Khan currently turns out for League Two Yeovil Town. He’s just 22 years old and starts of the left. He joined the Manchester United academy aged 7, spending 10 years there. Khan then joined Sheffield United where he spent three years on loan in the Conference and Conference North.
The Pakistani winger has since enjoyed two seasons in League Two with Yeovil. The first time he’s received a full season’s worth of game time.
Khan reportedly has a £100,000 release clause. In the January window Yeovil confirmed that several offers had come in, several meeting the release clause. Including League One Bristol Rovers, who Khan rejected.
Lots of teams are said to be monitoring the young winger, including Bradford, Wigan, Forest Green, Luton and Preston.
With the talented winger looking to move for a decent fee this summer and a player that had caught my eye when I’ve seen him play before, I decided to look further into him. This is my third article on EFL players, with a large EFL project coming in summer. I’ve already written about Marc McNulty and Mo Eisa.
Why you keep hearing about Mo Eisa
Mo Eisa is a name you’re going to start hearing a lot. If you haven’t already. Eisa currently turns out for Cheltenham…
On the Ball
Khan is known for his dribbling ability and speed. He is effective at keeping tight control of the ball while travelling at speed. He’s able to keep his head up and scan for options. Often, Khan will pick up the ball near half way and run at the opposition defence.
Dribbling is a really valuable asset (as explained by Tiago Estêvão), especially in lower leagues. League Two team don’t have the technical ability to play out from the back and pass around in the midfield. An effective dribbler allows the team to break midfield blocks and advance the ball quickly without resorting to long balls. This was something that my team, Cheltenham Town, lacked at times this season.
Khan is effective at getting into space in the wide channels. He’ll use body feints to create space for himself to then cross or cut in. The winger also has a lot of pace which he exploits to beat his defender and get into space.
Despite playing on the left wing Khan is very right footed. In terms of dribbling, he only really uses his right foot to control the ball. This means that he has limited flexibility and mobility on the ball. When dribbling it can be more difficult then change direction and he can end up going back on himself.
Being one footed and being an inverted winger can be inconvenient at times. In the scenario above, Khan has the ball in the wide area and the defender is slow to close him down. With a few options in the box most wingers would get to the byline and into a crossing position or cross early while in space.
Whereas Khan, hardly uses his left foot to cross and will regularly dribble back to get the ball onto his right and cross from a deeper position.
This can be frustrating at times as it can slow the attack. Khan makes good runs in the wide areas and receives the ball in dangerous space. However, he won’t normally cross first time, but has to take a touch and slow the play to shift the ball onto his right.
Movement and Shooting
As an inverted winger, Khan is constantly looking to move centrally. One way he does this is if another team mate receives the ball high in his left channel, he’ll made direct run centrally and sometimes look to get in behind and exploit his pace.
Being a good dribbler also means he is capable of creating space for himself and moving centrally. When he receives the ball wide, he can use his good first touch to move himself towards the middle of the pitch quickly.
Above you can see Otis Khan’s shot map this season in League Two.
Yellow — Open play shots
Blue — Shots from cutting in
Orange — Open play goals
Pink — Goals from cutting in
Khan scored five league goals this season from the left wing in the League. Only two came from cutting in from his wing, despite doing it regularly. This low conversion is due to his poor shot locations.
Here are shot maps of two goalscoring wingers. Mo Salah on the left and Ryan Sessegnon on the right. Looking at Khan’s, he shoots regularly from outside the box and the corner of the box. He barely gets into shooting positions in the danger zone, whereas a very high proportion of Salah’s and Sessegnon’s shots and goals are from the danger zone.
Khan is effective on counter attacks. He is able to receive the ball in space on the left, run at defenders and get into better positions to score with a low number of potential blockers. Whereas, many of his shots are effectively a waste of possession as they have a low chance of being a goal.
He can be reluctant to cross due to his weak left foot and therefore wants to dribble into the box and curl the ball to the far post. However, this has been pretty ineffective and most are off target.
Khan shows signs of good off the ball movement also. In the example above, his supporting full back is high up the pitch, allowing him to move centrally. His original diagonal run into the box wasn’t used, but he’s now in a good position. There is a ‘dog-leg’ between the right back marking Khan, and the central midfielder and winger who are closest the ball. Khan makes a good run in front of his marker and behind the back of the midfielder. This allows him to get in behind and into a dangerous area in the box.
In his Yeovil side, Khan his given a lot of freedom of movement. He quite often gets into central areas or receives the ball on the right wing, especially in transition.
Khan is a talented, fast winger with good dribbling and can retain the ball well at pace. He is a real threat and can create space for himself well. He is also a decent set piece taker and takes corners from both sides with his right foot for Yeovil.
He should improve the strength of his left foot and his decision making in the final third to improve his shooting positions and goal scoring.
Khan is only 22 and has a lot of time to improve. With the right coaching he could become a very tidy player. He showed signs of good creative passing and movement, but need to capitalise on this and make these actions more consistent. Sometimes his passing was poorly anticipated and intercepted. At the moment, he’s a solid League Two player and it will be interesting to see how he transitions to League One, assuming he does, this summer. And hopefully he can excel.
Thanks for reading. Make sure you’re following me on Twitter.