Mika Godts at KRC Genk: The potential future heir to Eden Hazard in the Belgian national team – scout report
Belgium is one of the leading developers of talent in all of world football. Many players playing at the highest level today forged their path in Belgium. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne are two good examples. Mika Godts could very well become the next one to make his way out of Belgium.
The 17-year old Belgium winger currently plays for Jong Genk in the Challenger Pro League, the second division of Belgian football. The problem that Genk currently has is that Godts is out of contract in the summer, with AC Milan and Ajax interested in signing him.
This tactical analysis and scout report will look at the potential Godts has shown, as well as some strengths beginning to show in his game. This scout report will also analyse why Genk need to do everything they can to give Godts a new contract, which would allow him to become part of the first team and show his talent on the biggest stages.
Mika Godts is primarily a left winger, with the 17-year old normally being deployed on the left hand side of either a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. Godts is right-footed playing on the left-hand side, so it allows him to drive towards the penalty box before cutting inside and attempting a shot on goal. Godts also likes to take opposition defenders on, and will drive at fullbacks to attempt to dribble past them 1v1. Godts has a very similar style of play to Eden Hazard, especially during his time with Chelsea when he was one of the best wide players in the Premier League.
The heat map above shows Mika Godts average positioning from the Challenger Pro League this season. As we can see, Godts essentially rules the left hand side of the pitch, with him being involved pretty often inside the 18-yard box as well. The Belgian will also track back and help out defensively as well, with him displaying a very positive work rate. The 17-year old shows great potential, and as this tactical analysis and scout report will show, he is one of the most talented, if not the most talented, youngsters in Belgium at the current moment.
High octane dribbler
The first strength that this scout report will look at is likely Mika Godts’s strongest skill set, his dribbling. As mentioned earlier, Godts look very similar at times to a younger Eden Hazard, dribbling at opposition fullbacks and cutting inside on his favoured right foot to get a shot off on goal.
The data viz above displays Mika Godts’s ball progression for Jong Genk so far this season, which just highlights the amount of dribbles the 17-year old attempts during a given match. In fact, in the Challenger Pro League this season so far, Godts is averaging 12.06 dribbles per 90 minutes, with a success rate of 49.3%. He also averages 4.43 progressive runs per 90 minutes, again highlighting his tendency to run at opposition defenders with the ball at his feet.
The image above shows a good example of the dribbling capability that Mika Godts possesses. In this phase of play against the Standard Liege second team, Godts is faced up against the opposition fullback in a 1v1 situation. Using his close control, Godts is able to keep the ball right up against his body, with the fullback not risking a potential attempted challenge that would give away a free kick.
After getting the fullback off balance, the Belgian winger was able to use a burst of acceleration to get past the defender on the outside, which allowed him to drive into the vacant space behind the opposition’s defence. After reaching this space, Godts was able to quickly look up and spot the positions of the Genk attackers inside the penalty box. As a result, the Belgian was able to play a great pass towards the area around the penalty spot, with the forward able to get a first time shot off for a Genk goal. This attacking phase of play was made possible by the dribbling of Mika Godts, and his tendency to face up with opposition fullbacks and drive at them 1v1.
Above shows another example of Mika Godts using his dribbling ability from a wide position to get past opposition defenders. In this phase of play however, he found himself in a 2v1 situation against the opposition defenders. With the midfielder on his back and the fullback right in front of him, the Belgian winger was still able to keep the ball close to his body, not allowing the defenders a window to stick their feet in to cleanly win back possession. This is something else that Godts does well, he does not allow many opportunities for defenders to win possession off of him by taking heavy touches or allowing the ball to get away from him.
Godts does something similar in this image that he did in the previous one, after facing up to the fullback and getting him off balance, he used a burst of acceleration to get past the opposition players and into the space behind the defence. Unfortunately, this attacking phase does not end the greatest, with the 17-year overhitting his eventual cross towards the back post area.
This final example above shows the awareness that Mika Godts displays as well when it comes to his dribbling and close control ability. In the phase of play above, the young winger is again in possession and is facing up with the opposition midfielder who has dropped into the defensive third. The opposition defensive line is shifted towards the Belgian’s side, which prevents the space from opening up out wide behind the opposition’s defence.
Godts notices this, and as a result, gets the defender off balance, but then uses a burst of acceleration as well as close control to get past the defender on the inside. This allows him to drive into the space located between the opponent’s lines, with the move ending with an attempted shot by the Belgian.
As this section has shown, dribbling and taking opponents on is the trademark skill of Mika Godts, with the Belgian being a high output dribbler, which results in chances at the ends of attacking moves for his Jong Genk side. In fact, Godts is the highest chance creator in the Jong Genk squad, with a majority of the side’s goal scoring moves going through him at some point in the attack. Though he has other strengths as well that play a part in these attacking moves, his dribbling is prime among them.
This next section will take a look at Mika Godts’s shot selection, something that, while it could be considered a strength, still could use some improvement. The young Belgian winger attempts a good amount of shots per 90 minutes, with 2.56, but could improve on his accuracy statistics, with only 34.1% of them being on target.
The data viz above shows Mika Godts’s xG map, as well as where his 43 shots so far this season have occurred from. As we can see, the Belgian has scored 6 goals on 3.77 xG, with him overperforming in front of goal so far this season. Also, from looking at the shot map, the conclusion can be made that Godts prefers to drive towards the penalty box, before cutting inside and getting a shot off on his favoured right foot.
With that being said, not many of his shots have made it on target this season. However, a decent amount of them have been blocked by the opposition defenders as opposed to completely missed all together, showing that the accuracy is there, with improvement needed on finding the windows between defenders to get his shots off and on target more often.
The image above shows the exact type of quality that Mika Godts possesses when given the opportunity to cut inside on his right foot from his left-wing position. In this phase of play above, the wide player is in possession and has just cut in from the left wing. He has two defenders right on top of him, not allowing him much space at all to get a shot off. However, Godts does well to make the most of the situation, getting a shot off from an extremely tight window.
The ensuing shot is even better, with the ball being struck perfectly and nestling in the bottom corner, with the goalkeeper unable to get down to his left to save it quickly enough. This type of goal is reminiscent of the ones that Eden Hazard used to score in the prime of his career, emphasising even more the comparisons he shares with one of the greatest Belgian wide players.
What the above image shows is the situation where the Belgian should at least get a shot on target and force the goalkeeper into a save, but does not. In the phase of play above, Godts has drifted into a more central position, with him being positioned centrally just outside the penalty box before the cross was played in from the right side. Noticing the space in the box, and the fact that he was unmarked, Godts makes a late run into the box, with the ensuing cross looking for his run.
Godts is able to get to the cross before the defender, with the Belgian taking a shot first time. However, the defender is able to stick a leg out in front of the winger’s shot just before he takes it, which puts him off. As a result, the shot goes wide, not even forcing the goalkeeper into making a save. In this scenario, the 17-year old was likely attempting to pick his spot, going for accuracy instead of just getting something on target. While this is not a horrible decision, with the miniscule amount of time he had to get a shot off, getting it on frame would have been a better option. This at least would have forced the goalkeeper into a save, with the possibility of a second ball rebounding back out to Godts or another Jong Genk teammate.
As this section has shown, while Mika Godts has scored six goals this season so far, he still is not the finished product when it comes to his quality in front of goal. This will undoubtedly improve, and judging on this season’s performances, in a few years time, Godts could be one of the most clinical Belgian wingers in world football.
As this tactical analysis and scout report has shown, Mika Godts is arguably the best player currently plying his trade in the second division of Belgian football.
With the 17-year old winger being out of contract in the summer, Genk have a huge decision to make, and soon. If Wouter Vrancken believes the youngster would be a great fit for the tactics he deploys, then he would be a welcome addition to a Genk side currently top of the league and in a perfect position to win the Belgian league this season. This would likely mean regular first-team football for Godts next season and possible forays in the UEFA Champions League.
There is also the possibility that the youngster could choose to leave Genk at the end of the season, with him being linked to many top clubs around Europe. Whatever his immediate future holds, Mika Godts is a highly regarded talent, and it would be unsurprising to see him at the highest level in a few years.