Being the youngest debutant for Vitesse in the Eredivisie, Mitchell van Bergen has had the spotlight on him very early in his career. However, his development seemed to stall in the coming years, as he played just 906 minutes for Vitesse in three seasons. Van Bergen wanted to move to a new environment where he could develop and chose to sign a four-year deal at SC Heerenveen.

This turned out to be one of the best things Van Bergen could have done. The 20-year-old right-winger scored seven goals and gave two assists in 1960 minutes and he looked very bright. This season, Van Bergen is a regular starter for SC Heerenveen, and he played an essential part in the recent success of them. This scout report will provide a tactical analysis of the role that Van Bergen performs at SC Heerenveen, and why that makes him such a promising winger.

His position

Van Bergen normally plays as a right-winger, and is comfortable to both cut inside and go on the outside. The Dutch right-winger is eager to make runs into space and has excellent timing to make those runs. He sometimes swaps sides with left-winger Chidera Ejuke, forming a threat cutting inside onto his stronger foot.

Mitchell van Bergen 2019/20 - scout report tactics
Mitchell van Bergen plays as a right-winger and sticks close to the sideline mostly. He both cuts inside and moves outside often.

When SC Heerenveen have possession in the defensive third, Van Bergen drops back to the halfway line, and sticks close to the sideline, attracting the opponent to close the gap and put pressure on Van Bergen. This opens up space for a diagonal run by Rodney Kongolo, which can be seen in the image down below.

Mitchell van Bergen 2019/20 - scout report tactics
Mitchell van Bergen sticks close to the sideline, attracting Ridgeciano Haps to put pressure on him and leave the back four. This opens up space for Rodney Kongolo to make a diagonal run.

Movement & characteristics

Van Bergen plays an essential part in Jansen’s side. The right-winger provides depth, creativity and variety to the playing style of SC Heerenveen. The 20-year-old has an excellent timing of his runs into space, an explosive acceleration and a good eye for his teammates which makes him an enormous threat in counter-attacks. An analysis of his playing style will be made with the help of statistics.

The Dutch right-winger has completed only 37 out of 85 dribbles this season, which is a success rate of 43,5%. This is certainly not a good percentage in comparison to other right-wingers of the Eredivisie, but he still has the 15th most completed dribbles of the Eredivisie. It can be said that the youngster is still inconsistent in his dribbling ability and that he needs more time to be consistent.

However, the 20-year-old is nearly unbeatable when it comes to pace. In counter-attacks, Van Bergen forms a threat due to his pace and decision-making. The right-winger has good vision and can exploit that quality with his technique. Van Bergen averages 1.8 key passes per 90 minutes.

Besides his good decision-making, Van Bergen can go both on the inside and on the outside of his opponent, which makes him an unpredictable right-winger. When he goes on the inside, Van Bergen is looking for a through pass or for space to shoot from distance with his left foot. Van Bergen likes to go on the outside as well, this normally results in a cross.

Van Bergen completed 36 out of 100 crosses this season, which is a success rate of 36%. He does well to look over the ball and see his teammates, but the execution is often mediocre. Even though he is right-footed, Van Bergen is not afraid to use his left foot. 29 out of 47 shots came from his right foot, and 18 of those 47 came from his left foot.

As already mentioned, Van Bergen forms a great threat in the counter-attacks. The excellent timing of his runs into space is what the 20-year-old right-winger does best. Van Bergen has a great eye for space and can exploit this space with his pace very well.

This season, Van Bergen already scored four goals and he provided five assists. It must be said that he is quite inconsistent in front of goal. Sometimes Van Bergen is wild in front of goal, and sometimes he stays very calm in front of goal, as can be seen in the images down below.

Mitchell van Bergen 2019/20 - scout report tactics

Mitchell van Bergen 2019/20 - scout report tactics
An example of his calmness in front of goal can be seen right here. Van Bergen waits very long with his final pass, and eventually, he picks out the right pass and SC Heerenveen scores the equalizer against Ajax.

His defensive contribution

Van Bergen is an energetic winger, who does not mind to defend as well. The Dutch right-winger is sharp and keeps an eye on his opponent at all times. He does very well to keep track of the left-back and reacts very quick to runs into space made by his opponent. As mentioned before, Van Bergen has an explosive acceleration, not allowing the left-back to win a race for the ball.

There are two things that Van Bergen often does when he has to defend. First, when the opponent has the ball in the defensive third, the 20-year-old makes sure that he cuts the passing lanes forward. This means that the left-back does not have an easy option forward, which leads to the left-back playing a pass back to the central defenders or even the goalkeeper.

The second thing that Van Bergen does very often, is forcing his opponent to do what Van Bergen wants. In the image down below, it can be seen that Ridgeciano Haps has acres of space in front of him and that this is his only option as Van Bergen is cutting the passing lanes to Wouter Burger. This leads to Haps moving forward and losing the ball in the end, after moving it forward and giving a mediocre pass.

The tactics that Van Bergen uses in defence are very effective and that makes him very useful in defence as well.

Mitchell van Bergen 2019/20 - scout report tactics
Van Bergen cuts the passing lane to Wouter Burger, which forces Haps to move forward

Conclusion

In this scout report, it has become clear that the Dutch right-winger is a very promising talent, who had the spotlights on him very early in his career. Now, the 20-year-old has become one of the key players for SC Heerenveen and it will be interesting to see what his next step will be. Van Bergen provides depth, creativity and flexibility to Heerenveen’s side. Van Bergen makes good use of his explosive acceleration and can create a lot of chances due to his outstanding pace. If he can improve his crossing ability and he can become more consistent in his dribbling, he will certainly move to a bigger club this summer.


Total Football Analysis Magazine #16: December 2019

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