Rick Karsdorp 21 Defender Feyenoord Netherlands
Rick Karsdorp has Feyenoord in his bones. The 21-year old right-back has been at the club since his ninth birthday and graduated into the first team in 2014, making his debut that August and racking up the appearances throughout 2014/15. By now, his reputation precedes him in Netherlands football.
2016 has been…
A year of gradual progress for an already established club player. Karsdorp has been Feyenoord’s first-choice right-back since the last few months of last year and played a whole bunch of first-team games before that. He was ever-present through the first twelve Eredivisie games and the first four UEFA Europa League games of 2016/17, which is just about the best summary of Karsdorp’s progress at club level; he’s there.
Despite bagging ten assists last season, Karsdorp is fairly restrained – by modern standards – in terms of overall starting position. He has enviable defensive chops. He reads danger well, has good pace on the cover and is generally very good at tidying up. In short, he’s the ideal partner for a right-sided centre-back who wants to have confidence in his full back.
It’s already clear he’s got what it takes but there are mistakes there too. He can be vulnerable in the air, and this season there have been one or two defensive decisions he’s been fortunate to get away with. We’ve seen him punished for losing his man from a cross as well, and he’s been caught dwelling on the ball.
But a good, maturing defender with plenty of upside? You bet. And it’s the same going the other way. Karsdorp is a cracking give-and-go player with confidence on the ball and a good turn of speed. He never seems rushed in possession – sometimes even when he should be – and he delivers a range of end product that shows some nous in the final third.
Occasionally his imagination is better than his execution but he knows how to pass his way out of a bind. He’s going to be a top Dutch full-back and the senior international career is underway. After playing for the Netherlands at every age level between Under-17 and Under-21, Karsdorp benefited from some withdrawals to gain his first senior call-up in March.
He eventually made his debut in a 4-1 win over Belarus in October, a game that took place at Feyenoord’s De Kuip.
With a place in the starting eleven that has his name on it week in and week out, Feyenoord is undoubtedly the best place for Karsdorp as we head into 2017. His immediate professional challenge is to add to his pair of Netherlands caps, an achievement that already has an air of inevitability.
Developmentally, there’s work to do. The mistakes and vulnerabilities will need to be ironed out over the next couple of years, because Karsdorp isn’t going to be thought of as a kid for much longer.
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