David Brockett casts his eye over Motherwell striker Dylan Mackin in his latest SPFL Development League scouting report.
Having made his Motherwell Under 20 debut as a 16-year-old, Dylan Mackin is now one of the most established members of the Steelmen’s Development League side.
With current U20 boss Stephen Craigan overseeing first-team affairs, Well stalwart Keith Lasley selected Mackin for the fourth consecutive match and he was on target in the 3-2 defeat to St Mirren in Paisley.
Deployed as the lone striker in a 4-3-2-1 formation, the versatile forward adapts well to various situations. While Motherwell are keen to adopt a pass and move philosophy, the 6’ 1” striker can be a very effective target man.
Mackin, who came through the Motherwell Youth Academy, used his body well to both bring down and lay off any long balls to the advancing wide players. Although it may not be a tactic that will be attempted often at U20 level, Mackin won seven of his attempted 10 headers, thus displaying its effectiveness.
Playing primarily on his own up front, Mackin also drifts out to each channel in order to supplement any attacks. Technically adept, Mackin’s movement and crosses are another area of strength. His ability to play inviting deliveries with pace troubled the Saints defence, twice picking out Ross MacLean at the back post.
Perhaps most comfortable leading the line, a prominent feature of his game is his ability to play on the shoulders of opposition defenders. Although not the quickest over a long distance, Mackin’s burst of pace over five to 10 yards can see him accelerate away from the covering defenders and into space.
In addition, his awareness and movement in the final third creates numerous openings for his team-mates. On three occasions he made fantastic runs that dragged St Mirren defenders out of position to create space for the overlapping wingers.
Grabbing 11 goals in the 2014/15 Development League campaign, it is evident Mackin has a nose for goal. While far from the finished article, it took just six minutes of Tuesday’s match for him to net his second goal of the season.
Capitalising on a mistake at the back, Mackin showed great anticipation and composure to nick the ball from the toe of Buddies defender Luke Conlan, before lifting it over keeper Dan Wilks to open the scoring. Similarly, when Wilks was penalised for ‘the six-second rule’, Mackin showed instinctive awareness to slip the ball to Dylan Falconer, and ultimately assisting the goal.
While Craigan has a plethora of strikers at his disposal, he may bring players he has worked with at U20 level into the first-team fold, with 18-year-old Mackin sure to make the breakthrough in the months to come.
Key Strengths - Jumping, Heading, Composure, Anticipation, Finishing.