Flynn Downes - The Next Mark Noble?
(Photo by Vincent Mignott - Getty Images)

As David Moyes looks to find more strength-in-depth for West Ham, as European football will take its toll for yet another season, he will look no further than 23-year-old Flynn Downes

Downes signed for West Ham for a reported fee of £9m this summer, and off the back of his debut, in the Europa Conference League against FCSB, he looks to be good value for money. 

Downes has the talent to compete at the top level. In his short spell with Swansea City, he quickly became a fan-favourite, boasting a 92.6% pass completion rate, the highest in all top four divisions of English Football in the 2021/22 season.

Play Style

Many West Ham fans have already compared Flynn to club legend Mark Noble, who left the club this summer. 

Much like Noble, Downes' best attribute is undoubtedly his passing, as previously mentioned. He is best deployed as the anchor of the midfield, allowing transition from defensive possession to attacking intent to occur. This is seen in the way in which he was utilized for Ipswich Town and Swansea City. 

However, one area of Downes' game, which appears to be superior to Mark Noble's, is his individual defending. His track record in terms of defensive positioning is impressive.

This natural understanding of defensive positioning allows Downes to make a lot of interceptions in comparison to the average central midfielder. He averages 4.64 interceptions per 90, which is surprisingly higher than West Ham's current club captain, Declan Rice. 

Club Captain Material?

The question needs asking. However, has Downes got what it takes to be the captain of a Premier League side? Technically, that's impossible to quantify. However, he does display some traits which may be desirable in a captain. 

Many of the great Premier League captains over the years have been out and out central midfielders, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and of course, Mark Noble to name but a few. Many of the traits previously analyzed that Downes possesses somewhat mirror those of these legends.

Downes has also previously captained Ipswich Town and became their youngest ever captain, which suggests that he is undeniably captain material.

His impressive 9.59 defensive duels per game in the 2019/20 season is typical nature of a Premier League captain, through getting stuck in and igniting a spark in the other players by leading by example. 

Finally, his undoubted love for the club, growing up a West Ham fan can only make his case stronger for becoming the future captain of the club. Then again, only time will tell. 

 

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