Sebastian Szymański — scout report 21/22

I’m a great fan of Polish domestic football and of the products they have produced of the two decades. It’s great to see recognition of the footballer in the top 5 leagues in Europe for example, but there are so many great footballers just below that level. Obviously, I pay special attention to the Eredivisie and that’s why this article is all about Sebastian Szymański who has been signed by Feyenoord.

Feyenoord has done well to sign him from Dinamo Moscow on loan with an option to buy. He will play the 2022/2023 season with Feyenoord in the Eredivisie and the attacking midfielder will be one of the most exciting signings in the Eredivisie.

In this article, we will use data and video from the 2021/2022 season to illustrate how good he is and how he can use that in the Eredivisie. The data is collected via Wyscout and Opta. The video comes from InStat.

Contents

  1. Biography
  2. Seasonal stats
  3. Ball progression
  4. Dribbling
  5. Key passing
  6. Goalcontributions
  7. Final thoughts

Biography

  • Name: Sebastian Szymański
  • Date of birth: 10–05–1999
  • Nationality: Polish
  • Position: Attacking midfielder
  • Contract expires: 30–6–2026, on loan with Feyenoord until 30–06–2023
  • Current club: Feyenoord (L)
  • Previous clubs: Legia Warschau, Dinamo Moscow
  • International: Poland (15 games)

The 23-year-old midfielder is 1,74 meters long, which isn’t very tall. He doesn’t have the physical profile to go into duels and win them, but he is quite mobile,agile, and fast — which helps him get into better situations in defence.

He is great at receiving the ball and move with the ball into more progressive areas. By doing so he allows himself and his teammates to be more attacking-minded, and in extensions of that — to be more of a threat. His passing is secure and breaks lines, which we can see in his key passing.

In defence he is quite aggressive as that is his way of regaining control of the ball, but that’s also one of his flaws — as other way are quite difficult for him to master. In ground duels and in aerial duels he isn’t great and part of it is that his height doesn’t help. Nor does his timing.

As a central midfielder with strong attacking tendencies, he also can play in an attacking midfielder role — where he is used more, but also on the right wing in attack. He’s quite versatile in his roles, but what connects him with all these things is his strength in attacking actions.

Seasonal stats

We will go into details for the specific stats later for the absolute data, but in this part, we will look at how well he is doing in certain metrics and what that tells us about his playing style.

He is not someone who crosses a lot. While he does get in the position to cross, he likes to keep the ball low. He scores in the top 25% of every other metrics and bar the xA per 90, shots on target % and xG per 90 — he scores in 84th percentile and higher. In terms of data, he does exceedingly well in the Eredivisie at his position, compared to his peers.

This doesn’t signify performances, but talks mostly about the style of Szymanski. That’s why most of the times there isn’t taken an accuracy metric, but an attempted metric.

In the attacking metrics we see that he scores above the 80th percentile for Goals scored (83rd percentile), for progressive runs (81st percentile) and even above the 90th percentile with dribbles (92nd percentile),

in the defensive metrics he scores quite poor, except for possession-adjusted sliding tackles (71st percentile) and defensive duels won % (77th percentile. In the other metrics he scores below average.

When we go to the key passing metrics, he does very well. Passes to final third (62nd) and progressive passes (59th) are not that exciting, but the rest is exceptionally high. Especially xA (98th percentile), key passes (98th percentile) and passes to box (92nd percentile).

Ball progression

As a central midfielder it’s of great importance that you are not only comfortable with the ball at your feet, but also progress play from the different thirds.

In the scatterplot above you can see the progressive metrics of progressive passes per 90 and progressive runs per 90. Szymanski does really well here as he scores above average in the progressive passes metric, and above the progressive runs metric. There are only a few players better in progressing the ball.

Szymanski has 6,71 progressive passes per 90 and 1,78 progressive runs per 90 in the 21/22 Russian Premier League. This is an indication of him doing well in relation to his peers.

Dribbling

Szymanski is excellent at dribbling as we have seen in the stylistic pizza plot above, but how does he do that? What makes him so good at dribbling? You can see that in the GIFs below.

In this GIF you see how he receives the ball in the middle third and three players challenge him and try to get him off the ball. In the end he moves from the central areas into the left half-space and delivers a through ball to one of the strikers.

Similar kind of dribble here, where he will within the middle third with open space and look for the runners behind the defensive line. Yes, his through passes can have a higher accuracy, but the intention is always there.

As stated above, Szymanski can also play on the right wing and this illustrates why he also can be a threat on the wing in the 1v1. He can easily beat an opponent on the right flanks, progress and spot a teammate in the box.

Key passing

Every player makes passes in a game, but which passes actively contribute to the progression and construction of an attack? You can see some of these metrics in the beeswarmplot below.

As you can see in the graph above, Szymanski scores quite high above average in almost every metric, only passes to final third are slightly more to the average.

What’s interesting is how he makes key passes. He scores in the high average, but the intent of his through passes does tell a lot about how he can help in an attack.

Goalcontributions

Szymanski does sometimes come in the position to shoot, but how does he do in the quality of shooting?

In the shot map above you can see from where Szymanski has conducted his shots in the 2021/2022 Russian Premier League season. He had 41 shots of which 6 went in goal. He generated a total xG of 3,33 — the latter meaning that he is overperforming with +2,67.

Apart from shooting in the box, he loves to shoot from outside the penalty area as most of his shots come from there. Not very successful, but he loves to take a shot from the central areas.

Not only did he score 6 times, but he also provided 8 assists during the season.

Final thoughts

Szymanski is an exceptionally exciting central midfielder. While he might seem light and not great at the defensive side of the game, he does add so much in attacking. His passing contribution, the goalcontributions and his dribbling — these qualities will help Feyenoord a lot in this Eredivisie season.

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