Daryl Dike: scouting report by Rickylee Griffiths
Daryl Dike is a 22-year-old American forward who is well-known to fans of both MLS and EFL Championship. He has scored 37 senior goals in 75 appearances and his recent run of three goals in four matches has led to him being selected for international duty by USA.
His professional career started in January 2020 after MLS side Orlando City drafted him. He scored eight goals for Orlando before being loaned to Barnsley a year later.
It was his move to Barnsley that paved the way for his move to current club West Bromwich Albion.
Dike scored 9 goals in 13 matches for the Tykes which convinced then Barnsley manager, Valerien Ismael to sign him when the Austrian was hired by West Brom.
Since joining West Brom in January 2022 he has only featured 23 times as hamstring and thigh problems ruling him out for most of 2022.
Luckily the World Cup break allowed him to regain his fitness and in West Brom’s first game after the break, he scored his first goal for the club. ( a header in a substitute appearance vs Sunderland).
At the time of writing, Dike has scored seven goals in 19 matches with four in his last five.
Nationality: American/ Nigerian
Date of Birth: 03/06/2000
Place of Birth: Edmond, Oklahoma (United States)
Height: 188cm (6 ft 2 in)
Youth Career: Oklahoma FC/ Virginia Cavaliers
Current Club: West Bromwich Albion
Squad Number: 12
Position: Centre forward
Preferred foot: Right
Market Value( Via Transfermarkt): £6.1 million
Contract until: 30/06/2026
Similar type of player: Romelu Lukaku
Strength – Very strong
Running Power – Very strong
Volleys – Very strong
Heading – Strong
Rolling Defenders – Strong
Layoffs – Strong
Link-Up Play – Strong
Controlling the ball with chest – Strong
Ball Carrying – Strong
Receiving In The Box – Strong
Timing Of His Jump – When a header is contested he often jumps too early and fails to make contact with the ball.
Hold-Up Play – He doesn’t look comfortable with a defender on his back when receiving a long ball which can lead to him getting bullied by more physical centre-backs.
As well as this, his first touch needs serious work if he is to become a Premier League Footballer. He is a relatively poor passer of the ball too.
He is so close to being a great outlet and most of these things will probably come with time.
Composure – He seems to get frustrated with himself if he misses chances early on in a game. This leads to him snatching at any further opportunities that may come his way in the match.
Type of shot – Dike’s decision making when shooting is odd. He often engages with the ball when it is in the air in situations when he has enough time to let it drop before shooting.
Style of Play:
At his best Dike is an incredible goal threat and a handful for defenders with his strength and willingness to run in behind. When the ball is wide, he usually looks to get between the two centre-backs and run towards the near post. He is capable of carrying the ball but relies on outmuscling opposition defenders which has been a problem against stronger opponents.
He also likes to receive the ball to feet inside the penalty area and is good at generating shots for himself.
Dike offers for the ball into his feet…
He puts his arm on the defender which gives him an idea of where the opponent is. Because of this, he knows there is space to his right…
He takes one touch to his right which puts him past the defender and into a position to shoot.
As well as this he does a good job of knowing where his teammates are when he’s in the penalty area and is capable of creating chances by laying off the ball for an oncoming midfielder. His clever touches aren’t limited to the penalty area though and when he has players close to him he links up well using clever flicks to help play around an opposition midfield.
He is a great presser and runs tirelessly in an attempt to force opposition mistakes. He usually presses defenders from the side which further highlights his intelligent approach to the game. He more often than not makes good decisions on and off the ball.
Dike presses from an angle which blocks a pass to the RCB. He also remains out of the goalkeeper’s direct line of sight.
This forces the keeper to clear the ball allowing West Brom to recover the ball.
Heatmap by Wyscout:
In general play Dike does his best work with teammates close to him. Having players near him makes it easier for him to link up with them and stops him from having to play longer passes. It also helps compensate for his poor first touch as there are more players near him to get onto the loose ball that sometimes follows it. This is part of the reason he worked so well at Barnsley, where Dike played as the centre forward in a narrow 3-4-3 formation. Barnsley were very direct in their play and relied heavily on transitions to create chances.
At West Brom Dike has been asked to play in a possession-based 4-2-3-1 formation and has improved in general play under Head Coach Carlos Corberan but it is clear he suits a more transitional style of play. He would be a good option for any lower to mid-table team looking to play a more counter-attacking brand of football. If they stay up, Everton will need a backup to Dominic Calvert Lewin and Dike could be that man. The only issue with that move would be his hold-up play which you would imagine would improve under Dyches’s management.
League Summary( as of 29th March 2023):
MLS 2020: 5 games/ 0 goals
EFL Championship 2020/21: 19 games/ 9 goals
MLS 2021: 18 games/ 10 goals
EFL Championship 2021/22: 2 games/ 0 goals
EFL Championship 2022/23: 19 games/ 7 goals
Dike is already close to being a Premier League-level striker at 22 years of age despite almost a year out through injury. He does have some glaring weaknesses holding him back currently but with proper coaching things such as his poor first touch and inconsistent back-to-goal could potentially be worked out of his game. His physical profile is incredible and his strength alone makes him valuable and when you combine that with his ability to score goals you already have a monster of a forward. It looks likely that he will be a top-flight striker in a year or two. At his peak I see him playing for a top-half club looking to challenge for a Europa League spot and it would take drastic improvement in his overall game for him to play at a level higher than that.