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Playmaker's EFL 72: #34 Matt Smith

2024/04/25 23:43

Playmaker's countdown of the EFL's best performers this season is whipping along nicely as we head in to the early thirties.

It's certainly been no easy task, but - just to clarify - our '72' is less a roll call of the best footballers in the EFL and more a tribute to those players who have enjoyed the most memorable seasons while racking up the most impressive stats.

Whatever the criteria, we're confident in our selections of the most outstanding players through the Championship, League One, and League Two and welcome any debate on the subject!

In yet another underwhelming season for Salford City, as they comfortably missed out on any sort of League Two promotion challenge, their key man up-front has remained one of the bright sparks for the Ammies...

Number 34: Matt Smith (Salford City)

Standing at 6 ft 6 in, Matt Smith has notched 24 goals for Salford this season with only Notts County’s prolific Macaulay Langstaff notching more in League Two.

Ever since making a name for himself in Oldham Athletic’s shock 3-2 defeat of Liverpool in the FA Cup back in 2013, where Smith notched a brace, the now 34-year-old attacker, has tormented many a defence with his excellent aerial ability.

With 12.7 aerials won per game, no player has managed more this season in the fourth tier, with only his former Millwall teammate Harry Smith, of Sutton United, also averaging over ten aerials won per game in League Two this season.

Winning headers and scoring headers are two very different things, however, and Smith is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to the latter. Exactly half of Smith's goals this season have stemmed from his aerial excellence - the Salford striker netting FIVE more headers than any other player in 'The 92' this season. 

According to WhoScored, Smith has also managed to be Salford's Man of the Match on 16 occasions already this season which is an extremely impressive rate being nine more than any other player in the division.

Salford have struggled throughout the campaign and will finish in the bottom third of the 24-team league, scoring just 64 goals, but Smith has thrived on a personal level and accounted for over a third of those goals.

When Smith joined Salford it was seen as a real coup and a season like he has had would usually lead to suggestions he will move up a league but at the age of 34 and with City remaining ambitious, he will likely still be tasked with spearheading Salford’s push for promotion next year. 


Playmaker's EFL 72...the countdown

35: Kwame Poku 36: Illan Meslier 37: Aden Flint

38: Ronnie Edwards 39: Josh Sargent 40: Alex Gilbey 41: Ben Sheaf

42: Jobe Bellingham 43: Devante Cole 44: Jacob Greaves 45: Paddy Lane

46: Herbie Kane 47: Dan James 48: Archie Collins 49: Karamoko Dembele

50: Haji Wright 51: Dan Crowley 52: Cameron Brannagan 53: Aaron Collins

54: Andy Cook 55: Connor Shaughnessy 56: Jannik Vestergaard

57: Willy Gnonto 58: Ellis Simms 59: Charlie Hughes 60: Fatawu Isshaku

61: Sam Hoskins 62: Paul Mullin 63: Chris Martin 64: Omari Hutchinson

65: Isaac Hutchinson 66: Sam Tickle 67: Ben Hinchcliffe 68: Michał Helik

69: Lewis Wing 70: Rob Apter 71: Kyle Walker-Peters 72: Alex Palmer


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2024-04-26 01h11m by omitchellsonjones
As a football fan reading an article on Twitter, I have to say I completely agree with the inclusion of Matt Smith in the ’72 of the 72’. Despite Salford City's underwhelming season, Smith has consistently been a standout performer for the team. He's been a bright spark in an otherwise disappointing campaign and I believe he fully deserves this recognition. Well done, Matt Smith!
2024-04-26 00h58m by eedwards
As a football fan, I have to say that I completely agree with Playmaker's selection of Matt Smith in their '72 of the 72' countdown. Despite Salford City's underwhelming season, Smith has been a consistent bright spot for the team and has proven himself as their key player up-front. Well done, Matt!
2024-04-26 00h26m by lhalliday_bart
As a football fan, I love reading @playmaker's countdown of the top performers in the EFL. It's a tough task, but their '72 of the 72' pays tribute to those who've had impressive seasons. Happy to see Matt Smith recognized for his contributions to Salford City, despite their underwhelming season. What are your thoughts


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