We’ve jumped through time somewhat with this post, speeding right up to this morning and Rick Karsdorp’s Friday interview with Roma TV. Mostly because it was brief but we will wind back to the Strootman, EDF and Pellegrini interviews when possible.
The Dutch clan of Strootman, Karsdorp, Kluivert was exactly what Rick was asked about on Roma’s official channel - including Kevin Strootman being a gymrat.
It seems petty to single out just one single player this ritiro, but if anyone has looked disengaged in training it has looked like Rick Karsdorp to me. In the morning defensive line drills practicing the diagonale, Karsdorp looked like he was just going through the motions until Florenzi came on to show people what enthusiasm for tactical training looks like. That being said, by the afternoon 11 v 11 and 12 v 12 training matches, Karsdorp shut me right up.
It’s easy to see why a player wouldn’t be that into the tactical side when you can rely on the physical side of your game so much. Even after two knee operations to two separate knees, Rick hasn’t been beaten for pace to a ball once by any opponent, or any through ball. More than just being a Dutch Kyle Walker, he’s also displayed his long-range passing ability - an area where Florenzi struggled last season and could do with the competition.
Here is Karsdorp’s brief interview with Roma TV below.
(Interview actually starts before the video segment begins)
It’s your first ritiro with Roma...
Karsdorp: “It’ll be very important to play this year after a year spent in the infirmary. I hope it’s the right time to show my value to the team. It’s great to work on the pitch with the boys, who I know well after living the life in the dressing room with them for the whole of last year.”
It almost feels like we are talking to you as new signing...
(Video above comes in here)
Karsdorp: “Obviously last year I played very little so even I feel, in a way, like a new signing at Roma and in the Italian league while in Holland they already knew me. For me it’s a plus knowing what the coach expects of me but I also want to show the fans what I’m worth and pay back their warmth, and obviously pay back the club who invested in and believed a lot in me.”
How important is it for you to do the ritiro here at Trigoria?
Karsdorp: “Definitely, feeling like you’re at home is always a plus. Trigoria is like a second home for all of us. So we’re perfectly in our comfort zone in this atmosphere, we have the kind of infrastructures where we can make the most of, we have our own bedrooms, pitches ... it’s a top complex here at Trigoria. In general it’s important to live life as a group in this period, we spend all day together, we train, we go to the gym, the breaks, the snacks... so let’s say this time of the year is important for moulding the group and something that we’ll find important in the future as the year moves forward.”
Justin Kluivert has also arrived at the club, and he looks almost identifical to his father. He’s the third Dutchman here. Does you like there being a Dutch group here?
Karsdorp: “Yes well it’s always nice to find your countrymen. Another thing is Justin is my roommate during this ritiro and it’s important because sometimes you just feel to speak your own language, you can do it freely and you feel at ease. And it’s also the opportunity to establish a friendship that goes beyond the pitch. That goes for both Kevin as it does for Justin. They’re both young guys and Justin has just arrived at 19 years old, so in that sense I hope to be able to give him a hand.”
Do you have any personal goals that you want to achieve? And any team goals?
Karsdorp: “Winning the Champions League...” (laughs)
And the Scudetto. Yes, OK thank you for speaking with us Rick Karsdorp (laughs)...
Karsdorp: “Jokes aside, I don’t want to get myself caught up in targets after the kind of year that just went by. I just want to play and be well physically.”
We’ll leave to your work now because we know you have to start the day in the gym. How do you manage to get Kevin out of the gym? How do you do it?
Karsdorp: “Kevin is a top professional. Sometimes I see him two hours before a training session working in the gym and I ask him: ‘What are you doing? Training starts in just a few hours.’ But in reality, it’s the right way to train and he’s getting this idea across to me. I also had the same injury as him and so it’s important, actually indispendable, working up a sweat in the gym because it also counts for finding yourself back in top form in this line of work.”