Recently we did a piece on Ianis Hagi’s stuttering start to the season, and how a lot of it is down to his being played as a winger, out of position from his normal 10 slot behind the striker(s).
On Friday night Ianis Hagi started v Northern Ireland in his favoured 10 position, as we suggested he would.
Unfortunately, after 55 minutes it was evident his confidence has taken a big hit from his poor form domestically and the stats for his night rather summed it up.
His passing was barely adequate at 78%, but he did get in two key passes during his half and a bit stint on the pitch.
Unfortunately that’s where the good stuff ends.
No shots, just one dribble, and sadly the new stats which are summarising his rather poor present state:
Dispossessions and ball losses: 3 and 4 respectively.
He had a reasonable amount of the ball with 48 touches, but unfortunately overall he wasn’t terribly effective, and Mirel Rădoi hooked him off on 55 minutes.
We are by no means turning on this player – we support him hugely and know he’s got a tonne more to give. We saw what he’s all about earlier this year.
But this season has not started well for him, and while one or two matches have seen marginally improved displays overall, generally he’s out of form – almost certainly this has been influenced in part by playing out of position.
The confidence is not high, and his touch is rather poor.
He’s better than what we’re seeing, but it requires his confidence back, and him to be extensively played in the 10 position and not wide right.
But with Joe Aribo coming back, Hagi may in fact end up benched because we envisage Kemar Roofe taking the RW slot and the Nigerian international getting in the middle.
Hopefully this bright young player can get over this sticky spell and push Aribo for that 10 slot.
Hopefully he gives Steven Gerrard a decision to make.