Connect with us

Talent Radar

Talent Radar | Top 10 Best Young Players at the World Cup: #4 Ricardo Rodriguez


As the World Cup draws to a close and teams, players, coaches, pundits & fans alike reflect on what was and what could have been, we at Outside of the Boot under our Talent Radar feature recognise the best young players at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The eligibility criteria for this list are all those players who were 21 and below at the start of the 2013/14 season (taken as June 1st 2013).


Ricardo Rodriguez World Cup Talent


 

What was expected of him? Switzerland came into the World Cup with a whole host of youngsters in their squad all of whom were at the top of their game with considerable first team experience in the past season or two. Ricardo Rodriguez, among them, was the standout performer and the one expected to be the first name on the team-sheet with almost no competition for his left-back spot. After a season where he was recognised for his performances, attention was on towards Ricardo, a lot of pressure with it.

How did he perform? Switzerland counted their blessings for getting a rather easy group to navigate with an under pressure French team the only real opposition. The opening game against Ecuador was predicted to be a walk in the park for the Swiss side; it was anything but. The physicality of Ecuador compiled with the rather ineffective approach of Switzerland made the game more open than predicted with Ecuador taking the lead and looking much the better side.

Second half and up-stepped Ricardo Rodriguez. A half-time substitution saw Admir Mehmedi introduced and three minutes later he got at the end of a Rodriguez corner to equalise. But in what was proving to be the most dull fixture up till that point in the World Cup, Ecuador were looking like the more likely side and even almost got their stoppage time winner. Desperate defending from Switzerland got the ball out and a counter erupted. The move was finished off by another substitute in Haris Seferovic who got at the end of another perfect low cross from the left by Ricardo Rodriguez. A poor performance from Switzerland, won by Rodriguez.

The French were the opposition in the next game, a chance for Switzerland to put the critics behind them and justify their high FIFA ranking; a chance and justification they missed out on. The French completely marauded the Swiss attack, scoring four in the space of 23 first half minutes. Two late consolations kept the score to a respectable three goal difference, but it was a largely unimpressive performance. Ricardo Rodriguez though again was one of the better performers. Playing against the threatening duo of Valbuena and Debuchy, who were provided cover by Sissoko, Rodriguez was kept busy throughout and was forced to showcase his defensive side. He didn’t keep them quiet by any means, but his six tackles certainly show a decent image of his performance in the defensive phase. He created a couple of chances as well in attack, but the Swiss were well out-done by a superior French side. Decent from Rodriguez, defensively adept but not able to influence enough in attack.

The last game of the group stage saw the Swiss take on Honduras, with a win needed to confirm progress. The match will rightly be remembered for the combination play between Xherdan Shaqiri & Josip Drmic, but Ricardo Rodriguez was again playing a key role in defence to ensure a first-clean sheet of the tournament. Like the previous fixture, attacking influence was scarce but he was solid in the back line. His reading of the game to make interceptions were again highlighted as Honduras struggled for any creativity down the right. The game showed his ability to play smartly as part of a back line, emphasising his sound defensive work.

In what would turn out to be Ricardo Rodriguez’ last game at the World Cup with Switzerland knocked out in extra-time by Argentina, the Wolfsburg man produced his best performance and one that we’ve regularly seen from him in the Bundesliga. Faced directly against an attack comprising of Messi, Lavezzi & Zabaleta (on his side), Ricardo Rodriguez knew he had the crucial role of ensuring Argentina’s attack doesn’t realise it’s true potential at the Round of 16 game. As expected, there was not much from him in attack again; more than the previous game though, Rodriguez displayed his ability to press opponents, forcing them into errors. It was vital as to how he set-up defensively, because Switzerlands’ system required to maintain a regular shape to thwart Argentine attacks. Six tackles and four interceptions were the stats according to WhoScored, but the method in which he contained his side of the pitch was remarkable. His ability to maintain that shape, and organise the rest of his defenders almost make him as defensively solid as a central defender. The game highlighted Argentina’s ineffective attack, questions of which were raised for the rest of the tournament; credit there must be given to the Swiss left-back,

The first game against Ecuador showed what Ricardo Rodriguez is capable of in attack, but the last game against Argentina crucially showed how he sets up defensively, using his intelligence and strength to contain any attack from the opposition. Often full-backs, even the established ones, find it hard to strike that balance but Ricardo Rodriguez is well versed in his overall game.

More from Talent Radar: Ricardo Rodriguez was named Defender of the Season in our inaugural Talent Radar Young Player Awards while also making the Team of the Season. He was at #4 in our Talent Radar list of young player to watch at the World Cup and now has retained his position there. He was also named in our Talent Radar Bundesliga Youngsters’ Team of the Season. He was a regular in our Talent Radar Teams of the Week too, such as for his performance against Hamburg. The left-back also made it into our World Cup Awards, as he was named in the Best XI comprising of only Talent Radar youngsters.

Talent Radar Defender of the Season 13-14

What does the future hold for him in the national team? It’s no doubt that Switzerland’s future at the international stage is certainly bright with some young players constantly coming through. Ricardo Rodriguez is arguably one of the best young players in the World and certainly one of the best young left-backs. The left-back position of the Swiss side is his for the foreseeable future.

Other players in the list: #10 Memphis Depay | #9 Ahmed Musa | #8 Xherdan Shaqiri | #7 Paul Pogba | #6 Kevin De Bruyne | #5 Joel Campbell | #3 Raphael Varane | #2 Neymar | #1 James Rodriguez


TalentRadar Twitter New

Sami Faizullah

Sami Faizullah

Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar. Appeared in A Football Report's list of "Best in Football Writing 2012".
Sami Faizullah

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar4 hours ago

Talent Radar 2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #1: Christian Pulisic & Kurt Zouma feature

Sami Faizullah compiles the Talent Radar Young Players' Team of the Week across Europe's top seven leagues.

Talent Radar2 days ago

La Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Tom Canton lists out the 10 young players to watch in the 2017-18 La Liga season, who could have a...

Tactical Analysis3 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Juventus 2-3 Lazio | Simone Inzaghi exposes Juventus’ 4-2-3-1 weaknesses

Cheuk Hei Ho writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Italian Super Cup final that finished Juventus 2-3 Lazio

Tactical Analysis3 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City | Attacking Patterns & Transitions

Kaushik Goswami writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League opener that finished Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

Talent Radar5 days ago

Premier League’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

William Sinsky brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Premier League this season. It’s back. The...

Tactical Analysis5 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona | Real’s Pressing Excellence

Om Arvind writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Spanish Super Cup second leg that finished Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona...

Talent Radar6 days ago

Serie A’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Simone Torricini brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Serie A this season. The Under-20 World...

Tactical Analysis6 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-0 West Ham | Fluidity and exploitation

Ryan Quinn writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League game that finished Manchester United 4-0 West Ham Following the signings...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Eredivisie’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Mosope Ominiyi brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Eredivisie this season. Justin Kluivert // Ajax...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Primeira Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Jose Miguel Saraiva brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Primeira Liga this season.

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Arsenal’s Versatile Prospect

Mosope Ominiyi provides a detailed scout report on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal’s versatile prospect. Arsene Wenger announced that along with 17-year-old winger...

Specials2 weeks ago

Lazio’s Golden Age: The Sergio Cragnotti Era

Football News 24/7  Sam McKeever has a look back at Lazio’s golden era in the 90’s under the ownership of Sergio...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Analysis: Why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing

Kaushik Goswami has a look at why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing. Having already lured Romelu...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Monaco’s Moves: Why the Football World should pay attention

While the football world is focused on the players being sold by Monaco, Alex Lynch has a look at how...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Joel Pereira | Manchester United’s Agile Goalkeeper

Mateus Carvalho provides a comprehensive scout report on Joel Pereira, Manchester United’s agile goalkeeper. At the end of the last season, José...

Talent Radar3 weeks ago

Talent Radar: CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 | U-23 Team of the Tournament

Football News 24/7  Jose Miguel Saraiva gives us his U-23 Team of the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Blindside Movements And Mental Overloads: Breaking Down Maurizio Sarri’s Tactics

Cheuk Hei Ho breaks down Maurizio Sarri’s tactics at Napoli looking at how the Italian giants use passing, blindside movements,...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Bayern Munich: What’s their game plan?

Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed article of how we can expect Bayern Munich to set up in the 2017-18 season....

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Juan Foyth | Estudiantes’ Ball-Playing Defender

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report about Juan Foyth, Estudiantes’ ball-playing defender. Argentina has, since time immemorial, been a...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Dayot Upamecano | RB Leipzig’s Precocious Talent

Mateus Carvalho provides a detailed scout report about Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig’s precocious talent. RB Leipzig is a source of...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 16-17

More on Outside of the Boot