Sunderland were held to a 1-1 draw in a frustrating clash away at Shrewsbury Town in League One on Tuesday night.
Lee Johnson’s side went into half-time against Shrewsbury with a 1-0 lead and the hosts down to 10 men, following Luke O’Nien’s opener and David Davis’ dismissal. However, a second-half equaliser from Daniel Udoh ensured that the points were shared.
Alex Pritchard caught the eye in the number 10 role as he provided the assist for O’Nien’s opener. It was his second assist in 14 league matches this season and he created three chances in total throughout the match. However, another player stole the show for Sunderland in the midfield – Dan Neil.
The 19-year-old from South Shields put in a sublime performance in the middle of the park and ran the game for the Black Cats. Whilst Pritchard managed an assist and showed off his creativity in the hole behind the striker, Neil managed to outshine him with his display.
On the ball, he was excellent. Per SofaScore, the wiz had a whopping 91 touches of the ball and completed 96% of his passes as he created four chances for his teammates – one more than Pritchard. He also completed an impressive 11 of his 13 attempted long passes, showing off his passing range along with his ability to set up his teammates.
His control of the match was highlighted in his possession statistics. He completed a high percentage of his attempted passes and enjoyed a huge number of touches, with his chance creation and long pass attempts also showing that he was not playing simple, easy, passes to boost his numbers.
Defensively, he was also solid. Per SofaScore, he won six of his 11 individual duels and made three tackles during the game, whilst only being dribbled past once. He also made one clearance and committed one foul in the 90 minutes, proving that he can perform well at both ends of the pitch – defending his own goal and driving forward to make an impact in the final third.
Therefore, his complete performance ensured that he ran the game for Johnson and is why he was the real star of the show over Pritchard. Hopefully, the youngster will continue to produce displays of this standard throughout the rest of the season and will be able to lift the club further up the table.