LIAM DONNELLY'S reinvention as a holding midfielder at Fir Park has made the headlines so far this season after a superb goalscoring run that has left the Northern Irishman as one of the league's top scorers at this early stage of the season.

But there's another man in Lanarkshire that has perhaps flown under the radar as a result: Liam Polworth.

The former Inverness midfielder joined Stephen Robinson's side in the summer after eight years in the Highlands and the 24-year-old has wasted no time in becoming one of the first names on the Motherwell team sheet.

After 11 appearances in all competitions so far this season, Polworth has already racked up six assists; three in the League Cup, and another three in the Premiership.

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Only Celtic winger James Forrest has set up more goals in the league than Polworth has so far, but when we dig into the numbers behind these assists we can see the true value that Polworth brings to his new team.

Expected assists (xA) work in much the same way that expected goals (xG) do; the metric measures how likely a pass is to result in a goal. And while Forrest leads the way in terms of assists, Polworth has the highest xA of any Premiership player at this stage of the season.

Polworth has an xA of 3.18, which just about marries up with his three league assists, whereas Forrest, for example, has an aggregate xA of 1.05. This tells us that while the Celtic winger might have laid off more goals than Polworth, the chances he has created have had a relatively low probibility of finding the net. As it stands, no top-flight player has made as many good chances as the Motherwell midfielder.

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On top of this Polworth has two secondary assists - passes which lead to an assist - which is the joint-highest total in the Premiership. These have arrived primarily through corner kicks as Polworth usually takes set-pieces for the Steelmen. For an example, look at Devante Cole's goal in Motherwell's 1-0 win over St Johnstone last weekend; Polworth hit the corner, Declan Gallagher headed it back across goal and Cole turned it in from close range. Gallagher gets the assist, but Polworth gets the secondary assist.

This is no flash in the pan, either. At Inverness, Polworth consistently topped the Championship's assist charts. In the 2017/18 season, the playmaker finished the campaign with 25 assists in all competitions: a truly remarkable return. Last season, Polworth set up 21 goals for his team-mates.

Polworth's output in Scotland's second tier was consistently brilliant and his early-season run of form suggests that he will not be slowing down any time soon. The 24-year-old has taken the step up to the Premiership with consummate ease and will surely be a crucial player for Robinson as the season continues. There is now a serious argument to be made that not only is Polworth Motherwell's most creative player: he might just be the best in the league.