Ryan Woods started his career at Shrewsbury Town before Brentford snapped him up in 2015. He played for Brentford for 3 years before joining Stoke City for a fee of around £7 million pounds. In the 2018/19 season Woods made 27 appearances for Stoke along with 8 further league appearances this season. He struggled to get into the team consistently and therefore moved to Millwall on loan, in January, to play for his former boss Gary Rowett. In this blog, I analyse Woods’ performances, compare him to other central midfielders in the league and decide whether he would be a good signing for next season.
Millwall mainly play two formations under Rowett — a 442 and a 523. Both of these play with a 2 man midfield and Woods has slotted in to the central midfield position. Our central midfielders sit in front of our centre backs stopping the opposition threading balls through to the strikers’ feet. Millwall’s central midfielders need to be both good on the ball and just as good without the ball. They need to possess a good passing range and be able to compete and win the midfield battle physically, winning the ball back and starting the transition quickly. Playing for Millwall also requires determination and a high work rate., which also pleases us fans!
Ryan Woods is 5'8 with an average build. Despite his small frame, Woods takes small, quick strides enabling him to catch up and track runners fairly well. He isn't dominant aerially and struggles to compete often, only winning 48.3% of his aerial duels this season. On the ball, Woods is quite strong and can protect and keep the ball well under pressure. Woods also works hard for the team, closing down the opposition quickly and throwing himself in front of shots.
Woods is a tidy and intelligent midfielder who often takes 1 or 2 touches maximum. He has a good touch on both feet allowing him to turn and make those long range, cross field passes that we all know him well for. However, I feel that he sometimes tries these long range passes too often, when he also has space to drive into. He is a composed player who can dictate the play on the ball and off of it, as he often directs his teammate on where to pass the ball next. He frequently drops into pockets of space well, providing an option to the ball, while also checking his shoulders, which enable him to…