Derby V West Ham Head To Head

 JOHNSONCARRICKAPPEARANCESMinutes on pitch180180GOAL ATTEMPTSGoals00PASSINGPasses7574Passing Accuracy72%78%DEFENDINGInterceptions22Clearances12Tackles made97Tackles won %78%86%DISCIPLINEFouls20Yellow Cards00Red Cards00INDEX SCORE792676First Goalscorer Odds16/116/1Secure, tax-free online betting with Seth Johnson v Michael Carrick


Two young Englishmen with the unenviable task of following up that win over the Germans with something better in years to come will meet at Pride Park on Saturday. Seth Johnson and Michael Carrick have each already featured for their country and are certainly players for the future, but for the moment it is club football that must occupy their minds.

Johnson, the current subject of transfer interest from Rangers, has had a reasonable start to the season, recording a pass completion rate of 72% in his two games so far. His distribution was far from exceptional last season - just two-thirds of his passes found their intended target during 2000-01 - and Jim Smith will be pleased to see that he is developing as a player in this respect.

There has rarely been a question mark over Carrick's passing of course. He is currently distributing the ball with a 78% level of accuracy and has already been successful with more passes than any of his midfield colleagues at West Ham. If he continues to maintain this level of quality in his passing, he will certainly cement his place in the full England squad for many games to come.

Another crucial component of Carrick's game is his ability to challenge for and win the ball in the centre of the park. As yet, he has not made a frequent amount like last term - his tally of tackles won in 2000-01 was the third-best in the top flight, and the finest of any Englishman - but he has maintained a fine 86% level of success which will doubtless stand him in good stead for the rest of the campaign.

Johnson has also been known to get stuck in, and has in fact made more tackles than his West Ham counterpart so far this term. His level of success has been slightly inferior, but it seems likely that many an opponent will be dispossessed by the ex-Crewe man during the coming months.

Unfortunately, it also seems probable that Johnson will come to the attention of the majority of referees he faces this season, due to his 'over-enthusiasm'. He has had a tough time keeping his head since signing for the Rams, and received ten bookings in all last term. He was also red-carded during Derby's defeat at Bradford in April, causing him to miss the opening fixture of the 2001-02 season through suspension, and he will need to curb his indiscipline this season.

Perhaps Johnson could take lessons in discipline from Carrick, who is yet to concede a single foul this term.

Needless to say, following a week of high international drama in which each player was involved at either full or under-21 level, it may be tough to come back to earth with a run-of-the-mill league game. However, these two players are likely to be able to forget all else and concentrate on the task at hand, and are offering 16/1 on a 2-2 draw, with each player doing their bit to secure a point for their side.

Chris Green.