Over the last two seasons, Jack Byrne had a massive impact on Shamrock Rovers and the League of Ireland as a whole. With his move to Cyprus, we looked at our 2020 performance data output to see whether there are any players who could potentially have a similar impact this coming 2021 season.

Waterford FC’s Ali Coote had a pretty good first season in the League of Ireland. A signing from Brentford B who went on to have a great impact in the RSC last season, Coote was picked up by Bohs for the 2021 season.

An interesting point to keep in mind would be whether Coote would, in fact, start in a central attacking role at Bohs or whether he would be seen as an attacking outlet from either side of the pitch.

Comparing both players’ performance outputs across defensive, possession and attacking metrics, we came across some interesting insights that may point to Coote’s potential impact in the 2021 season.

Both players played a similar number of mins (Byrne – 1416 & Coote – 1473)

Defensive Output

Without this being a criticism of Jack Byrne, Ali Coote can offer a little more to his side in a defensive sense. Coote was used in an orthodox central midfield role on more occasions than Byrne (simply due to the needs of the team at the time) and as a result, his defensive performance output was superior to Byrne’s. An interesting point to note is that Coote’s defensive output is superior when compared to the AM/CM average across most metrics here. His ability in a more withdrawn CM role was a key factor in his superior defensive data output.

Byrne v Coote – defensive data output

Possession Output

With Rovers’ style of play and Byrne’s influence on this, he was always going to stand out here. His possession output stands out from all LOI Premier Division players, with only fellow teammates beating him in the odd possession metric here & there.

Byrne was well above the position average across most possession metrics, but Coote’s output was also impressive across the same metrics. Waterford FC’s changes of style under different managers were a factor, along with Coote’s flexibility in featuring on either wing when required. Despite this, he bettered Byrne in pass completion percentages & possession events in the opponent’s penalty box. Coote also stood out from the position average across most of these catch-all metrics, influencing his own side through his own quality on the ball.

Byrne v Coote – possession data output

Attacking Output

Across our highlighted metrics, Coote certainly held his own with Byrne in some aspects. Considering Waterford FC’s approach, compared with that of Rovers’ approach, it would be difficult for Coote to end the season with anything like Byrne’s attacking performance output. Both players’ data outputs also stood out from similar players across the league.

Byrne v Coote – attacking data output

At 22 years of age and with European football to look forward to in 2021, this could be a season for Coote to kick on & build on his 2020 performances at Waterford FC. As our data suggests, his 2020 output was not a long way off the standard-bearing Jack Byrne. If Bohs were to use the player in a more central role this season, Coote could surprise a few LOI fans and become one of the outstanding attacking outlets in the LOI over the coming seasons. A big loss for Waterford FC and a potentially outstanding opportunity for Bohs. 

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