US football fans are putting their UK counterparts to shame when it comes to spotting the rising stars of the English Premier League, according to data released by fantasy football site Sportito.
North American fans were way out in front in terms of Twitter mentions in Sportito’s Under-21 Fan’s Favourite for the month survey for February, which was once again topped by Spurs’ Dele Alli.
Just under a quarter of total mentions came from the US (24 percent) while 20 percent came from Twitter users based in the UK. The Netherlands was the next biggest country with 7 percent of total mentions followed by Canada at 4 percent.
Sportito’s chief executive Riccardo Mittiga suggested that the high level of fantasy sports players in the US actually gives the region an advantage when it comes to spotting top up and coming talent in the English leagues.
He explained: “Part of being a successful fantasy football manager is knowing the relatively less famous players who are performing well and usually this means academy prospects. Usually a ‘Moneyball’ mentality for fantasy sports really educates you on the players that are breaking through, so it’s not really too surprising that US fans are getting more excited about these players than domestic fans.”
For the second month in a row, the Sportito Under-21 fan’s favourite award went to Dele Alli whose march towards Premier League greatness showed no sign of abating last month.
Social listening statistics gathered for daily fantasy sports site Sportito showed that the 20-year-old Spurs maestro, who scored his 12th league goal of the season in his team’s bounce-back victory over Stoke City at White Hart Lane on 26 February, racked up 84,884 mentions across February.
Mittiga said the global appeal of the English Premier League was once again demonstrated by the news that the US was the country where the most amount of Twitter mentions emanated. “This proves the Premier League’s dominance – that the up-and-coming talent coming out of the Premier League is exciting fans around the world is proved by this month’s survey.”
He added: “This is particularly the case with Dele Alli who is perhaps the most exciting player in world football right now. We’re delighted he has cemented his status as a fan’s favourite.”
Alli was surprisingly joined in the top three by Stoke’s Ramadan Sobhi, dubbed the “Egyptian Messi” after arriving for £5 million last summer. Sobhi, who completed 90 minutes in a Premier League match for the first time in the defeat at Spurs and caught the eye with a well-timed assist against Crystal Palace, picked up 29,376 mentions, a 447.55% increase on the previous month.
Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford held their positions in the top five with 58,691 and 27,883 mentions respectively, but Reece Oxford, fifth on January’s list, fell out of the top ten after picking up 76.21% fewer mentions in February.
The 18-year-old, who swapped the Premier League limelight for a loan spell with Reading on 31 January, has failed to get any pitch time so far with the Royals, despite making Jaap Stam’s bench for the matches against Ipswich Town, Barnsley and Brentford.
The biggest percentage jump was for eighth placed Ben Chilwell, who attracted 350.71% more mentions in February, despite only making a 45-minute league cameo at Swansea. The Leicester City academy product made the news after the Foxes’ FA Cup defeat at Millwall, where he was allegedly too scared to take throw-ins because of the crowd at The Den.
Chilwell was one of 40 Premier League players, two for each team, drawn up by SBC Media in conjunction with social media marketing agency Pilot Fish to produce exclusive data for Sportito.
The players returned a total of 231,502 mentions across 130,301 authors, with a peak date on 23 February. 23.84% of the total came from the top country for mentions, the United States.