Rodrigo De Paul 2019/20 – scout report
The versatile 25-year-old Rodrigo De Paul has turned into a leading figure for Udinese since his arrival. He quickly turned into one of the favourites and proved he deserves a starting XI spot. And he hasn’t disappointed. He is without a doubt the best performer for the club, although their overall performance is poor. They need to improve in a few areas if they want to stay away from the relegation zone in Serie A.
The midfielder already has the interest of Inter and Milan and it won’t be a surprise if he parts ways with Udine this summer. This might hit hard on the team’s ambitions and completely ruin their performance since De Paul is one of their most consistent performers.
Udinese are performing very poorly in attack, and De Paul often turns out to be their saviour in crucial moments. The Argentina international has scored five of the team’s 21 goals this term and assisted two more.
Attacking flair and final third impact
The team’s goal scoring record doesn’t reflect all the hard work De Paul puts into their attacking actions. He most frequently puts effort into delivering for his teammates. Udinese though struggle in the final phases and lack a good finishing touch, hence De Paul’s actions often go to waste.
His abilities to provide great through balls and carry his way past defenders make a key part of the team’s strategy in the final third. Although his main position is in central midfield, he quite often exploits the half-spaces and the areas around the box. This positioning is key for being able to provide well-measured passes and create chances. He provides 5,79 passes to the box on average, but the lack of strong work under pressure and good finishing often result in missed goal scoring opportunities.
He can also be a direct threat since his dribbling skills help him in reaching the best position for a shot. His dribbling is often crucial for the team’s build-up and advancing the ball, that’s one of the reasons why he gets fouled often.
In the times there’s no opportunity to deliver the ball further, he tries to bypass the press by sending long balls. Or even better, he demonstrates his decision-making with his quite frequent shots from distance. His sense of timing and confidence often result in outstanding long shots which leave the opposition defence completely helpless.
De Paul is the team’s main set-piece taker and was responsible for 19 corners and 8 free kicks in the league so far. It is no surprise that he also attempts to cross a lot. As it could be seen in the team’s average crossing map below he is the main responsible for advancing the ball on the right and providing it to the box. His main support in that area is the right wing-back, Jens Larsen. The two often support each other’s movement and switch roles.
Movement and midfield ventures
As mentioned, his main position is in the central midfield. He is mostly used as a right central midfielder in a 5-3-2/3-5-2 formation.
Most of the team’s build-up strategies come through him, no matter if they try to build-up through the middle or on the right. Despite his position he doesn’t limit himself and moves all around the pitch, helping in transitions. He could be seen occupying the half-spaces on both sides as well as joining centrally providing runs using his speed.
When it comes to the right areas, he is often joined by Larsen and Okaka in efforts to link-up-play and advance the ball while dragging defenders out of position. That’s where the Argentinian would use his off the ball movement and often switch places with the forward, taking a more advanced position.
Unfortunately, his movement off the ball often goes to waste due to the lack of support upfront. He is very useful for a quick transition, but his teammates rarely provide proper passing options.
As mentioned, De Paul is important for Udinese’s build-up. Apart from being the main passing outlet when building their attacks, he demonstrates his creativity in moments of intense press. He tends to switch play by using long balls in order to bypass the press and deliver the ball forward.
Udinese rely on him for their counter-attacking actions too. His positioning when the team is dropped back in defence is always more advanced so he can counter immediately after gaining back possession. That’s another area where his pace has a huge impact.
The 25-year-old is not the most defensively active player, although he has his contribution. You won’t see him deeply in and around his own box supporting the defensive line, but he does help by recovering higher up the pitch. He wins 55% of his defensive duels and supports the team with actions on the edge of their own third. He lacks enough precision when put under pressure and tends to send the ball back.
Not very good under pressure, tends to send the ball back and lacks precision. With his 1.80 m, he lacks strong aerials abilities too.
Rodrigo De Paul is definitely the reason for Udinese to be still out of the relegation zone. This analysis shows his abilities and why he is their key players this season. His attack-minded approach and vision might fit many of the top teams in Serie A and would be hart for Udine to keep him at Stadio Friuli. Staying at Udinese in their current form doesn’t do justice for his career and having in mind he is still considerably young he definitely deserves a chance to shine.