Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser is extremely cool. He’s super fast, loves running at defenders, can muscle his way into and around the penalty area almost at will, and when he gets there, he’s pretty good at slipping the ball to a teammate or smashing it at the goal himself. These traits are common among Premier League wingers, and alone are enough to make a player fun to watch. But what makes Fraser considerably cooler than your average mid-table wide man is the way he does all of that while looking like the world’s stockiest baby.
Fraser, you see, is short. Really short. He’s 5-foot-4, to be exact. This makes him the shortest player in the Premier League. Pedro and N’Golo Kanté might be small at 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-6, respectively, but Fraser is tiny. And, with the 5-foot-5 Nathan Dyer getting relegated last season with Swansea, Bournemouth’s miniature Scotsman is the only and therefore the best of the league’s super-duper-short contingent.
Fraser’s isn’t the frail sort of shortness, though. The Scot packs considerable muscle onto that diminutive frame, and his stoutness makes his low cruising altitude even starker. Watching his compact build with its thick chest and tree-trunk thighs motor past relative giants as he burns down the touchline gives the impression of watching a large brick with wheels.
Seeing athletes with body types outside of the norm succeed is always cool, be it fat guy touchdowns or short guy dunks or Peter Crouch. Fraser’s body could easily make him a humorous cult figure were he not as legitimately good as he is. As he showed in his dominating display against Leicester City this weekend, his talent has much more to do with the appeal of following him than his than his height:
Fraser’s man of the match performance in Bournemouth’s 4-2 victory over Leicester included two goals and an assist. So far this season he leads the team, currently in fifth place in the league table, in goals (3), assists (2), and chances created (11, six of them classified as big chances). He’s long been seen as one of Bournemouth’s most promising young talents, and at 24 years old, with the trust of his manager (Fraser’s played every single minute of the league campaign) and the confidence in his abilities, he’s perfectly set up to have a real breakout season.
Fraser might never find himself the tallest guy on the pitch, but the size of his impact regularly dwarfs that of the nominally bigger guys around him. Even when it doesn’t, it never gets old watching the little guy try.