Jorge Carrascal is a 21-year-old midfielder who can also play in a more attacking role. At just 21 years of age, Jorge Carrascal has already played in four different countries. First for Millonarios in Colombia, then he went to Europe to play for Sevilla B. After a short spell in Spain, the Colombian signed a contract for Karpaty Lviv in Ukraine and since this summer he plays for River Plate in Argentina.
So far, the 21-year-old has made nine appearances for River Plate and he has scored two times. Besides that, he was selected for the under 23’s of Colombia who participates in the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympics tournament. In this tournament, he has made three goals in three appearances. Recently, the Colombian has been linked with a move to Ajax.
Carrascal is a versatile player who can play in a midfield role or an attacking role. This year, he has already played as an inverted left-winger, a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder, a centre-forward, a striker and as a right-winger. However, he most of the times plays as a left-winger, an attacking midfielder or second striker in a free role where he is allowed to roam over the pitch. In the heatmap can be seen though that the Colombian has predominantly played on the left-wing. This is because he has not played that much at River Plate and he mainly was subbed on as a left-winger.
In the three matches that the Colombian was in the starting line-up of River Plate he played two times as an attacking midfielder and once as a second striker. In the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympics tournament, the 21-year-old has played three times and all three times he played as a second striker.
This tactical analysis will mainly focus on Carrascal his qualities rather than the different positions and different tactics he has played in this season. The reason for this is that he always is allowed to roam over the pitch and this means that he does not stay in the same position for 90 minutes long. When he plays as a striker he can be found in a midfield role often and vice versa.
If we first take a look at the basic statistics of Carrascal when it comes to passing, you can see that the Colombian attacking midfielder averages 34.42 simple passes per 90 minutes. The 21-year-old is allowed to roam all over the pitch and he likes to be involved in the build-up of his team. This results in Carrascal giving the most passes around the halfway line and between the box and halfway line. 722 passes out of 1202 passes were on the opposites half and Carrascal had a pass completion rate on the opposites half of 85,9%. This success rate is not bad, but also not good for an attacking midfielder or striker who likes to perform the playmaker role in a team.
The Colombian midfielder has given 671 of 1202 passes forward and has a forward pass completion rate of 83,5%. Again, this is not bad, but also not good for an attacking midfielder or striker who likes to perform the playmaker role in a team. Carrascal also has given 76 passes to the box and in this category, he has a pass completion rate of 77,6%, which is quite good as passes to the box can be risky.
Taking a look at the smart passes of Carrascal, you can see that he is playing more and more smart passes per quarter. Where he was at a lower point in 2019-3 (between April and June), he increased the number of smart passes drastically and he went from roughly 1.75 smart passes on average between April and June to roughly 4.25 smart passes on average between October and December. Where he first averaged a 50% completion rate between April and June, he now improved the completion rate to roughly 75%. Per 90 minutes, Carrascal averages 0.77 key passes as well. This is something that needs to be improved, but given the fact that he gives a lot of successful smart passes and he has good vision, he will improve this sooner or later.
This can be the case because the Colombian did not play that much in that period which means that the sample size is smaller as well and he has had less time to settle and make an impact for River Plate.
Taking a look at the crosses of Carrascal, he averages only 1.2 crosses per 90 minutes. The Colombian midfielder is more than able to spot a run of his teammate and 45,2% of his crosses are successful. In the career distribution image, it is seen that he has been excellent at crossing in the last two quarters. He averages roughly 1.2 crosses per 90 minutes and roughly 75% of his crosses were accurate.
In the image down below can be seen what Carrascal does when he gives a cross. When he receives the pass he first looks up to see what the current situation is and in this situation he spots that it is a 3v2 situation in the box. He gives an out-swinging cross and a chance is created. As already mentioned before, Carrascal has the passing technique to give good crosses and he has the ability to spot his teammates.
Awareness of Carrascal with the ball
Later in this tactical analysis will Carrascal’s awareness without the ball be explained, but now we will take a look at the vision and awareness of his surroundings with the ball first. The Colombian has proved at both River Plate and Colombia under 23 that he is a creative player who always keeps an eye out for his surroundings and is able to find his teammates as well because of his great passing technique.
In the image down below can be seen that Cetre, the man that makes a run has just passed the ball to Carrascal. Cetre makes a run in behind the defensive line and this run is spotted by Carrascal. The Colombian dinks the ball over the top using his great technique and finds Cetre who volleys it bottom corner. It is a fact that these passes go wrong sometimes as well, but Carrascal has proved to be more than able to complete this sort of passes.
That Carrascal is very aware of his surroundings can be proved in many different ways. He looks behind his back when he receives a pass, he looks behind his back when he presses the opponent to see if it makes sense to put pressure and he looks behind his back often when he does not have the ball to see where there is space.
In the image down below can be seen how Carrascal looks to his left before he touches the ball and how he can see that he has space to take a shot. Carrascal takes a good touch where he makes sure that the ball is on the ground and to his left and shoots the ball in the top corner.
Because the 21-year-old midfielder is so aware of his surroundings, he is able to play out of the opponents’ pressure as well. If he sees that the opponent presses high he is able to turn his opponent because of his agility and acceleration. On the other hand, with his creativity, good passing and vision he is also able to find a teammate when he is being put under pressure. Besides that, he is able to use his body well in this sort of situations and he can provoke the opponent to make a foul.
In the image down below can be seen how Carrascal finds his teammate while there is hardly any space. Sometimes this can be risky as well. If Carrascal would have lost the ball in the image down below, there could have been a lot of danger as the left-back was making a run which means that there would have been a lot of space on the right-wing for Ecuador. However, this pass was completed.
Dribbling and shooting
The biggest quality of Carrascal is definitely his dribbling. The Colombian has a good acceleration, is very agile, is able to do good feints when he is on full pace and has the awareness to see where the space is. An example of this is the 2-0 he made against Ecuador. He recovered the possession near the halfway line and started sprinting into space. He outpaced some defenders before using feints to get passed the central defenders and then he was in shooting position. However, as you can see in the images down below, he kept calm and collected and he cut inside to his stronger right foot to shoot the ball into the left bottom corner.
Per 90 minutes, Carrascal averages 9.65 1v1 dribbles. The 21-year-old Colombian has a success rate of 71,8% which is really high for a winger. Carrascal completes more than 7 dribbles per 90 minutes. 66,2% of his 1v1 dribbles are in the final third.
As he has a good technique, Carrascal has a decent shot in him as well. He proved that he can take a good shot with both feet and that he rarely misses the target by a big margin. Per 90 minutes, Carrascal averages 2.66 shots and 48,4% of these shots are from outside the box.
The Colombian can definitely improve his shooting and finishing, but it can not be said that this is a weakness of Carrascal.
Movement without the ball and awareness
Moving on to Carrascal’s awareness of his surroundings without the ball, we can see in the image down below how Carrascal sees the space behind him and how he moves to this position. When he receives the ball, you can see that he is in acres of space and that he did well to move into this space.
As the Colombian normally is the player who plays the through pass rather than receiving a through pass, he does not provide depth to River Plate or Colombia under 23. However, when he sees that there is a lot of space to drive in, he will always do it as you can see in the image down below.
This is also not a weakness, as it is the role of Carrascal to be the playmaker and to give the decisive pass.
Moving on to Carrascal his defensive contribution, it can be seen that he does not press when it is not needed (which is a good thing) and that he always looks behind his back to see if his teammates support him and where his opponent is to cut the passing lanes. In the image down below can be seen how Carrascal intercepts the pass because he cuts the passing lane and the player of Ecuador tries the pass anyway. The Colombian midfielder averages 2.32 interceptions per 90 minutes and 37% of these interceptions come from passes.
Besides that, the midfielder has won 44,8% of his 6.54 defensive duels per 90 minutes and has made 5.76 ball recoveries. Of those 5.76 ball recoveries, 62,7% were on the opposites half. Even though the Colombian loses 78,5% of his 1v1 defensive duels, he can be useful in pressing the opponent on the opposites half and win the ball back quickly. Carrascal likes to slide tackle as well. Per 90 minutes he averages 0.98 slide tackles, but that has been increased by quite a bit recently when watching his last matches back.
A major weakness of Carrascal are his aerial duels. Per 90 minutes averages Carrascal 2.58 aerial duels and he only wins 27,8% of them. This is an area where he needs to improve on definitely. With his 1.79m he has lost over half the aerial duels against players that are the same height or even smaller than him.
The Colombian is an exciting prospect that has impressed many during the CONMEBOL pre-Olympics tournament and it is no surprise that he has been linked with a move to Ajax. He is a great dribbler, a good passer and has a good vision. Besides that, he is aware of his surroundings at all times which help him massively. If he can be more decisive at River Plate, it will only be a matter of time before he attracts interest from even bigger teams.