Derby County’s Krystian Bielik has come under fire this season yet he betters Stoke City’s Joe Allen and West Bromwich Albion’s Jake Livermore in key categories.
The Rams signed Bielik from Premier League side Arsenal in the summer.
Reports claim Derby paid a fee which would rise to £10 million. Such a heavy fee raises expectations, and Bielik has been targeted because of his price-tag by some supporters.
The Poland international has been a mainstay in Derby’s XI since gaining his fitness. He has started 11 Championship games – some in defence, some in midfield.
But recent struggles and defeats on the road to the likes of Charlton Athletic and Hull City have prompted some supporters to single Bielik out for criticism.
It’s worth remembering Derby didn’t sign the Pole as a ready-made established player. The Rams signed him for a large fee due to his evident big potential.
For a bit of perspective, Bielik is one year younger than left-back Max Lowe.
But having said that, the former Arsenal man has shown plenty of ability in a Derby shirt. In fact, he is among the Championship’s best players in two key defensive categories.
According to statistical website Whoscored, Bielik averages 2.8 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per game. He is in the league’s top five midfielders for average number of tackles.
He produces more defensive work than West Bromwich Albion skipper Jake Livermore. And more than former Premier League man Joe Allen. Bielik even produces more interceptions and effective clearances than Leeds United’s £20m-rated ace Kalvin Phillips.
Bielik has work to do when it comes to his possession game. However, that will no doubt improve in time and with better teammates around him.