PROFILING HIS BEST ATTRIBUTES ASSESSING HIS FUTURE ANALYSING HIS STATS LEARNING ABOUT HIS STORY SO FAR
Who is Bryan Gil?
With Tottenham Hotspur in the midst of a rebuild, having brought in former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo to replace compatriot Jose Mourinho (via an interim spell for Ryan Mason), one of their new signings may have gone slightly under the radar due to the continued speculation around Harry Kane. However, in 20-year-old Bryan Gil, Spurs have signed a star of the future, but also someone who is a throwback to an era gone by.
Bryan Gil's style of play
What makes him a throwback to earlier times? Well, Bryan is one of those rare wingers who plays on his stronger side i.e. he is a left-footed player who predominantly features on the left flank.
Thus, he usually tends to stay wide and go on the outside of the opposing full-back before crossing – indeed, according to FBRef.com, he was in the 98th percentile among all attacking midfielders and wingers from across Europe’s top five leagues for crosses over the last year. This is a trait that is rarely seen in top-level football today, with most wingers tending to be inverted and therefore cutting infield and coming into central areas rather than staying out wide.
In addition to his tendency to cross, the 20-year-old is also a prolific and excellent dribbler. Looking at FBref.com again, he was in the 90th percentile for attempted dribbles and the 89th percentile for completed dribbles across Europe’s top five leagues in the last year – this shows just how direct a player he is, and allied with his tendency to stay out wide, means that Spurs will be able to stretch the opposition through his positioning.
Bryan also tends to run in behind the defensive line whenever space opens up, and he is quite fast over both short and long distances with a quick change of pace, all of which adds to his dribbling ability as well.
Bryan is not completely one-dimensional though – he does drift infield into the left half-space at times to create space on the overlap for his full-back. This could work well for Spurs, with the attack-minded Sergio Reguilon expected to be the first-choice left-back, but Bryan will certainly look to hug the touchline himself on most occasions.
His movement is one of his strongest attributes, as he is usually aware of his team-mates’ positioning, and therefore tries not to occupy the same zones, to give his team greater pitch coverage while attacking. However, Bryan is almost always looking to stay out wide, and therefore can sometimes fail to make diagonal runs into the box to attack the far post, especially when the ball is on the other side.
This can sometimes lead to him not utilising space centrally even when it is available, and this also ties in with his low goalscoring numbers. Bryan scored just four goals last season, on loan at Eibar, and with an xG total of 4.22 (according to Wyscout), we can see that he did not really get into too many goalscoring positions either. His shot numbers bear this out as well – with just 1.58 shots per 90, Bryan was certainly not a regular goal threat, and this was in large part due to his tendency to stay wide on the left.
However, it is a different story when we look at creativity – Bryan was certainly a big creative threat in an Eibar side that was relegated from La Liga last season. He notched only four assists last season, but had an xA tally of 7.02, indicating how he was perhaps let down by his teammates a little bit.
Indeed, he was in the 70th percentile for xA per 90 across Europe’s top five leagues according to Fbref.com, and another gauge of his creativity can be seen from the fact that he was in the 90th percentile for passes into the penalty area.
He was also in the 76th percentile for shot-creating actions (SCA) within this same sample over the last year, while his SCA from dribbling put him in the 91st percentile. Thus, the Spain international is quite creative, with his dribbling proving to be a major weapon, which is why he has also drawn comparisons with Jack Grealish.
Bryan’s crossing is varied – he is able to pull off a number of different types of crosses, whether they be floated deliveries into the box, or driven hard and low from the byline. As mentioned earlier, he is quite accurate with his passing and crossing into the box, and playing with better finishers should see him get a lot more assists than he did last season.
When looking at his dribbling, we see that Bryan is certainly not predictable. While he is left-footed, he is quite capable of coming infield if the defender moves to cover his left side, and can also take shots with his right foot if need be.
He tries to receive the ball in wider areas and drive forward into space, with his movement infield or towards the touchline depending on where the defender is covering space, and he has the ability to stop and then accelerate quickly again to leave opponents behind. This makes him an excellent player to have in a transition-based side, but he is also quite good at dribbling against set defensive blocks to pull them out of shape.
This adds to his ball-carrying threat – as we have mentioned already, Gil is quite fast, and with his superb control of the ball, it means that he is often able to carry the ball forward into dangerous areas. He was in the 77th percentile for carries over the last year, while he was in the 88th percentile for progressive carries, showing just how often he moved his team up the field.
This is true for his carries into the box as well, putting him in the 79th percentile – Bryan is already a huge threat through his dribbling and ball-carrying abilities, which will add a lot of value if Nuno uses a transition-based approach in the coming season.
Bryan Gil's Role at Spurs
It looks as though Nuno will opt for a 4-3-3/4-4-2 at Spurs this season, which will work well for Bryan, as he can be used as the left-sided winger in either formation. His ability to stretch play through his positioning, along with his dribbling and crossing, should mean that the Spurs striker/s, whether Harry Kane or someone else, will receive a lot of service from the left flank.
This will also open up space centrally as opposition defenders are forced to move across to cover him which could be exploited by his teammates. Bryan himself needs to add a little more variety to his game, either by varying his positioning and movement and coming infield more often, or even by playing on the right flank on occasion, which will need him to do so on a far more regular basis.
Nevertheless, his primary set of skills is good enough to trouble most Premier League defenders, and it will be fascinating to see how he settles in and progresses in England this season and beyond.
Bryan Gil is an excellent dribbler, ball-carrier and crosser of the ball.
Bryan has a tendency to stay wide on the left, which can be slightly predictable, and also reduces his goalscoring opportunities despite having decent finishing ability.