when he gets a chance. Although Luton Town have been slightly toothless in front of goal this season, which I go into depth in my half season review – give it a read), Carlton has demonstrated a 0.48 goals per 90 minutes played, Meaning he is averaging a goal every other game. He is outperforming his xG per 90 minutes played, whereby the positions he finds himself in, he would be expected to be scoring 0.32 goals per 90. But Carlton has been very clinical (apart from the last stretch of games before the winter break). Encouragingly Morris’ goal + assist haul this season eclipses his best output throughout his career, with Hamilton Academicals in the Scottish Premier League where he scored 8 with 2 assists, and in the Championship last season with 7 scored and 3 assists in a struggling Barnsley side.
From this above graph, we can see a lot of dark green, which is what you want to see from an elite striker in the Championship. This is certainly very encouraging, considering the small sample size of 21 games played so far. Most notably, Morris is nearing the 100th percentile in offensive duels per 90. It’s great to see that he loves getting stuck in and he is certainly a handful for defenders, with his big frame, but he is 40th percentile for offensive duels won, so certainly room for improvement. He is over the 90th percentile in crosses per 90 minutes, which is ideal when playing with a strike partner, his percentile rank may be inflated due to the lack of 2 man strike partnerships in the division as Morris has only crossed 5 times accurately, which is 16% of his attempted crosses. Morris also ranks in the 85th percentile for shots per 90 minutes, he is currently getting 50% of his shots on target, with 20 so far this season. An area where Morris is lacking is smart passes, 20th percentile, although this may result from him often being the furthest forward when attacking, therefore not being able to find a teammate with a defence splitting ball. This is further highlighted by Morris being 90th percentile for touches in the opposition box. Conclusion There is certainly more to come from Morris in the second half of the season. As I mentioned in the article “3 players that could thrive under Rob Edwards” it’s highly likely that we will see Morris and Adebayo playing up top as a unit, closer to each other, feeding off each others knock downs. We have been quite goal shy, and it’s unfair to burden Morris with carrying us although he is relishing the challenge so far. Moving forward in the second half of the season Morris should be hoping to hit 20 goals, and it is certainly within reach if he keeps going.