Alex Scott: Player Analysis by Vuyo Ndebele
Name: Alex Scott
Preferred foot: Right
With a season that spans through ten gruesome months and a total of forty-six games, the English Football League Championship is undoubtedly one of the most physically and mentally demanding competitions in all of football. Whilst a select number of clubs aim to fight it out for promotion into the Premier League, others simply try to hold their own in the second tier. The latter has been the case for Bristol City, who have now been in the league for six consecutive seasons. Situated in the south-west of England, The Robins currently sit in 17th (the same position they finished last season) after 28 games. In as much as they have struggled to compete at the top end of the table, a certain player on their books looks set to earn a move into the Premier League or at least to one of Europe’s higher divisions soon and follow in the footsteps of Adam Webster (who made the switch from Bristol to Brighton following an impressive 18/19 campaign, becoming the club’s record transfer for €22.22m) amongst others.
Born on August 21st 2003, on the small Channel Island of Guernsey, Alex Scott started his youth career at Southampton aged 8. He would go on to spend four and half years in the renowned Saints Academy. With no other choice but to make the 45 minute journey by plane every weekend, the Scott family made sure they gave their son every chance they could to pursue his dream of playing football at the professional level. “We were flying over every weekend – we had to do it. It was me and either my dad or my mum who’d have to fly over every weekend. The club paid for the hotel that we stayed in every weekend and my parents paid for the flight”, Alex recalls. When he turned 12, the youngster was unfortunately released as he wasn’t deemed good enough to take the next step in his development at the club. “It was tough on my parents, having to pay for flights each week for four years. We sacrificed so much as a family to make it work which made it really hard to take when I wasn’t offered a contract”, he added.
Following the disappointment, he moved on to Bournemouth for a year. After impressing, the club were keen and wanted him to sign a contract but still so young & fearing further rejection down the line, Alex opted to stay home and play locally as the demands of the travel were weighing on him and his family. The bold decision proved to be beneficial as he started to play regularly and most importantly enjoy his football again back home in Guernsey, which in turn brought back his confidence. At 16 and now out of school, Scott signed for Guernsey FC, becoming the youngest ever player to represent the side on August 31st 2019 against Phoenix Sports. Barely half a year after his first outing in the Isthmian League, an opportunity for Scott to go on trial at Bristol City arose as he was fortunate enough to have a good relationship with his coach at the club, Tony Vance, who happened to be friends with Bristol’s Technical Director, Brian Tinnion.
After a successful tryout in which he scored a hat-trick and trained with the first team, he signed a pre contract with the championship side. Having initially linked up with the club’s academy, Scott soon put pen to paper on his first professional contract with the club in March 2021. He made his professional debut with Bristol City as a starter in a 1-1 draw to Blackpool on August 7th 2021. In the next couple of months he continued to make steady progress in the first team, being eased into senior football by former Leicester manager, Nigel Pearson. Having missed a crucial chance earlier on in the game against Nottingham Forest, the versatile midfielder soon went on to get his first career goal for City, putting them 1-0 up on the 19th of October 2021 at the 39th minute mark, coming off in the 78th minute in a game that ended 2-1 to Nottingham Forest. An encouraging start.
Now a fully fledged member of the squad, Alex is starting to turn heads and gain the recognition his performances so duly deserve. As far as this season goes (2022-23), he has played a part in all but one game – started 27 of the 28 matches in the league, proving to be a pivotal player in an otherwise experienced squad (average age of 26.0). Part of the beauty that comes with Alex Scott is that he is a highly multifaceted player who can fit into different roles when required without looking out of place. After spending much of last season playing as a right wing back he’s been deployed in a more central position this year and his influence on games has been clear to see.
The young Englishman is a player that is just as comfortable being the deepest lying midfielder in the team as he is being the “number ten”. He’s most efficacious somewhere in the middle of those two, going from defending his own box one minute to foraging up into the opposition’s 18 yard area the next. He recently stated in an interview, “I just want to keep on playing games and I want to be involved in every game this season. I’ve played a few games as a 10 this year but I’m not really bothered about where I play as long as I’m playing. Obviously more goals and more assists. It’s down to us on the pitch to make this season a successful one for the club!”. Alex is a near-perfect player for a high-intensity and pressing team and is comfortable in different tactical setups. Rest assured no matter where you play him, the 19 year old is more than competent with the ball at his feet and will look to be progressive and break the lines with his ball carrying and passing ability.
This season he has already played several roles for Pearson’s men. Although still at an age where his best position is yet to be determined, the early signs indicate that he’s effective in every third of the pitch. As far as attributes go, Alex’s on-the-ball ability is exceptional, with his technique standing out as he is very confident in his own skill set. He often looks to entice his opposition into committing to 1v1 duels before beating his man thanks to his great balance and flair.
He currently averages 2.52 dribbles attempted per ninety, which ranks in the 91st percentile for midfielders in the Championship. As a result he typically draws 2.3 fouls each game, which could be an important asset as his team can either capitalize on the set pieces won or slow down the tempo of the games. Furthermore, such a trait illustrates his capacity to shield the ball well. The creative side of his game has also already shone at the top level, providing 4 assists so far this campaign to go with his 2 last. Moreover, with an exemplary first touch and composure, he is often entrusted to build up play from the first phase, notching up 49.6 touches and 10.9 accurate passes per game, with an 88% completion rate in his own half and slightly lower 70% in opposition territory. When the center of the park is congested, he has the spatial awareness to drift out wide and is capable of providing quality service into dangerous areas.
As shown, he leads the above metric in minutes played in 2022 amongst U21 two-way midfielders, providing further evidence of just how experienced he already is at this level. It’s not just what Scott can do with the ball at his feet that makes him special. Out of possession, he’s equally capable of affecting games as he has the tenacity and discipline to contribute defensively. In fact, an underrated part of his craft is his efficiency out of possession, having the second highest successful tackle win rate of any Bristol player, at 61.9% with an average of 1.6 per game.
When it comes to ground duels he normally comes out on top 5.4 times per ninety as he’s not one to shy away from getting stuck in. To add to those characteristics, he is also very good at anticipating the opposition’s intention to either dribble or pass into potentially dangerous areas, averaging about 1 interception in each game. Such qualities are very rare to find in players nowadays let alone so young.
Adequately proven on both sides of the ball, Alex is gradually morphing into a complete midfielder with each passing game. A couple of areas that could use some work are his shooting and aerial duels; when it comes to shooting, Scott actually has a pretty good ball- striking technique, which can be seen especially from set pieces. When afforded the space and time he likes to try shots from long range, however, he seems to lack accuracy despite hitting the ball with a pretty good amount of power. This is an area of his game that could potentially take him to the next level if sufficiently improved on. As far as heading goes, it’s mostly a matter of timing, concentration and bravery. He actually scored one for the England U19 team at the European Championship vs Italy in the semi-final moments after coming on as a substitute to level the game:
“I think a lot of people were surprised. When I was younger I actually won quite a few headers all the time. I remember a cup final where I scored three headers! It was my first touch as well! I was disappointed not to start the game but to come on and score the goal straight away, it fired everyone up!”, stated the teenage starlet when looking back at the game in an interview.
In the subsequent match, he was rewarded with a start as the annoyingly talented group would go on to defeat a very underrated Israeli team – in extra time (facing them for the second time in the tournament having beaten Oscar Gloukh and Co. in the group stage) which saw them crowned Champions. “Our squad at the EUROs was a joke, so there were always going to be top players left out. You have players like Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, ridiculous! He’s a joke! He’s got no weak foot, it doesn’t make sense. Liam Delap was not starting games! The attackers we had in that team were a joke. Dane [Scarlett], Liam and [Dan] Jebbo as our strikers! Jebbo didn’t start one game!”, emphasized Alex, making a point at the quality of the players they had at their disposal. The fact that he not only got selected for the tournament but played an instrumental role on their way to winning it all indicates how highly rated he is at international level as well.
With still much to learn and improve on, the young man nicknamed the Guernsey Grealish, has taken massive strides towards fulfilling his limitless potential in the last 12-18 months and as stated earlier could very well soon be on the move into a Premier League squad in the near future. A lot of interest has been reported on the player as he is attracting a lot of attention unsurprisingly. Bristol City owner, Steve Landsdown, recently reiterated that the club had offered him a contract extension in a bid to fend off prospective buyers or at least make sure that they get a handsome amount of money if they and when they do decide to sell him. Definitely a player to keep an eye on in the next couple of years as he continues to develop and hopefully reach the peak of his powers.