Last year, right about this time, we were all pretty chuffed about the signing of a young, speedy, attack-minded right back from Feyenoord. The second signing in the Monchi era, Rick Karsdorp, came to Roma with much hype as a right back for the present and the future and one who would finally bring some stability to the Roma’s constant struggles at the position. Alas, things didn’t work out quite so well for the Dutch Boy last season as he tore his ACL (sigh) after just 82 minutes of league play. However, now fully recovered, Karsdorp will look to get some consistent minutes under his belt and challenge Alessandro Florenzi and Davide Santon for the starting right back position.
Number Eight: Rick Karsdorp
Position: Right Back
Prior Club: Feyenoord (Netherlands)
Current Club: Roma
Rank Last Year: 4
Future Comparison: Antonio Valencia
Ink level: Simon Kjaer
Who is He?
He’s fast, he hardworking, he loves to get forward and he can cross the ball really well. Even in the only game he played last season, Karsdorp showed a lot of ability in the front half of the field, linking up with Cengiz Under and Edin Dzeko to good effect . Defensively, his performances in the Eredivisie were adequate but we’re yet to see how well he’ll perform dealing with higher quality Serie A and Champions League teams on a regular basis. Signs from pre-season have been encouraging with Karsdorp clearly at ease at Trigoria and already seems to have a good grasp of Eusebio di Francesco’s tactical needs.
What Can He Become?
He could turn into a solid long-term solution for Netherlands and Roma’s turbulent right back position (seriously, when was the last time we had a set-and-forget fullback?). Despite his injury-plagued season, the ceiling is still high for Karsdorp given his age, athleticism and raw footballing ability. We, as fans, are often very quick to dismiss players when they don’t perform right away but with Karsdorp, patience will be needed. If there’s one thing Eusebio di Francesco does extremely well, its his management of minutes for the development of young players (see: Cengiz Under). Karsdorp will likely be eased into the first team in the first few months of the season and only see regular action towards the second part of the year. As long as he can stay out of the Doctor’s office, Slick Rick will get plenty of chances to showcase his ability this year and one hopes for his and Roma’s sake that he’ll be up for it.