Conor Hourihane is enjoying an excellent season.
The 25 year old scored 10 goals last season as Barnsley earned promotion to the Championship, and his eye-catching performances have continued this season.
The Barnsley skipper has adapted seamlessly to Championship life, and the statistics show that the Irish midfielder is one of the most important players in the league.
His performances earned him the Championship Player of the Month award in August, and the 25 year old has gone from strength to strength since.
Hourihane has a WhoScored.com rating of 7.83, making him the highest ranked player in the division.
The Cork native has made more tackles (54) than any other Championship player. The fact that the Irish midfielder averages just one foul per game makes this stat even more impressive.
He also ranks fourth in the league in terms of interceptions, with 52 to his name already this season.
Hourihane dictates play for Barnsley, and averages 55.3 passes per match. In contrast, Andy Yiadom has the second highest average for the club, at 41.3 passes per game.
The midfielder is comfortable in possession, but is not content to merely pass the ball sideways and backwards. According to Sky Sports, only Jonjo Shelvey (34.5%) has played a higher proportion of his total passes forwards than the Irishman (33.9%).
Hourihane has provided five league assists this season, including a delightful cross for Marley Watkins’ goal in Barnsley’s 5-2 home defeat to Nottingham Forest on Friday night.
The Irish central midfielder also has a wicked delivery from set pieces, and he boasts a league high average of 0.7 key passes per game from free-kicks. One of Hourihane’s three league goals also came via an excellent free-kick.
The former Sunderland academy player has been linked with moves to a bigger club in recent months, with Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic said to be interested in the dynamic midfielder.
Hourihane has represented Ireland at u19 and u21 level, but is awaiting his first call up to the senior squad.
Martin O’Neill will surely be interested in Hourihane, who could be a successor to Glenn Whelan in the Irish midfield.