Friday, 6 January 2012

Clint Dempsey - Fulham's Underrated Playmaker?

Clint Dempsey has silently been doing a fantastic job at Fulham for the past 6 years. The experienced US international who has 82 caps to his name, has been one of the most underrated Premier League stars of the last five years.

However, things are gradually changing for Fulham’s prized American.
His form this season has been picked up by well reached national pundits and mainstream media too.

However, perhaps it’s about time. After all, last season, he scored 14 goals in all competitions and managed 13 goals in the Premier League. Indeed, this is a very impressive feat. Many top clubs in the Premier League would love to see their attacking midfielder to grab that many goals in a single season. The reality is, many attacking midfielders in the Premier League struggle to reach 10 goals in all competitions. But because Dempsey and Fulham often find themselves in mid-table obscurity, his form is often overlooked.

But Clint Dempsey is a glamorous player, who most Fulham fans swoon to watch every weekend.
The admiration from Fulham fans over Dempsey has risen dramatically due to his blistering start to the season.

Dempsey has already bagged 9 goals in all competitions this season, while 6 of those goals have come in the Premier League.

This is fantastic form. Especially considering how slowly Fulham have started the season. But there are significant reasons as to why Dempsey is such a highly productive and efficient footballer.

Firstly, Clint Dempsey is an incredibly intelligent player. Dempsey has the ability, confidence and competency to play in-between the oppositions midfield and attacking lines. Not only this, he can play in small, confined spaces too, thus being able to create something out of nothing.

Throughout Dempsey’s time at Fulham he has proven his competence to play across the attacking line. During his first few years at the club he spent most of his time playing left midfield and occasionally started a few games on the right and in the centre, behind the striker.

This versatility has made him an indispensable asset for Fulham. However, it also shows his great team ethic. Dempsey, a very talented creative player could throw his toys out of the pram and demand to play in a certain position. But this is not Dempsey’s way of dealing with things. Instead, he looks to make an impact in the position assigned to him.

This work ethic and teamwork is often a forgotten part of Clint Dempsey’s game. He is a player who not only sets an example to his fellow players, he also links different players to Fulham’s attack, thus giving his side an extra dimension.

Perhaps evidence of Dempsey’s success of being a versatile attacker are proven when one looks at his finishing and consistency.

The stats will tell you, Dempsey is a consistent finisher. He is a player who has a nose for goal and can be trusted to get goals for his side. Each season, Dempsey averages around 6 goals per season. While as stated before, Dempsey has already reached 6 Premier League goals this season.

A key feature of Dempsey’s game is that he can score a variety of different goals. Over the past few seasons and even in this current season, Dempsey has shown he can score tap ins, volleys, placed shots and the list goes on.

Another sign of Dempsey’s goal scoring prowess and the degree of consistency which comes with it is that the American international can score in the smallest of games and he has proven he can score in the of biggest of games too. For example this season he scored against both Liverpool and Chelsea, while also scoring against the likes of Wigan. This shows the reliability of Dempsey and it justifies why he is a key member of this Fulham side.

Dempsey’s movement on and off the ball is a crucial reason as to why he is such a threating player. Clint Dempsey, a quick witted, accurate footballer who reads the game beautifully. Many footballers who struggle in the Premier League often fail to cope with the smart, quick movement which is demanded in the league. But Dempsey is in his element in the Premier League. His movement allows him to score goals and create chances too.

Dempsey’s creativity is often understated. Already this season he has assisted 4 times, making him Fulham’s top assistor. Not only this, he has created 28 chances for Fulham – which is the second highest at Fulham this season. Fulham thrive from Dempsey’s productivity, Dempsey is very close to the complete attacking package.

Martin Jol deserves some praise for Clint Dempsey’s fine form this season. Martin Jol moved Dempsey into a more freer role, meaning he can come off the left hand-side and dictate more in the centre. This has led to Dempsey scoring at a higher rate and creating far more chances as the stats prove.

Clint Dempsey Fulham stats

2010/11 season

2011/12 season

Games Started



Sub Appearances



Total Passes



Pass Completion



Successful Dribbles



Crossing Accuracy



Chances Created









Total Shots



Mins per Shot



Statistics from EPL Index. (Stats taken on 06/01/12)

What’s surprising about the statistics is within half a season, Dempsey has nearly created more chances than he created in the whole of last season. This is made even more transparent by the fact Dempsey has assisted more times this season than he did last season. Another development in Dempsey’s game this season is that his passing accuracy has risen in a rather subsational fashion. Last season his pass accuracy was 73.84%. While this season it has risen to an impressive 81.39%. Dempsey’s game has become more tidy, more intelligent and it is recognisable on the pitch.

Dempsey’s fine form has left many touting him to join a bigger club in the future. Indeed, this hypothesis is entirely logical. Firstly, Dempsey is 28, one could argue he is at the peak of his career. Secondly, Clint Dempsey is in the physical shape of his life. This season he has played 19 Premier League games. While last season he appeared in 37 out of the 38 league games.
But more crucially, Dempsey’s productivity along with his versatility makes him an asset worth having from the perspectives of the bigger clubs. Furthermore, he has also proved he can create and finish in the Premier League. This gives him a better chance of being technically competent enough to succeed at the highest level in club football.

The likes of Liverpool and perhaps even Man United would be very interested in the talents of Dempsey. For example Liverpool currently crave another creative attacking midfielder who has an eye for a pass and can finish off chances. Not only this, one could argue Dempsey would fit perfectly with Liverpool’s goal to spread their commercial brand. As Dempsey is a hugely respected and loved character in USA.

But regardless of this, Clint Dempsey’s form coming into January puts him very much on the shop window. It of course remains to be seen if Fulham are willing to sell their prized asset. However, if Fulham do sell. They can expect a hefty sum for him. The player is in the form of his life and possesses all the talents what make a footballer special. He is creative, dynamic and consistent.

But one things for sure, Clint Dempsey’s is interesting a number of clubs.

Statistics from EPL Index. (Stats taken on 06/01/12)

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