Celtic midfielder David Turnbull is better than Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho in a particular stat.
It’s a doozy, too. Turnbull is ahead of both England internationals for key passes this season. Key passes, for those who aren’t into stats, are [Stats Perform]:
“The final pass or pass-cum-shot leading to the recipient of the ball having an attempt at goal without scoring.”
Players with high averages for key passes tend to be midfield or attacking players, who are thoroughly involved in build-up play. That’s as clear a definition for Turnbull as it gets. Since getting regular game time for Celtic, the ex-Motherwell man has been colossal. Especially in attacking play, where he regularly moves the ball on to the scorer, or takes a shot himself.
To be in such illustrious company is a good thing, of course. Names on the list also include Nikola Vlasić of CSKA Moscow and Hungarian sensation Dominik Szoboszlai.
Most Key Passes, U23s in Europe:
🏴 David Turnbull – 76 key passes
🏴 Mount – 62
🇭🇷 N. Vlasić – 53
🏴 Sancho – 52
🇫🇷 R. Faivre – 52
🇵🇹 Pedro Neto – 50
🇳🇱 J. Veerman – 46
🇭🇺 Szoboszlai – 46
🇮🇹 F. Dimarco – 44
🇧🇪 J. Bataille – 44
🇫🇷 Nkunku – 43
🇳🇱 Stengs – 43
🏴 Lookman – 41
— Football Wonderkids (@fbwonderkids) February 22, 2021
Celtic midfielder in elite company with Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho
If you’re cynical about the list, which includes England internationals Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho, fair enough. Obviously, Turnbull hasn’t even had a full season, yet he’s top of a list? It seems unlikely.
However, his per 90 stats would back up the claim. Turnbull is making 2.7 key passes per 90 [WhoScored?].
Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho? 2 and 2.2 respectively.
Totted up, that 0.5 makes a fair difference over a season. It’s remarkable to think Turnbull was only really introduced in December, with Celtic struggling. If he had been introduced from the summer, he’d probably have hit well over 100 key passes by this point.
Surely, Turnbull must be due a Scotland starting berth. Even in a crowded midfield with stars like John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Billy Gilmour, Scott McTominay and Ryan Christie, his form cannot be ignored.
From a Celtic perspective, the Wishaw-born playmaker could be the club’s main weapon for years to come.