Aston Villa move could point to James Ward-Prowse move
Aston Villa has appointed Austin MacPhee as the club’s new set pieces coach after Dean Smith wanted to add more specialist staff to his backstage staff.
MacPhee recently worked in Denmark with FC Midtjylland and had great success revolutionizing the way clubs now approach set pieces in the Superliga.
The Scotsman has also held positions with Hearts and St. Mirren, but now working at Bodymoor Heath, MacPhee will appreciate the opportunity to immerse himself in Premier League tactics.
Last season, Midtjylland center-backs Alexander Scholz and Erik Sviatchenko scored eight goals in total in the three months since MacPhee’s appointment to the Danish club, but there’s a lot more to do than send the big ones rear players.
MacPhee will also balance his work with Villa with his international duties with Northern Ireland next season.
It was during MacPhee’s time at Hearts from 2016 to 2020 that he gained a reputation for developing imaginative corner and free kick routines and oftentimes MacPhee will also be crafting incredibly detailed pre-match analysis documents. .
After noting each player’s work on and off the ball, and what forms they take when their team holds the ball, MacPhee also details the intricacies of set pieces in the offensive and defensive phases.
Exploring detail pages of a game’s “predicted flows” and evaluating microscopic patterns in deadball and set pieces routines, MacPhee has made a career of being one of the best in the business, and the results show it.
Next season, after Villa makes a deal to sign Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen, the Jamaican will work closely with MacPhee to maximize his exit from dead ball situations.
The new £ 30million Villa man has scored three free kicks for Leverkusen during his stay in Germany, including two against Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
Villa has also been heavily linked with James Ward-Prowse this summer and is expected to make a second offer for the Southampton captain this summer, after seeing an initial £ 25million offer rejected last month.
Ward-Prowse’s expertise does not need to be presented. The England international has the best free-kick conversion rate of any Premier League player who has taken 50 or more since the 2003/04 season.