The fifth instalment of OptaPro’s analytical World Cup player profiles focuses on Moroccan international Amine Harit.
Amine Harit is a name that those in Germany will be familiar with due to his dazzling performances in the Bundesliga this season, with his form at Schalke leading to him being crowned as the Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Season.
Having represented France 24 times at all levels from U18s to U21s, Harit decided to pledge his allegiance to the Moroccan national team, his parents’ country of birth.
Having watched him in detail during his time at Nantes (during a previous life as an Opta data collector), there is no doubt surrounding his talent. He made 34 appearances that season, although only completed 90 minutes on half of the occasions.
Alongside his technical ability, Harit’s versatility is one of his many strengths. He has been deployed all across the midfield and has also been pushed higher up the pitch. Predominately lining up on the left of a midfield four for Nantes, under Domenico Tedesco at Schalke he has been utilised more centrally.
The creative crown
Arrogance on the pitch isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be an indicator that a player is not afraid to take responsibility, and this is a trait we can associate with Harit. This presence, combined with a composed ability to cleverly craft his way past his defender, sees him average 2.3 successful take-ons per 90 minutes, the seventh highest of all players aged 20 and under in the top five European leagues. Harit’s final season in France showcased further evidence as he averaged 3.6 take-ons p90, ranking second only behind Mr. Take-On himself; Allan Saint-Maximin (4.9).
He is a serial-chance creator and has that rare ability to completely takeover games, which given his age, makes it all the more special. In 2017/18, he ranked fourth highest in chances created by young players across Europe’s top five leagues, behind only Leon Bailey, Federico Chiesa and Kylian Mbappe.
Harit has a tendency to come deep to receive the ball, possessing a short and sharp double move to get away from his marker. 68% of the passes he receives are collected from outside the final third and the Moroccan is a key cog in Schalke’s attack. Only Konoplyanka was involved in more shot-ending sequences last season for the Bundesliga side.
Although Harit tends to play his football facing defences, he can also play in tight areas and with his back to goal. He has a tendency to play a cushioned layoff leading to a darting third man forward run which is the catalyst to intensify the change of speed in Schalke’s attacks.
Amine Harit was a standout player in South Korea at the 2017 U20 World Cup for France, alongside Jean-Kevin Augustin and Ludovic Blas. He finished the tournament by creating a chance on average every 18.2 minutes (14), which works out to a chance created every 17.6 touches on the ball.
Still only 20 years of age, this player has a bright future in front of him, especially with Schalke playing Champions League football next season. Now has the chance to showcase his talent on the big stages. With the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Medhi Benatia and Achraf Hakimi (amongst others) it will be interesting to see how Morocco fair in a tough group alongside Alireza’s Jahanbakhsh’s Iran.