A few have sometimes labelled League One as an ‘anti-football’ division. Long balls, route one football and unappealing style of play. As a supporter of a League One club, I can dispel this myth. From 40 yard screamers to clinical 10 yard finishes, the division has much more to it than rumours would suggest.
The third tier of English football is home to plenty of technically gifted footballers and the midfielders are certainly part of that category. Within this article, I will be taking a deeper look at some of the most creative midfielders in the league.
(All stats accurate in accordance with SofaScore as of 25th February 2021)
5- Aaron Morley, Rochdale
First up, is Rochdale’s maestro, Aaron Morley. Perhaps a surprise inclusion, but he has had an excellent season so far in a struggling Rochdale side. Rochdale currently find themselves sitting in 18th at the time of writing, but could be significantly lower if it wasn’t for this man.
Aaron Morley has featured in every League fixture for Rochdale this season, averaging 87 minutes per game. During this time, he has accumulated some impressive stats that has him as one of the best performing midfielders in the league.
So far, Morley has registered 6 assists in the league so far with a 75% pass accuracy. In a team that struggles to score goals, Morley certainly plays his part. Alongside this, the midfielder has created nine big chances which is the joint fourth highest in the division. With 1.4 key passes per game, Rochdale would be significantly worse off without him in an attacking sense.
Still only 20 years old, the potential that Aaron Morley has is really showing this season!
4- Joe Ward, Peterborough
Second on this list, is Peterborough’s Joe Ward. The Posh had a difficult start to the season but have picked up form very quickly and now sit top of the table, with many bookies labelling them as favourites to win the league. Joe Ward is a major factor of this.
Ward plays as a right sided midfielder and has only started 18 games this season, playing 20 in total. Despite this, his stats are up there with the best in the division.
Joe has 13 goal contributions with 10 assists and three goals. An assist tally that is the joint highest in the league. Given he has played 10 games less than some of his competitors, that is outstanding!
In these 20 games, he has created nine big chances which is one big chance in every other game he starts. 1.6 key passes per game, with a 75% pass accuracy shows he is a great midfield option to have in this league.
If Petebrough are to achieve promotion, Ward will certainly be getting the rewards that his performances have deserved.
3- Jorge Grant, Lincoln City
Lincoln City are having an exceptional season, significantly better than anyone could have ever predicted at the start of the season. The Imps currently sit second in the table and Jorge Grant is a big reason for that.
Grant has appeared in all of Lincoln’s league games this season playing every minute which just proves how highly thought of he is at the club.
Jorge has scored nine goals so far this season which is an incredible stat in its own, however there’s a lot more to his game. Alongside the goals, Grant has seven assists which places him joint fifth for goal contributions in the league on 16. Since the start of the season, Grant has completed an average of 40 passes per game with 2.4 of these resulting in a big chance for the Imps. Certainly explaining how Lincoln are performing so well this season.
Most League One sides would love to have such a talented player in their midfield.
2- Aiden McGeady, Sunderland
34 years old and still showing bags of ability! Aiden McGeady was frozen out of the Sunderland first squad by former manager Phil Parkinson and spent 12 months away from the club. Lee Johnson was appointed as head coach and McGeady was drafted back in and has proven he still has what it takes
In terms of big chances created, McGeady’s stats don’t look overly impressive. So far this season, he was created six big chances according to SofaScore. However alongside this, he has also managed 10 assists this season, a stat that sees him top of the assist leaderboard.
It’s impressive anyway having that many assists at this stage in the season, but McGeady missed the opening 3 months of the season due to Phil Parkinson excluding him meaning all his stats this season, have been achieved in a much shorter time than his respected opponents.
The Irishman could be the key to Sunderland this season if they are to push for automatic promotion.
1- George Honeyman, Hull City
Andres Inies… George Honeyman joined Hull during their championship season after shaping himself as a player at Sunderland. Hull dropped into League One and he has thrived in this division to say the least.
Hull have had a great season so far, despite dropping off recently and George Honeyman has been pivotal to the Tigers claiming their place in top two. Like McGeady, Honeyman sits top of the assist table with 10 assists. Three goals so far this season as well, taking his total goal contribution tally to 13.
Not only does Honeyman top the divison for assists, he has created 16 big chances so far this season which is three more than any other player. Honeyman gets his plaudits for his ability to create chances, but there’s a lot more to his game as well. His work rate is exceptional and provides the energy in the engine room for the Tigers which is the reason behind their success so far.
Currently out injured, it will be interesting to see how Hull City cope without him.
Which midfielder has impressed you the most this season? Let us know!