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Resurgence of Rick Karsdorp at Roma

The future of Rick Karsdorp at Roma seemed uncertain at best last season. The Dutch right-back played very few games in Serie A and was loaned out back to his former club Feyenoord.

Fast forward to this season. Karsdorp is a regular starter for Roma and has just signed an extension keeping him at the club until 2025. What changed in the last 12 months?

Rick Karsdorp Reborn in 2020/21

Early Struggles

Rick Karsdorp made his move to the Italian capital in July of 2017. His signing was made as a replacement for Alessandro Florenzi in the long run, as he was coming off a second ACL injury that sidelined him for 295 days. Bruno Peres was also brought in the season prior as a short-term solution.

Unfortunately for Roma, Karsdorp didn’t turn out to be the prospect they expected. The 22-year-old struggled to make an impact from right-back in a four at the back system. Injuries and lack of form resulted in only 15 appearances in two seasons at Roma. In the 2019/20 season, the Dutchman was loaned back to Feyenoord. Many expected this move to signify the end of the Dutchman’s career at Roma.

Karsdorp’s Return Under Paolo Fonseca

Rick Karsdorp returned to Serie A after an average loan spell. However, playing consistent minutes helped him get his form back. Things started to look up for Karsdorp at Roma when manager Paulo Fonseca switched the tactics from a back four to a back three with two attacking wing-backs. This shift allowed Karsdorp to show his offensive strengths, as well as undermining his defensive limitations, mainly marking and positioning.

He earned the team’s trust and became a regular starter, making 23 appearances in 26 league games played so far. Karsdorp is currently the joint best defender in terms of assists in the league with five, competing with JuventusJuan Cuadrado. He also created seven chances, as many as Lorenzo Insigne, Lautaro Martinez and Sergej Milinković-Savić. Injuries have plagued the 26-year-old’s career, but this season he was able to stay fit.

By extending his contract for another four years, it seems that Karsdorp will be part of Fonseca’s plans going forward. The club is desperate to get back in the Champions League. New owner Dan Friedkin is looking to change Roma’s status from a selling club to a regular top-four contender.

Currently fifth but two points behind Atalanta with a game in hand, Roma have every right to believe in a Champions League finish. After their 3-0 home win against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League round of 16, Roma will be hoping to make a deeper run than last season in the competition.

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