Can Jack Diamond offer a much needed shine for Sunderland this season?
Jack Diamond celebrates following his playoff final goal at Wembley. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Based on him doing what no other Sunderland player has done for decades - scoring in a win at Wembley - left winger Jack Diamond looks a fine option.

But do statistics show that Diamond - fresh from his goal in loan club Harrogate Town's victory in the National League play-off final - is cut out for a place in Sunderland's first team next season?

By using data from WyScout to compare the 21-year-old's performances for Harrogate with the wingers used by the Black Cats last season, we find out if Diamond could prove a reliable option for Phil Parkinson in 2020-21.

Diamond was a prominent part of the Harrogate side who won promotion to League Two and made the left wing spot in Town manager Simon Weaver’s 4-4-2 his own. Much like Aiden McGeady, he made his mark cutting inside onto his stronger right foot.

And although his goalscoring return in 2019-20 was just four - one less than McGeady, who spent the first half of the season at the Stadium of Light before moving to Charlton Athletic on loan in the January transfer window, Diamond produced four assists compared to McGeady’s one.

The Academy of Light graduate will be looking to earn his place on either side of a main striker in the 3-4-3 system which has proved to be Parkinson’s go-to, and the statistics also show he could offer something Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire were unable to do last season in the form of driving attacking runs.

Diamond recorded more successful dribbles and progressive runs per 90 minutes last season than McGeady, Gooch and Maguire.

 

Player Successful dribbles per 90 Progressive runs per 90
Jack Diamond 10.03 2.85
Aiden McGeady 7.31 1.55
Lynden Gooch 6.95 1.77
Chris Maguire 4.42 1.06

 

As well as his quick feet and balance, Diamond also tested National League defences last season with his distribution. Out of McGeady, Gooch and Maguire, only the latter - with 4.39 - completed more accurate crosses per game than the Gateshead-born youngster's 4.25.

 

Player Accurate crosses per 90
Jack Diamond 4.25
Aiden McGeady 3.87
Lynden Gooch 2.83
Chris Maguire 4.39

 

However, if Diamond is lacking sharpness anywhere, it is in the opposition penalty area, where he recorded fewer touches per game than McGeady and Gooch.

And despite his impressive crossing stats, Diamond also has ground to make up in terms of general creativity, having recorded 0.88 shot assists per game - behind McGeady and well short of Maguire's average of 2.15 per 90 minutes.

Player Touches in opposition penalty area per 90 Shot assists per 90
Jack Diamond 2.32 0.88
Aiden McGeady 2.52 1.13
Lynden Gooch 3.3 0.68
Chris Maguire 2.31 2.15

 

Another challenge to Diamond's first-team progression at Sunderland may be that 3-4-3 formation.

At Harrogate, he played in front of a traditional full-back, but may have to contest the left-sided role on Wearside with Denver Hume next season.

So the verdict? Sunderland are in need of extra threat from wide areas and Diamond could offer some attacking magic on that left wing. 

But if Diamond is to impress, he may need to polish up and adapt some areas of his game.

 

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