Russell Martin is leader of Norwich City pack
Right-back Russell Martin is Norwich City’s top performer so far this season – according to the Football League’s official player rankings.
While other City stars have taken most of the plaudits for the Canaries’ excellent return to the Championship, the 24-year-old defender is Norwich’s highest representative in the current Actim Championship Index – sitting 13th, with the likes of big names such as Cardiff’s Peter Whittingham, Portsmouth’s Liam Lawrence and Leeds United winger Robert Snodgrass far behind.
That is nothing to be sniffed at for a player who found his Championship credentials being questioned after Peterborough United – at the time struggling to get to grips with the second tier – allowed their 2008-09 captain to leave for City little more than a year ago.
The ranking system, which also covers the Premier League and Scottish leagues, was set up by statisticians at the University of Salford and the Press Association for the 2006-07 season – and has been improved in the campaigns since to become a respected, as well as singularly objective, way of assessing players’ contribution for their respective clubs.
The fact Martin has just one yellow card, two goals and most league appearances – 21 – for City this season is all taken into account in compiling the rankings, as well as the number of passes completed and tackles successfully made.
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Throw-ins, fouls, free-kicks, offsides, shots, corners, crosses, substitutions – the list of statistics included in the Actim formula is vast. And each one takes into account when it happens, the outcome and how it affects the game.
The statistics are even weighted differently depending on the player’s position.
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It all makes for a complicated formula – but one regularly regarded as accurate. Martin heads a contingent of six City players in the Championship’s top 100 – compiled before Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Portsmouth.
In fact, only Derby County can match the Canaries’ tally of five players in the top 50.
Goalkeeper John Ruddy, who has had to win over some of the City faithful at times this season, is the fourth ranked ‘keeper in the division – with only Republic of Ireland net-minders Paddy Kenny (Queens Park Rangers) and Keiren Westwood (Coventry City), and Swansea’s Dutch Under-21 keeper Dorus de Vries further up the index.
Five goals, one assist and 19 league appearances have helped put Irish wizard Wes Hoolahan 19th, while Grant Holt – seven league assists and six goals in 19 starts – is just two points and one place behind Ruddy.
Wales midfielder Andrew Crofts, who made a blistering start to his first season at the club since joining from Brighton in the summer, is 43rd, while centre-back Elliott Ward is currently ranked 60th.