Celtic defender Shane Duffy bizarrely named in Premiership team of the month

By Euan Davidson

February 2, 2021

Celtic defender Shane Duffy has been named in a Team of the Month.

No, your eyes don’t deceive you. Again: Celtic defender Shane Duffy has been named in a Team of the Month. By WhoScored? and Sky Sports, no less.

I know. Believe me, I know. I love WhoScored?, they’re an amazing resource for both live stats and comparisons. When Celtic are linked with anyone, I go over to their website to get an idea of how a footballer plays the game, and what they might bring to the club.

In that sense, it’s a great tool for scouting. It’s also useful when you’re sure a player has been good, but your pals are telling you that you’re an idiot, as is sometimes the case.

However, this is news that has baffled everyone.

Booked for simply being too good / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic defender Shane Duffy: officially good

Now, let’s get one thing clear, here.

Stats don’t tell the whole story. They’re useful, but there’s nothing like the eye test to see how good a player is. That’s why manager don’t just sign players blindly, or rely solely on the stats. If you’ve ever watched Moneyball [IMDB], you’ll know it’s more than just playing the numbers.

But anyone who has watched Celtic over the last while would argue that Shane Duffy hasn’t even been the best centre back at the club, let alone in the league.

Quoth Sky Sports:

“The only Celtic player to feature in the best XI is centre-back Shane Duffy. The 29-year-old has endured a mixed first season in Scotland, but was solid at the back for Neil Lennon’s side in January, ranking third for clearances (31) and first for aerial duels won (45) last month, contributing to his inclusion at the heart of the defence with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.38.”

Quite liberal use of the word “mixed” there. We want the best for Shane Duffy, honestly we do. But for clearances, read: “hopeless long-balls to nobody”. He may have won his aerial duels, but he still can’t help Celtic defend set-pieces.

Ultimately, the stats don’t mean anything in context. I might write 10 articles today, and if 10% don’t receive angry feedback, I’m not claiming to be one of the best writers in Scotland.

Fine, that’s not a perfect example. Look, the point is that as admired as WhoScored? are, especially by yours truly, it’s not just a bit of a reach to suggest that Duffy is one the league’s premier defenders on current form. It’s a reach of NBA proportions.