It’s very early days for Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy at Lincoln City, but he’s already starting to show his strengths in senior football.
In his six appearances (two starts) on loan so far, Brooke Norton-Cuffy has won 19 of his 25 contested ground duels, completed 10 of his 12 attempted dribbles, and made six tackles without being dribbled past.
With the major caveat that we only have a tiny sample size, those numbers are up there with some of the league’s best.
If you filter by players to win 10 or more duels and complete 10 or more dribbles this season, Norton-Cuffy’s percentages have him 4th and 2nd in League One for the two stats respectively. And you can’t get any better than a 100% tackle-success rate.
None of this is surprising, as physicality has always been one of Norton-Cuffy’s strengths.
Before going on loan, the right-back won the majority of his ground duels, completed the majority of his dribbles, and won all of his tackles in the Arsenal u21s’ EFL Trophy campaign.
We don’t have those statistics for the Premier League 2, but from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, I would guess they would all come out with the same result.
The question hanging over every youth player is whether they can make the most of their best qualities when they step up into senior football. The early signs are good for Norton-Cuffy so far.
In his two starts, the loan right-back has created three chances including one big chance, and he’ll want to continue to build on that in the coming games.
When you have the physical beating of the opposition defender, you tend to get in some good positions to create chances.
Making the most of those chances and racking up some assists will see the teenager’s popularity at Lincoln City grow even further.
If he can maintain his form and add some assists, the question will start to shift to what’s next.
Having only recently turned 18 (in January), Norton-Cuffy has plenty of time to continue his development, and he may want to go out on another loan next season.
On this early form, you’d imagine Championship sides will be interested. You never know when he might get a pre-season chance at Arsenal too, particularly with Cedric Soares open to a summer departure.
But it’s still too early for any firm conclusions on that. For now, the Lincoln City loanee needs to keep taking things game-by-game and to try to keep his place in the team.
Lincoln travel away to Fleetwood Town on Saturday at 15:00 GMT.