Troels Kløve 2019/20 – scout report
Troels Kløve is a versatile Danish midfielder who currently plays for Odense. With the player being relatively unknown in the realm of popular European football, this tactical analysis scout report will investigate the player from the Danish Superliga. Key sections will include an analysis of Kløve’s background, an appraisal of Odense’s tactics and how Kløve fits in, an objective comparison of Superliga players and finally a subjective appraisal of Kløve’s playing style.
As mentioned, Troels Kløve is relatively unknown to the general football population. The 28-year-old has spent his whole career in Denmark thus far, completing his youth career at Horsens before making 109 first-team appearances. Kløve then moved on to Sønderjyske where he made 68 appearances over three years. In 2018, he signed for his current club Odense and has cemented his place in the team, making 54 competitive appearances in just over one season.
One point of analysis that is clear when appraising Kløve’s time at each club is his goal and assist tally. The midfielder scored 17 and assisted 11 in 109 games for Horsens, 14 goals and six assists in 68 matches followed for Sønderjyske, finally, Kløve currently has 11 goals and seven assists in 54 games for Odense. This scoring rate works out at 0.18 goals per appearance, with an assist rate of 0.1 per appearance. This is by no means ground-breaking, but, it highlights the offensive contribution that Kløve offers and provides predictive insight into his midfield roles.
2018/19 season at Odense
During his first full season at Odense, Kløve has shown his versatility by playing a number of roles. The Danish midfielder played 17 times in central midfield, 12 times as a left midfielder or left winger and single appearances in central attacking midfield, right midfield and right-back position. Whilst his versatility has led him to play in all midfield positions and even a match in defence, his tendency to play in central midfield or on the left-wing indicates he is a forward-thinking player with offensive attributes to match, as opposed to being a ball-winning midfielder or a deep-lying playmaker. Delving deeper into his heat maps, the notion of the Danish player being an offensive midfielder comes to light.
It appears that when playing the role described as central midfield, Kløve operates as the left central midfielder within a midfield three, giving him additional freedom to get forward. Kløve’s role is dependent upon the tactical system that Odense play. Odense frequently played tactical systems including a 3-4-3, 5-3-2, 3-5-2, 5-4-1. Within the 5-3-2 and 3-5-2, Kløve was deployed as the left central midfielder, tasked with supporting his two central midfield teammates, but, also pushing on into a left midfield or wing position, should the original wing-back or winger drop back or push forward. Within a 3-4-3 or 5-4-1, Kløve plays as a left-winger or left-midfielder.
In terms of a statistical appraisal of the 18/19 season, it appears that Odense operates using a balanced approach in both attack and defence. Their possession stat suggests a minor advantage in terms of average ball dominance and their press is ranked ninth. Such PPDA is lower than the league average and highlights a tendency to maintain a defensive structure rather than attempting to win the ball back immediately. In terms of construction, Odense is a passing team who like to progress and attack in various ways when they have the ball, further highlighting their balanced tactical approach. They were ranked 4th for passes per 90, 3rd for through balls per 90, 3rd for long passes per 90 and sixth for crosses per 90.
|Possession % (league rank)||PPDA (league rank)||Passes per 90 (league rank)||Through balls per 90 (league rank)||Long passes per 90 (league rank)||Crosses per 90 (league rank)|
|51 (6th)||11.12 (9th)||420.98 (4th)||9.04 (3rd)||57.94 (3rd)||15.94 (6th)|
Due to the way Odense play, we can tell that in order to fit into the tactical system, Kløve must be adept as an all-round player, capable of contributing to attacking phases via general passing ability, vision, through ball and crosses, as well as positioning himself in positions to score himself. On the defensive side, Odense’s lack of pressing suggests that Kløve must get back behind the ball and contribute defensive actions in order for the team to maintain defensive structures when facing opposition possession.
As we know that Kløve is needed to contribute to offensive and defensive phases within the system, we can compare him with the other top central midfield players within the Superliga. Such statistics have been sorted by the per minutes played metric and cut down to 20 players for easier comparison.
|Player||Minutes played||Non-penalty goals per 90||Non-penalty xG per 90||Shots per 90||Assists per 90||xA per 90|
|J. Lungi Sørensen||3364||0.08||0.06||0.59||0.03||0.04|
|M. Kofod Andersen||2658||0||0.05||0.54||0.03||0.05|
In terms of output, we can see that Kløve is reliable, with few injury issues as he played 2635 minutes out of a possible 3240 in the 18/19 season, a rank of 16th. If we take a look at offensive output, Kløve is not outstanding in any category, but, once again highlights his steady contribution to the offensive side of the team, he is ranked ninth for non-penalty goals per 90, third for non-penalty xG per 90, seventh for shots per 90, 18th for assists per 90 and 14th for xA per 90. One area that Kløve could work on is his chance conversion after underperforming versus his xG statistics. If he converted at the average rate, he would have scored two more goals to add to the four he scored in the league.
|Player||Crosses per 90||Crosses, %||Dribbles per 90||Dribbles succ. %||Touches in box per 90||Passes per 90||Passes acc. %||Passes to penalty area per 90||Succ. def. per 90|
|J. Lungi Sørensen||0.72||14.81||2.78||52.88||1.39||36.52||78.02||1.87||5.69|
|M. Kofod Andersen||0.3||55.56||2||50.85||0.44||47.54||85.4||2.23||5.42|
After taking a look at Kløve’s underlying performance stats in the table above, we can again see that the story is quite similar to his output, which also matches the role Odense need him to play. Kløve is ranked fifth for crosses per 90, ninth for cross success rate, sixth for dribbles per 90 and 14th for dribble success, highlighting that he is competing with the best central midfielders in the league in terms of crossing and dribbling. These stats may be a large factor or verifier in the use of Kløve out wide when Odense change their system.
Kløve is ranked seventh for touches in the opposition box, highlighting his tendency to get forward from a central or wide position. Surprisingly, he is ranked 18th for passes per 90 and 21st for pass success, a rank you would not expect for a player within the team who made the third most passes per 90, however, Kløve is often pushed high and wide within the system, and, whilst low ranking in terms of the analysed players, such players are still the top-ranked central midfielders in Denmark according to data providers. Another sign of Kløve’s offensive freedom is when Odense has the ball his passes into the penalty area. For this metric, Kløve has a rank of 11th.
To finish this statistical analysis, Kløve produces 5.33 successful defensive actions per game. This statistic is key for a central midfielder, and while Kløve is played or moves out wide, within Odense’s relaxed press, Kløve needs to prove that he can retreat goal side before pressing when the opposition advance into his area of the pitch. Ranking fifth for this, he shows he is adept at performing defensive duties within the Odense system.
Overall, Kløve’s statistical output does not point to him being the best central midfielder within the Superliga, but, it shows that he contributes well to the team on all levels and is physically capable in terms of his appearance and minute output, therefore, Odense will feel that they can rely on the player to aid the team in their quest for immediate and continual improvement and success.
Examples of Troels Kløve’s play
After appraising Kløve in a statistical manner, we can now subjectively provide an analysis of Kløve producing his well-rounded performances in action.
First up are examples of Kløve arriving late into the box. As a midfielder, whether central or out wide, Kløve needs to do this in order to cause an offensive overload or confusion in the opposition box. Timing such runs is a difficult skill to have, but those that do are able to benefit in terms of goals, assists or general contribution.
Kløve is a right-footed player, therefore, when he plays on the left-wing, he naturally drifts inside with the ball or via off the ball movement due to his dominant leg. This helps the player to create effective angles to cross the ball, offer an overlap from the wing-back or attack space and make runs before shooting. This can be seen in the images below.
As described in the statistical appraisal of Kløve and other Danish league players, it is reinforced that Kløve is able to contribute successfully to defensive phases of play. The below pictures highlight his desire to win the ball back in different situations.
The first is an offensive situation in which an over hit pass from a teammate leads to a defender being favourite to win the ball, however, Kløve utilises a well-timed sliding tackle to win the ball and set up a teammate.
In the second example, Kløve is in a left central midfield possession and is in shape as per the progression which Odense allow their opposition. When the ball is played to an opponent near Kløve, he reacts, slides to win the ball and immediately gets back to his feet to contribute to the counter-attack, a key benefit of dropping off the opponent before attacking quickly. Kløve proved he is adept at performing in such a tactical ploy.
Overall, whilst unspectacular in style or numbers, Kløve is an important player to Odense. He is versatile in terms of the positions that he plays and can seemingly adapt to multiple tactical systems. The player is reliable in terms of fitness and produces consistent performances with an offensive and defensive output which contributes to the way Odense play. In comparison to other central midfield players in the Danish Superliga, Kløve is a good performer across a wide range of metrics, rather than having one key attribute. His all-round nature has been reinforced by subjective analysis. In a quick review of the 19/20 season so far, Kløve has made 6 appearances and scored 3 goals, this time from a right central midfield position. Once again, the player, thought to be in his prime years, has proved his contribution and versatility. Odense will be hoping the player can continue his form.
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