In very recent times the one position the Scotland National Team can rely on is left backs. We’re currently going through somewhat of a purple patch in developing these players for the national team. For example, Graham Hunter stated on his ‘inside view’ podcast that Liverpool in their need for a left back were actually torn between two Scottish prospects for that need with Kieran Tierney of Celtic and Andy Robertson of Hull the two players shortlisted. Andy Robertson ended up getting his dream move which has saw a meteoric rise from Queen’s Park in Scotland’s league 2 to the Champions League with Liverpool.
Kieran Tierney is arguably the better prospect, at just 20 years old he has all the makings of an English Premier League regular full back and the sky really is the limit. We also have Rangers captain Lee Wallace who admirably guided his club through the lower leagues back to the SPFL Premiership with creative, steady performances throughout and Barry Douglas who after taking his talents to Europe has recently signed for Wolves.
The one I’d like to focus on is Greg Taylor of Kilmarnock. At just 19 years old Taylor has broken into the Kilmarnock first team and established him as a regular key player for the SPFL Premiership side playing over 3,000 minutes in the 16/17 season. Greg Taylor like Tierney and Robertson doesn’t awe you with his stature, he’s around 5 foot 9 so not exactly the Russian from Rocky, however, only two left backs in the SPFL Premiership won a higher percentage of their defensive duels than Taylor and both those players have spent some time at centre back so more naturally physically imposing than Taylor.
One other prominent area of Taylor’s defensive play is his in energy in pressing his direct opponent. Only one left back in the SPFL Premiership is involved in more defensive duels than Taylor, he loves to press tight to the winger and then force the ball free for a counter attack. Taylor takes terrific angles forcing wide players inside into a crowded midfield.
Taylor is a natural full back who likes to support his winger through overlapping runs. In 16/17 Kilmarnock tended to play with natural dribbling wingers who’s main aim was to get to the byline and cross to two physical strikers. When that fails, Taylor is tasked with crossing the ball which he does really well. He ranked 3rd amongst left backs in the SPFL Premiership in crossing %. What is most impressive with Taylor though is his ability to cut through the lines with passes to the front men building attacks and chances for Kilmarnock. After a good season, Taylor rounded it off in style scoring a cracker for Scotland against Brazil in the Toulon Tournament.
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