Walsh was a player I was looking forward to seeing in this World Cup as she popped up as one of the best progressive passers in the FAWSL, probably the best midfielder, when I looked before.
I think, due to some sloppiness on the ball, her tournament was a bit mixed, but her passing range and ability is a huge strength for England and should be utilized as much as possible.
While some of her passes or touches did seem a bit sloppy, it may also be due to how she receives the ball. @EveryTeam_Mark found that she received the ball under pressure quite a bit when he looked at the semi-final match-ups. It isn’t too surprising given the screenshot above from the Japan game where she’s surrounded by Japanese players as she receives the ball with her back to play.
On the ball, Walsh does seem like she’ll turn over possession a few times per match, but only because she’s looking to progress the ball and when it comes off, it’s hugely effective. Her pass that progressed the ball towards goal by the most was against Japan, sending Rachel Daly in on goal.
It’s not as though her only good passes were long balls over the top though. The below pass against Cameroon is a nicely weighted ball out wide to Nikita Parris.
She played a few good passes against Japan to start moves on the right, like the clip I used above showing an attack. Then there’s also the below one, where Jill Scott makes a rare error when it comes to her around the corner type pass – I think she may have even been able to let it run straight through to Bronze.
Against the USA she played a cross-field ball to Mead leading to the goal, a nice pass for Scott before the offside goal, as well as a nice pass out wide to Bronze in some space.
These passes show what she’s capable of but, with some sloppy errors and not huge progression numbers, it feels as though she lacked a bit of consistency this summer. Given she’s only 22-years-old, this is her first international tournament and the pressure numbers for when she received the ball, I don’t think it’s a huge worry.
One weird quirk in her numbers is that she makes quite a few pressures, 5th most for England, yet has the least defensive actions per 90. I should probably dive into why, to see whether she isn’t turning pressures into winning the ball back, or whether it’s a situation where she pressures players out wide and then one of the defenders wins it back, but I feel like I’m rambling enough as it is.
She’s reportedly handed in a transfer request at Manchester City, amid interest from Lyon, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens there. With her already strong technical ability and Bronze’s endorsement of Lyon, it does feel as though she could make huge strides if she was to move to the French club.