18th September 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
When AS Roma announced the signing of Rick Karsdorp from Feyenoord in a deal worth an initial €14 million, excitement had to be tempered due to the knee injury he was suffering.
After initially damaging his knee on international duty for Holland back in April, an ailment he played through by using injections at the back end of last season, Roma's medical team discovered he'd require arthroscopic surgery on a small lesion on his anterior meniscus to clear up the problem and alleviate Karsdorp from any future pain.
While the operation in July was a success, the Dutchman's rehabilitation ensured he'd be on the sidelines for a decent amount of time. It was hoped he'd be available for Roma's season opener in August against Atalanta. However, it quickly became apparent he'd need a little longer to recover.
Rick Karsdrop Returns to Training
One big step on his road to recovery was the fact he returned to training last week, which signified vital progress and that he should be back to full fitness and ready to play come October. Interestingly, his main rival for the starting right-back slot, Bruno Peres, also returned from injury last week. With the pair sure to undergo a captivating duel to see who can gain the top spot. Eusebio Di Francesco, the Giallorossi's coach, will just be grateful his crisis at right-back will soon be over, especially considering Alessandro Florenzi, another man capable of playing the position, has just rejoined training too.
Following his wonderful development over the past couple of seasons especially, expectations are high that Karsdrop can continue his upward trajectory and become Roma's undisputed number one in his nominal position. At the 22-year-old's unveiling, Roma's renowned sporting director, Monchi, expressed his happiness at securing his services. "Despite his young age, Rick has already shown he possesses great talent," Monchi said.
"We are delighted to be able to sign him, and are certain that his attributes will fit in well with the way coach Eusebio Di Francesco wants to play."
Di Francesco will be chomping at the bit for the exciting Karsdorp to get back to full fitness, for the converted fullback offers immense pace, dynamism and attacking energy. His impressive physicality, which is highlighted by his aforementioned pace, also sees him possess an enviable leap and powerful strength.
Last Season's Stats for Karsdorp
Moreover, his skills with the ball at his feet, that were clearly well honed during his initial development as a right winger, see him very effective at creating chances, providing assists, being vital in possession construction phases and dribbling forward competently.
His creativity and incision on the offensive end is well illustrated by the numbers that state he manufactured more chances (14) than any other defender in the Eredivisie. So it will be expected the man that also possesses such domineering running power and a strong crossing armoury will contribute heavily going forward.
Karsdorp, whose conversations with Roma star Kevin Strootman were crucial in his decision to join Roma, is keenly looking forward to developing his craft within the confines of Roma's talented squad, but also to particularly focus bettering the defensive side of the game.
"I can improve the defensive side of my game," he insisted. "I've been playing in this position for three years and I'm still learning but getting better all the time.
"I know defending is a lot tighter and stronger than in the Netherlands. I can improve on this part so I look forward to learning in training. In attack, I will just do my thing like I did in the Netherlands. Then everything will be fine."
All in all, despite his start to life with the Wolves being interrupted by injury, once he's ready for action, the Roma faithful won't be disappointed with what the multifaceted Karsdorp will bring to the table.