Stats: Does Tunnicliffe deserve his reported Fulham fate?

Fulham Turnstiles

Reports claim Fulham's Ryan Tunnicliffe is set to leave the club on loan.

Ryan Tunnicliffe moved from Manchester United to Fulham on transfer deadline day, and almost immediately spoke about his excitement at being reunited with his former coach at Old Trafford Rene Meulensteen.

Speaking to the club's official website, the 21-year-old said, “I've known Rene since I was nine and there was talk when he took over that he was interested in me, so it's just picked up steam this week really and I'm here now and glad to sign.

Rene didn't have to sell Fulham to me, for a start they're in the Premier League and I want to play at the highest level. I know Rene and I know he's a great coach so I'm just excited to work for him.”

But following the appointment of Felix Magath as manager in place of the Dutchman, Tunnicliffe went from starter (all be it for just two matches) to being omitted from the match-day squad.

Sky Sports is now reporting that Fulham have given the midfielder permission to spend the rest of the current campaign on loan.  although the report ends with the caveat that he is still seen as having a future at Craven Cottage.

But if he is swiftly out of the door he has only just come in - temporarily or otherwise - can he feel aggrieved at the decision, or is it simply a case of Fulham needing experience to ensure they escape the relegation worries that have blighted their season?

Below are statistics that show his influence in the two matches he played under Meulensteen.  On both occasions - against United and Liverpool - he started.  And it is worth mentioning that Fulham drew at Old Trafford and narrowly lost to a last-gasp penalty against the Reds.

PlayerMatchMatchdayTouchesAccurate PassKey PassWon TackleInterception WonMins
Lewis Holtby Man Utd vs Fulham 25 53 23 1 2 0 90
Steve Sidwell Man Utd vs Fulham 25 46 14 1 3 3 90
Kieran Richardson Man Utd vs Fulham 25 36 8 0 3 1 90
William Kvist Man Utd vs Fulham 25 34 15 0 1 3 80
Ryan Tunnicliffe Man Utd vs Fulham 25 18 8 1 2 0 65
Scott Parker Man Utd vs Fulham 25 9 4 0 1 0 25
Larnell Cole Man Utd vs Fulham 25 4 1 1 1 0 10

Against his former club, Tunnicliffe played for 65 minutes before being replaced by Scott Parker.  While United had a huge proportion of the play - and a multitude of unconverted crosses to boot - Fulham's players dug in and dealt with the onslaught.

He played one key pass during the match and won two tackles - figures that compare favourably with his teammates that afternoon.  However he was outshone in terms of touches and accurate passes, and with Fulham needing to impose themselves on games as much as possible in what remains of the season, that may be one reason the player is on the verge of a loan move.

PlayerMatchMatchdayTouchesAccurate PassKey PassWon TackleInterception WonMins
Lewis Holtby Fulham vs Liverpool 26 75 32 1 2 1 90
William Kvist Fulham vs Liverpool 26 39 25 1 2 2 90
Steve Sidwell Fulham vs Liverpool 26 38 16 0 0 2 90
Ryan Tunnicliffe Fulham vs Liverpool 26 31 11 1 0 0 90
Kieran Richardson Fulham vs Liverpool 26 30 7 1 0 1 71
Alexander Kacaniklic Fulham vs Liverpool 26 8 6 0 0 0 19

Against Liverpool he fared better in terms of touches, but still fell short of the likes of Lewis Holtby, William Kvist and Steve Sidwell in terms of accurate passes, with just 11 finding a teammate (compared with Holtby's 32 and Kvist's 25).

He again played a key pass but for the second match running he failed to make an interception or - against Liverpool - to win a single tackle.

Tunnicliffe has the natural talent to be a huge success in the Premier League.  But he would have thought that joining Meulensteen would have seen him gain that experience far quicker than he is now likely to do.

If he does head back to the Championship on loan, it is likely to be with a sense of regret at what might have been.  But he will surely be hoping Fulham survive before returning to prove what he can do next season.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch