Alex Gersbach 19 Defender Rosenborg Australia
Not that Alex Gersbach has been “on the scene” for a very long time – being 19 and all that – but as soon as he had debuted in the A-League, it was obvious that a career in European football beckoned for the full-back.
He possesses all the defensive fundamentals that we would assume a coach will enjoy working with and improving upon. He does his job as a defender competently. His positioning is generally good. He fronts up well and usually makes the smart decision when trying to a stop an attacker one-on-one.
Going forward is where the problems lie, but they aren’t many better problems to have. We’ve generally always figured that teaching a good defender to attack is better for a team’s clean sheet record than teaching a good attacker to defend and possibly even easier? (That theory is based on zero evidence). In a team that expects to clean up in domestic competitions, he’ll have plenty of chances to work on that.
2016 has been…
No matter how much they might have protested otherwise no person will have ever truly enjoyed swapping the idyllic Sydney lifestyle of sun, sea and sand for the slightly tougher surroundings of Norway where the sun is up during the winter for five hours on a good day.
For a teenager having to make that switch and settle into his new football environment as quickly as possible, it is fair to say that Alex has done pretty well. He benefitted hugely from the fact that he joined a team that managed to start the season well and were able to lead from the front.
Rosenborg romped to the league title in Norway and added the cup just last weekend. Gersbach has been able to settle into the team and get blooded in with good pressure on his shoulders, rather than it being a stressful experience.
The last time Rosenborg finished outside the top three in the Norwegian top flight was 2008. Alex can expect to be playing in a team that will do more winning than losing in the next couple of years, and if he wants to play at a higher level he will need to spend that time working on his attacking output.
He is getting there. He spends more time in the opposition half than the other defenders in the Rosenborg squad, appears as though he enjoys being on the ball and tries his best to get forward – but the quality of his output in the final third needs to be better.
That will be the big blocker between Alex and making the next step up – whether that is to a new club or to becoming the regular full-back for his national team.
The role of the full-back has become more and more important to the success of team as the wide forward players tend to drift instead onto their stronger foot. Alex’s struggles in that area are enough to put some people off right now.
B Excellent year but still plenty of improving to do
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