Leander Dendoncker going the extra mile for Wolves
Nuno Espirito Santo has hailed the ‘special’ work-rate of Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker – and the stats back up the boss’s words.
Dendoncker, who scored the winner against Fulham last weekend, has been a revelation since coming into the side at the back end of last year.
The 24-year-old Belgian has shone in the 3-5-2 system and offered more than quite a few expected.
Signed from Anderlecht, initially on loan with the deal becoming permanent for £12million this summer, he came in as a defender or midfielder.
And his first Wolves appearances were as a centre-half in the Carabao Cup, so some assumed he would be quite reserved if deployed in the middle of the park. But Dendoncker has proven to be a willing runner.
On if his goal against the Cottagers – that all-but sealed seventh before Manchester City made sure of it by beating Leicester on Monday – was any sweeter after he gave away the momentum-shifting penalty in the FA Cup semi-final loss to Watford, Nuno said: “I’m happy for him. I’m happy for the team. We lost in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and it was a very hard moment for us. But we lose as a team, Leander doesn’t have to say anything else about that.
“I’m happy for him, but I’m happy because did you see the amount of ground he covered? It’s amazing. It’s special.”
Just how special is it though? Well, in his 18 Premier League appearances – 16 as a starter – Dendoncker has run 173.08km, which averages out to 9.62km per match (just under six miles).
And his per game distance is better than each of Liverpool’s main midfielders – Georginio Wijnaldum (9.48km), Fabinho (8.84km), James Milner (8.22km) and Jordan Henderson
Manchester United’s Fred also covers less ground a match than the rangy Belgian (7.99km), as do Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic (7.11km), Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan (8.48km), Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko (8.95km) and Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira (9.01km).
As you probably predicted, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante runs more than Dendoncker (10.94km).
Blues midfield partner Jorginho does too (10.96). But the man who tops the charts might surprise you.
Burnley’s Jack Cork is the true marathon man as he runs a whopping 11.92km a match.
Dendoncker will be aiming to at least reduce the gap between him and front-runner Cork next campaign – and he will also be looking to top the Wolves charts.
As while the main quality he brings is his top-drawer technique, Ruben Neves puts plenty of hard yards in – 10.67km a match.
Joao Moutinho (9.57km) and Raul Jimenez (9.05km) have impressive figures too.