Roma fullback Rick Karsdorp has enjoyed a renaissance season in the Italian capital this year and conceded that he was determined to show his worth when he returned to club last summer.
The Dutchman joined Roma from Feyenoord in the summer of 2017, but his first two seasons were marred by injuries, which limited him to only 15 appearances. The defender returned to the Rotterdam-based side in the summer 2019 in order to get back into form and play with continuity — but once again, he dealt with numerous injuries before COVID-19 prematurely ended the remainder of the Eredivisie campaign.
Upon returning to Roma this summer, it was widely believed that the club would try to offload Karsdorp and end his nightmare tenure in Italy. However, once it became clear that manager Paulo Fonseca was ready to hand him one last chance with the Giallorossi and he was still with the team once the transfer window closed, Karsdorp has flourished under the Portuguese tactician.
“I showed very little in my first two years at Roma, but I felt much better when I returned to the club and spoke with Fonseca and the club’s management with my new agent,” he said in a recent interview with Dutch outlet ad.nl.
“I started in the first match against Hellas Verona and it went really well, but I suffered a minor strain in my hamstring. It kept me out for three games, but once I returned, I’ve pretty much played in every single fixture.”
“They were willing to give me another chance and I proved myself. The team started playing in a new formation and I seemed to fit much better. However, the main difference is that I’m fit, this was the biggest issue previously. Even when I returned to Feyenoord on loan, I couldn’t prove myself because I kept suffering physical setbacks.”
He continued, “I also adapted much better this time when I returned to Italy. When I initially joined Roma, the only person I knew was Kevin Strootman. I had to get used to life in a new country and football in a new league. Even though Kevin and another Dutchman, Justin Kluivert, are gone, I get on well with guys in the team.”
As for the tactical differences under Paulo Fonseca, the 26 year-old explained that the 3-4-2-1 formation that the team adopted late last season suits him well.
“Like Spinazzola does on the left, I’m asked to attack on the right and this way of playing suits me,” he stated.
“I also have a good grasp on the 4-3-3, which I played in under Di Francesco and previously at Feyenoord, but it’s different than how we play now. I’ve always enjoyed getting forward, but I repeat – the biggest difference has been my physical condition. Fitness is everything, I wasn’t able to play a full ninety minutes, but this is no longer an issue.”