19 Defender Bayer Leverkusen Croatia
The active playing career for any professional is ridiculously short. The luckiest will manage to play to their best for somewhere close to 12 years before their body and/or mind ultimately give up. As such, spending over 200 days injured in a single year is far from ideal.
Unfortunately for Tin Jedvaj that has been the story of his 2015. A series of muscle injuries – his thighs and hamstrings appear to be the major locations of worry – mean that Tin will finish 2015 having featured in just nine Bundesliga matches for Bayer Leverkusen. His current hamstring problem means he won’t be back in action until after the German top flight returns from its winter break.
2015 has been…
Nine league appearances in a single year simply isn’t enough; and that is true for basically every footballer on the planet. It is especially true when you are a 19 year-old trying to improve as a player and cement yourself a regular place in a Bundesliga team.
When he isn’t under the care of the medical team, there is a lot to like about Tin which makes his inability to break through at Roma all the more perplexing. Strong, quick and composed he has shown himself to be a versatile player in his short career so far. He got his first break with Leverkusen playing at right-back where he looked happy to get up and down the line, although his distribution was a little lacking.
That said he has the build and look of a centre-back and that should be the role he eventually nails down as his specialist position. Jedvaj is an excellent tackler and his reading of the game was improving with the regular playing time he enjoyed this time last year. Tin does commit himself early from time to time; jumping into a challenge rather than simply electing to contain the situation and that decision making will need to improve.
It was while deployed at full-back that he scored his only two Bundesliga goals in his second and third league games for Leverkusen. Both are very different goals but showedthe natural ability and calm head that he possesses.
Having been the ‘other kid’ alongside Allen Hallolivic at Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Roma, Jedvaj’s bright start at Leverkusen did a lot for his confidence. After a difficult time in Italy, the loan and subsequent permanent transfer to Bayer looked like a perfect fit for the defender when it was announced in January. Unfortunately since becoming a permanent fixture of the Leverkusen squad he has barely had any playing time.
However, neither club will be panicking. Roma have avoided being shackled with an injury prone youngster that failed to settle; whereas Leverkusen will be encouraged by what they saw this time last year. They will give him time to get back to full fitness.
It remains to be seen who will be eventually vindicated.
D Nowhere near enough time on the pitch
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