At a Championship rival in January, Scott Wootton now proving undroppable

Leeds Players Warm Up

The Leeds defender is enjoying a solid run at right-back.

Scott Wootton has had his critics at Leeds United this season.

And, in January, the 23-year-old wasn't anywhere near the first-team picture at Elland Road. He was, in fact, in the first team at Rotherham United.

Now, though, Wootton is a regular fixture at right back for Leeds, forcing a natural right-back in Gaetano Berardi to switch flanks and drawing deserved praise from boss Neil Redfearn.

The defender earned a new contract earlier this year and a huge advantage of him playing out wide is the freedom it gives Sam Byram to go forward ahead of him

But, as Opta stats show, the 23-year-old himself is getting plenty of joy going forward - not just through allowing Byram to express himself down the right...

  Final-Third Entries (per game)TouchesFinal-Third PassesTacklesInterceptionsClearancesMinutes Played
Scott Wootton 10.69 63.69 8.46 1.31 2.31 4.23 1,170
Luke Murphy 10.38 58.62 8.92 3.69 1.23 1 1,165
Charlie Taylor 8.46 55.62 5.54 0.92 2.77 2.31 1,137
Giuseppe Bellusci 7.44 48.89 2.78 2.22 4.56 9.67 805
Liam Cooper 7.13 41.5 3.13 1.75 2.5 6.88 631
Lewis Cook 6.85 50.31 7.31 1.69 2.08 0.62 1,155
Rodolph Austin 5.5 53.63 10 1.88 1.38 0.38 683
Sam Byram 3.7 51.1 11.8 1 1.1 1.7 899
Alex Mowatt 3.18 44.45 9.36 1.18 1 0.27 928

No one has averaged more final-third entries than Wootton since he returned to Elland Road from his loan spell at Rotherham, nor has anyone been more involved in terms of overall play - judging by the amount of touches he takes.

The defender's tally of successful passes in the final third, too, compares favourably with his team-mates.

Defensively, the Leeds man perhaps needs work with his tackling - but his average of interceptions per game beats most, while his tally of clearances per game is also impressive and only beaten by Redfearn's centre-backs (Sol Bamba, not included, makes more, too).

Combine all the above with the most important stat of all - Leeds have kept three clean sheets in a row - and Wootton's role within the United side becomes clear. He provides a much-needed presence indeed.

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