Moving Target – Andre Wisdom – Fantasy Football Scout
Deemed surplus to requirements at Anfield, Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom penned a season-long loan deal with Norwich City last week. Talking to the club s official website, the 22-year-old insisted1 that s he s in prime shape for a Premier League start:
I spoke to the manager, and he s told me what he wants from myself and the team collectively. It s going to be good and I can t wait to get started.
I ve maintained a high fitness level because I ve been on tour with Liverpool, so I m coming here fit and ready to go. I m hoping to help the team by contributing on and off the pitch.
Born in Leeds, Wisdom started out at Bradford City s youth academy, before making the switch to Liverpool at the age of 14. Having worked his way up the ranks, Wisdom established himself as a regular starter for the Reds reserve team at centre-back.
The installation of Brendan Rodgers in the Anfield hot seat led to Wisdom s promotion to the first team.
After earning his senior debut during Liverpool s 5-2 demolition of Norwich in September 2012, he went on to notch a further 11 starts at right-back that term, serving up one assist in the process.
A lack of starting opportunities on Merseyside prompted Wisdom to spend the 2013/14 season on loan to Championship outfit Derby County. Upon his switch to the Rams in October, he started and finished every league encounter, bagging three assists across 33 outings.
Wisdom teamed up with West Bromwich Albion for the 2014/15 Premier League season, where he enjoyed the security of starts under Alan Irvine, chalking up one assist in 18 appearances. Irvine s sacking and the subsequent hiring of Tony Pulis engendered a reduction in his playing time, with Wisdom mustering just three more starts that term.
On the international stage, Wisdom has turned out a total of 37 times at youth level, from England U16 to 21, and found the net on three occasions.
Wisdom spent the last year of his youth spell at Liverpool operating at centre-back but has since exclusively been fielded in the right-back berth.
I m delighted as Andre fits our profile in terms of getting hungry players in who want to make their way in the game. He s also had Premier League experience with a few different clubs, so we re happy to get it over the line. It will add to the competition for places as he s a flexible player.
In the past he s played centre-back and right-back. Having added competition to the left-hand side with Robbie Brady, it was important to add something to the right side as well.
Indeed, Wisdom s first run-out for the Norfolk club was at right-back: he clocked 30 minutes during a pre-season debut against Brentford at the weekend, emerging from the bench to tee up Cameron Jerome for an emphatic winner.
Wisdom looks set to challenge Steven Whittaker for starts at right-back, with Russell Martin and Sebastien Bassong forming Neil s first-choice centre-back pairing. With no certainty that Norwich s latest arrival will be handed a run at the start of the season, few Fantasy managers will be tempted to snap up the 4.5-priced defender from the off.
Across his 2080 minutes of pitch time last season, Wisdom fashioned just three (off-target) attempts at goal, while Whittaker and Martin both served up two goals apiece, albeit in the Championship.
Furthermore, Wisdom executed a paltry nine key passes for his team-mates, bagging one assist along the way. Whittaker (five), Martin (five) and Olsson (six) all surpassed that assist haul, with the former ranking fourth for key passes (38) among Norwich s full roster.
Indeed, with just two assists in 38 appearances in the Premier League to his name, Wisdom offers little in the way of attacking potential. Even if he nails down a starting berth, then, his lack of impact in the final third suggests he may have to rely on clean sheets for points but with the changes to the BPS scoring system favouring the similarly-priced John Ruddy between the sticks, Wisdom s appeal looks limited.
Indeed, given that there are options at the likes of Sunderland and Leicester at the same cost, Norwich s defenders may struggle to justify any level of investment.
Nonetheless, those Fantasy managers eyeing up the Canaries backline in light of their decent early schedule (CRY, sun, STO, sou, BOU, liv) might be inclined to source a budget rotation partner to exploit their kind home fixtures.
On that note, Stoke City alternate well with the Canaries, furnishing us with just five match-ups against last term s top-six sides leading into the New Year.
With the schedule smiling kindly, it s little wonder that many on the site are eyeing up a Ruddy/Jack Butland cut-price pairing between the posts at a cost of just 9.0, with the prospect of save points, at the least, looking more enticing.