Scouting Report: Is NEC Loanee Marnick Vermijl Manchester United Quality?

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Scouting Report: Is NEC Loanee Marnick Vermijl Manchester United Quality?
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Manchester United's NEC loanee Marnick Vermijl will be hoping he gets a chance like James Wilson, so here is a scouting report on Vermijl, a 5'11"and 154-pound 22-year-old Belgian right-back. 

 

United's Right-Back Slot

There is an opening for Vermijl into United's first-team because the club do not have an undisputed starting right-back. 

In six Premier League seasons, Rafael da Silva has never started 30 league games or more. 

Phil Jones is a utility player who does shifts at right-back, centre-back and central midfield.

Chris Smalling prefers playing at centre-back than at right-back, per James Tuck at United's official website.

Antonio Valencia is not a full-time right-back. 

Guillermo Varela is playing in the U-21 Premier League, whereas Vermijl is more experienced having started 28 Eredivisie games for NEC. 

His agent Tonny Dullers called out then-United-manager David Moyes in March.

"If he [Moyes] stays, he'll probably let Marnick go, as he didn't oppose a loan," Dullers said, per Gerrit van Leeuwen and Kristof Terreur at Sky Sports. "But if he [Moyes] is sacked, then maybe Marnick still has a future at United."

Dullers went on to list Anderlecht, Ajax, Genk and "a few other Premier League" teams interested in signing Marnick. 

A United prospect's agent making a bombastic statement is nothing new. 

Arturo Canales, the agent of Gerard Pique, made headlines back in 2007 when he touted his client's possible permanent transfer from United to Real Zaragoza.

"We are discussing details," Canales said, per Pete O'Rourke at Sky Sports. "Both Zaragoza and the player [Pique] are interested in a permanent deal."

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, Canales was pressuring United to give Pique an extended run in the season after the Zaragoza loan spell, therefore Dullers and Marnick could be doing the same. 

So, how has Marnick performed on loan at NEC?

Source: Eredivisie.nl/NEC TV.

 

Positives

Marnick may have been in the picture when NEC conceded most of their goals (82), but he did not make a single defensive error, per Squawka.com.

Player Position Defensive Errors
     
Karl-Johan Johnsson GK 4
Rens van Eijden CB 4
Kevin Conboy LB/CB/CM 4
Dennis Gentenaar GK 2
Alireza Jahanbakhsh RF 1
Danzell Gravenberch RB 1
Michael Higdon CF 1
Michel Breuer CB 1
Pavel Cmovs CB 1
Tobias Haitz CB 1
Victor Palsson CB/CM 1
Marnick Vermijl RB 0
     

Vermijl is a durable, plucky and tough right-back who plays with energy.

What stands out is his recovery pace as evidenced by successful slide tackles on AZ left forward Roy Beerens and Twente left-back Dico Koppers.

Source: Eredivisie.nl/NEC TV.
Source: Eredivisie.nl/NEC TV.

Vermijl is an economical ball-winner.

He completed 60 tackles and registered 46 interceptions, while only receiving one yellow card. 

League Only Tackles Per Game Interceptions Per Game Yellow Cards/Red Cards
       
Jones  2.3 2.1 5/0
Rafael  2.3 1.8 5/0
Smalling  1.8 1.1 2/0
Valencia  1.8 1.4 6/1
Vermijl  2.1 1.6 1/0
       

Vermijl made six tackles against NAC Breda, per Squawka.com, and intercepted seven passes against Twente, per Squawka.com, meaning he can takeover games defensively. 

Source: Squawka.com.
Source: Squawka.com.

From an attacking perspective, Vermijl is a natural, which is to be expected as he "started out as a striker," per United's official website.

Vermijl's deceptive first-step enables him to get past opposing players.

He created separation from PEC Zwolle central midfielder Jesper Drost and drilled a low-cross for NEC centre-forward Michael Higdon to score. 

Source: Eredivisie.nl/NEC TV.

Vermijl combined intuitively with NEC central midfielder Samuel Stefanik in a textbook one-two against ADO Den Haag

Vermijl zipped past ADO left forward Ninos Gouriye, cut inside, exchanged passes with Stefanik, which in the process diverted left-back Aaron Meijers away from challenging Vermijl. 

He then took advantage of central midfielder Ricky van Haaren's ball-watching to latch on to Stefanik's return pass and score. 

Source: Eredivisie.nl/NEC TV.

Vermijl is more productive in front of goal than United players such as Ashley Young, Marouane FellainiMichael Carrick, Nani, Ryan Giggs, Shinji Kagawa, Tom Cleverley and Valencia.

League Only Goals/Games Shots Taken Shots Per Goal
       
Carrick 1/28 17 17
Cleverley  1/22 15 15
Fellaini 0/16 25 -
Giggs 0/12 5 -
Kagawa  0/17 14 -
Nani 0/11 17 -
Valencia 2/28 16 8
Vermijl 3/28 16 5.3
Young 2/20 17 8.5
       

 

Negatives

Vermijl's passing is second-rate.

He gives away the ball 33 percent of the time he tries to pass, has mistimed 33 crosses from 42 attempts and has accumulated a wretched 26.5 long-pass completion percentage. 

Source: Squawka.com.

NEC have the second worst possession per game in the Eredivisie (42.5) and the worst pass completion percentage (71.1), therefore it is normal for Vermijl to kick the ball away. 

This is a deficient habit to develop. 

Vermijl must look up and assess his options as opposed to being automaton-like in booting the ball long.

He should learn from teammate Ryan Koolwijk, a lanky 6'5" central midfielder, who has superb vision.

 

Bottom Line

Vermijl is a capable player who is resilient defensively and has flashed attacking brilliance. 

In the past, Vermijl said he looked up to former United stalwart Gary Neville, per United's official website.

Lee Sharpe, a former PFA Young Player of the Year, revealed Neville's "idea of fun" was throwing a ball against a gym wall, per Daniel Taylor at the Observer

Lesson Learnt: Neville's hard work and dedication took him to the top. 

Vermijl needs to have Neville-like perseverance to become a United starter. 

Based on Vermijl's promising NEC displays, United should give him a chance in pre-season.

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored.com

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