Wataru Endo - Scouting Stuttgart's Former Superman
Sprints, Stamina, Smart Passes & a Snip of the Moneygrabbers
If this is the starter, then it is business well done
While we were muddling through the defensive midfield options Liverpool can look at for this summer, the news of an agreement with Stuttgart to sign Wataru Endo came out of nowhere to sweep us aside.
Although relief was the first reaction to that news, there was also an air of apprehension regarding the player the club is getting. Understandably so! Not many Liverpool fans have heard of him unless they watch Bundesliga regularly.
Wataru Endo is a Japanese international who is currently the captain of his national side and the club he is employed by - Stuttgart. So, Liverpool are at least getting a player who knows a way around taking responsibility.
The 30-year-old started his career in Japan and only moved to Europe in 2018 when Belgian club Sint-Truiden signed him. A year later, the midfielder was sent on loan to Stuttgart and eventually that move became permanent in the summer of 2020.
He has played 133 games in all competitions for the German side so far, scoring 15 goals and assisting 12. His positional flexibility is probably one of the things that struck through.
If we look at his senior-level footballing career, Endo has made 439 appearances - 239 of which came as a centre-back, 15 as a right-back and the rest in midfield (be it as a lone six, in a double pivot or as a number eight).
Let’s glance through his profile in a bit more detail with the help of numbers and try to devise how Jürgen Klopp can make the best use of him.
Player Profile - Wataru Endo
In addition to his positional versatility, Endo is a physically strong player with great stamina, decent turn of pace, good passing and ball progression ability and canny game-reading skills off the ball. He is very good in one-on-one duels, be it on the ground or aerially.
If we look at his running and distance covered numbers in the Bundesliga for the past two seasons, it makes up for a positive reading.
The distance coverage has remained more or less the same while there was some concession in intensive running and sprinting. League ranks remain pretty good regardless.
If we talk about the 2022/23 season, Endo is ahead of Manu Koné (another Liverpool target who plays in the Bundesliga) in these metrics. The latter covered 318.9 kms while making 2031 intensive runs and 467 sprints.
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