Everyone is looking for the next great English football talent. Two Championship clubs currently own players that a cluster of Premier League clubs believe may fit that billing. Blackpool’s Tom Ince has been the subject of interest from the likes of Aston Villa and Manchester United. Crystal Palace’s Wilfred Zaha has recently been linked with Arsenal, as a replacement for Theo Walcott. But who is the better prospect, let’s consider the facts:
Age – There is little under a year’s difference between the two players. Zaha turns 20 in November, whereas January will see Ince turn 21 year’s old.
Build – Both players are of a similar weight and height, with Zaha being slightly taller at 5ft 11in compared with Ince’s 5ft 10in. At a glance Palace’s Zaha probably looks a tad more imposing in terms of physique.
Position – Both players are primarily wingers but can play anywhere in the attacking third of the field.
Experience – Zaha has played more senior games, turning out 94 times in total for CrystalPalace, compared with 45 appearances for Ince whilst at NottsCounty and Blackpool. However, Ince has slightly more International experience overall, having played for the U17’s when Zaha did not. Zaha does have one more U21 cap though, with 3. You could also argue that Zaha has experience of a Premiership set during his early days with Liverpool, Zaha does not.
Total career goals – In total senior games Ince has scored more goals, also with fewer appearances. Ince has 14 whereas Zaha has 11. Neither player has scored at International level.
Goals this season – Ince win’s this competition, with 6 goals in 8 games so far this season. Zaha has 4 in 10.
Assists this season – Ince win’s again with 6 assists, compared to Zaha’s 1.
Shot accuracy – Both Ince and Zaha possess a similar record. Ince has registered 20 shots this season, 10 of which were on target. Zaha has registered 19 shots at goal, 9 of them on target.
Shot to goal conversion rate – Ince scores with every 3.33 shots. Zaha needs 4.75 shots.
Fouls caused – Zaha is the more physical player, causing more fouls, and picking up two more yellow cards than Ince.
Fouls suffered – Zaha appears to receive heavier treatment from opposing defenders on the pitch. He has suffered 19 fouls in comparison to Ince’s 7.
In conclusion it’s an incredibly hard call to make. Both players are largely similar in the majority of facets to their game. Both players would probably also demand a similar transfer fee. If I was forced to stick my neck out and choose, I’d have to say that Ince probably edges it at the moment. But this battle will be worth coming back to further into the season.
Who do you think is the better prospect?
image: © OliverN5