Why Jacob Butterfield Could Be Key For Derby Next Season
Although he has flattered to deceive once or twice in his career, Jacob Butterfield still retains the ability to be one of the best players in the Championship and Gary Rowett will be banking on that possibility.
The transfer fee received by Huddersfield Town for him was a healthy one and that has allowed the Terriers to bring in several other players. However, for their part, Butterfield’s move to Derby has not been a raving success.
Last season in particular, the man from Bradford was underwhelming, scoring just once in 40 league appearances. It’s always been said that Butterfield should be getting 10+ goals in a season, something he hasn’t managed to this point, but you can’t help feeling he can burst into life at some point.
Butterfield’s pass completion rate of 84% last season was pretty good and marks him out as one of the more capable passers at the club. The fact that those passes led to 0.9 key passes per game means he is perhaps unlucky to have not registered more than 2 assists in the Championship; a fact I’m sure is not lost on Rowett.
Passing the ball an average of over 50 times per game means Butterfield keeps the game moving whenever he gets the ball – something which fits in with Derby’s ethics and can contribute towards a free-flowing, attacking side for next season’s promotion tilt.
Butterfield’s average figure of giving the ball away 0.8 times per game in the final third versus his pass completion rate (84%) and 1.1 successful take-ons per game show that he is not a player who loses possession easily.
The game is not all about numbers of course, but those stats present a fact – having Butterfield in the team means Derby will have the ball more often. That is not something you can take lightly and I’m certain that under the right manager, the former Huddersfield midfielder can hit the heights.
Butterfield has just flirted with the very top level; part of Norwich City’s squad when they were in the Premier League without playing a game and also part of the England under-21 squad for the 2013 UEFA Under-21 Championships again without playing a game.
He is very definitely a top 6 Championship performer though and Derby cannot pass up on that quality. The addition of Wisdom and Davies is a good start and I still see them as genuine title contenders this term.