Leeds United look set to continue a summer rebuild of their under 23’s side ahead of their first season in the Premier League 2 after becoming a category one academy. With a number of last season’s players set for loans away during this transfer window, there will be gaps that need filling. One player that is set to join Leeds according to reliable reports is Fulham and England youth player Cody Drameh. The 18 year old who has been ever present for Fulham’s under 23 side last season, has been tracked by both Manchester City and Liverpool, highlighting how much potential the young right back has.
In all competitions last season, Drameh played 25 times, scoring 1 goal and making 7 assists for Fulham’s under 23’s and under 18’s according to transfermarkt. He is yet to make a first team appearance for Fulham but has played in the Checkatrade EFL Trophy on 5 occasions against both League One and League Two opposition. Wyscout do have stats from 4 games but given the small sample size, I thought it would be better to leave out the section on stats.
Drameh is predominately a right back or wing back but but given his defensive qualities, has also played at centre back as well as left back. It is only data from four games via Wyscout but as you can see from his heat map, he covers the right hand side of the pitch well, both defensively and attacking.
The eye test
Straight away the first thing that stood out was how composed and strong defensively Drameh is. His ability to read the game and be in the right defensive position is very good. Combine this with his athleticism and determination, he is very hard to beat him in 1v1 situations. For example, take this situation against Manchester United under 23’s. He tracks his runner, forces him onto his left foot which helps narrows the angle and therefore making it harder to score. In the end he manages to stay with him and get a good last ditch block in and the ball runs out for a throw in.
He shows great patience when defending, waiting for the right moment to make a challenge. He recognises that he can’t always win the ball and is happy to jockey the opposition away from the danger area. Young players can often be rash in challenging for the ball due to being overeager to win it back, whereas Cody is the opposite. Having played in the Checkatrade, he came up against League One side Wycombe, who have just been promoted to the Championship. Despite them not playing a full strength side, they still had a number of first team players on show. Drameh didn’t looked fazed and had the better of his direct opponent. Even when their attacker initially turned Cody with a good bit of skill after getting too tight, he had the recovery speed to get back and make a challenge.
In possession he is calm and capable on the ball. He tends to make shorter, less riskier passes rather than long, line breaking passes. He prefers to carry the ball out of defence and progress it up the pitch via running and dribbling before playing a simple pass to his team mate. He is comfortable when pressed as the example below shows, dropping his shoulder and accelerating away from the Stevenage winger.
Drameh has gone on record to say that he admire and bases his game of current Manchester United right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the similarities are there to be seen. Strong defensively with improvement needed in attacking areas, which brings me onto area for improvement.
Areas for improvement
Despite providing 7 assists in all competitions, which for a right back is good numbers, his attacking side of his game needs work. He is very inconsient in terms of final ball, whether that be cross or a through pass. He can also be predicable in attacking situations, often trying to beat his man on the outside rather than mixing his game up. Due to his speed and running power, he often finds himself in attacking positions but can be wasteful, below in red is where in last season’s game against MK Dons he put a cross. Given the time and space he had, the blue arrow is where you would have expected him to play the ball, right into the corridor of uncertainty.
In the same game he showed his engine running away from the MK Dons defence before firing the ball low to the near post, with keeper making a relatively easy save. This was late on in the game so showed he has good cardio fitness levels to keep going.
The fact that he did manage 8 goal contributions in 25 games last season highlight that he has the capabilities in attacking situation to make a difference in the final third, just about fine tuning those skills and doing them on a more consistent basis.
With current right back options at the club in regards to the under 23’s being Bryce Hosannah and Robbie Gotts, both of which you’d expect to leave the club on loan the summer, given their ages and need for first team football. This leaves a hole that needs to be filled and Cody Drameh, at a reported £300,000 rising to £1 million looks like a player capable of doing so. I’m excited to see his attacking side develop at Leeds under Bielsa, which if he can do, given his strong defensive qualities, we may have a right back on our books pushing Luke Ayling in a season or two.
Written by Thomas Wilson