Danny Fox: Why He's Been Southampton's Most Disappointing Player This Season

Mike Miller@mwmiller20Contributor IIIMarch 23, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Danny Fox of Southampton during the Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium on July 14, 2012 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Steve Bardens/Getty Images

At the start of the season, there were legitimate questions about most Southampton players and whether the same cast of characters who helped the Saints to back-to-back promotions could cut it in the Premier League.

Some, like Rickie Lambert, Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana, have passed with flying colors. Others, like Jos Hooiveld, Kelvin Davis and Guly do Prado, have failed to come to grips with the increased level of competition and have seen their roles reduced.

One member of Southampton who surprisingly failed to adapt is left-back Danny Fox. The Scottish international was a regular in the Saints lineup last season, playing 43 of 46 matches in helping the squad to a second-place finish in the Championship. The left-back was second on the team in assists with 13, an impressive number from the back four.

The career path of Fox would lead you to believe that he could cope with the demands of the Premier League. Besides playing internationally for Scotland, Fox has played for Celtic and previously played in the Premier League for Burnley in 2010

Fox was the starter at left-back on opening day at Manchester City. However, his poor play has seen him lose his spot to 17-year-old Luke Shaw. A closer examination of the stats explains why.

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Fox has only completed 75.2 percent of his passes this season, according to WhoScored.com. Passing and crossing are supposed to be among the 26-year-old's strengths. But Fox has only completed a quarter of his crosses, successfully finding his target on just 16 of 63 attempts.

After his 13 assists last season, Fox only has one to his credit this season.

Granted, Shaw's offensive numbers are even worse than Fox's. The 17-year-old has yet to earn an assist, and his pass completion and crossing are even lower rates (69 percent pass completion and 15-of-68 on crosses), according to WhoScored.com. But the academy product outshines Fox on the defensive side of the ball.

Shaw is averaging 2.0 tackles, 2.0 interceptions and 3.8 clearances per match. In contrast, Fox averages 1.2 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 2.6 clearances.

If you aren't a stats junkie, you can just look at Fox's on-field play to determine that he is struggling with his confidence.

One example happened in a recent defeat to Queens Park Rangers. Fox was attempting to mark Loic Remy. After Remy snuck behind the left-back, Fox had a moment of indecision. Instead of staying with Remy and pressuring the ball, Fox retreated to the goal line to back up Artur Boruc. The decision proved to be the wrong one, as the shot evaded Boruc, and Fox couldn't make the block, resulting in a goal.

A more comical misstep happened in Southampton's defeat at Newcastle. Already down 3-2, Fox attempted to clear a cross from Davide Santon. Instead of using his right foot, Fox attempted to clear with the outside of his left foot. The poor clearance ricocheted off of Hooiveld and into the Southampton net.

There are players at Southampton who are having worse seasons than Fox. Currently, Do Prado, Frazer Richardson, James Ward-Prowse and Emmanuel Mayuka are all rated lower by WhoScored.com than Fox. But Fox was the only one who was expected to be major contributor. That's why his season has been the most disappointing for Saints fans this year.

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