David Brockett casts his eye over St Mirren midfielder Lewis Morgan in his latest SPFL Development League scouting report.
Following the success of fellow academy graduates Stephen Mallan, John McGinn and Kenny McLean, Morgan could be the next to establish himself as a regular in the starting XI from the Buddies’ five-star rated youth academy at Ralston.
The highly-thought of attacking midfielder joined Saints from Rangers in September 2012, making his first-team bow against Celtic last term. Morgan has also signed a new deal with the Paisley side, committing his future until 2017.
Playing in each of the front three attacking positions, Morgan played the full 90 minutes in Wednesday evening’s 2-1 win against Partick Thistle, in which Saints hit back to extend their unbeaten run to nine matches. The result sees them leapfrog Celtic into third place, with Morgan having found the net three times this season.
Starting on the left of an attacking 4-3-3 formation, Morgan used his speed effectively to stretch the Thistle defence from the outset. Hugging the touchline and injecting some pace into a Saints team who went a goal down, his acceleration will see him prove tricky for most defenders to pick up. Morgan’s direct approach sees him confidently run at opponents, keen to dribble his way into attacking positions. This confidence saw him successfully complete six of his attempted seven take-ons in Wednesday evening’s clash.
Morgan’s versatility with regards to positioning is another example of why academy boss David Longwell and manager Ian Murray have elevated Morgan to the first-team squad. Following the introduction of striker Dylan Pooler, Morgan also moved up top and led the line well. He was then tasked with playing to the right of this attacking trio with not quite as much joy.
When on either flank and playing as an inside winger, Morgan’s pace allows ample space to cross into the box. Adept at using both feet, five of his attempted six crosses were either driven or whipped in between Thistle goalkeeper Marc Waters and the central defensive pairing of Scot Whiteside and David Wilson.
Despite being one of St Mirren’s primary attacking outlets, his defensive contribution is significantly higher than that of a typical attacking midfielder. With Saints opting for a largely possession-based philosophy, their, and in particular Morgan’s, high-pressing game ensures defenders make rash decisions or clearances, thus allowing them to regain the ball and start building from the back once more.
Key strengths: Pace, dribbling, versatility, crossing, work rate,