Two seasons ago, Rodrigo Hernández, better known as Rodri, made a huge career changing move by signing for Josep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The Spaniard, then with Atlético Madrid, was in his second season in the topflight after a first season in La Liga with Villarreal.
Since his arrival at City, the young midfielder has continued to grow and has become a specialist in his position. That is why, at the MBP School of Coaches, we are going to describe in depth the player profile of Rodri, delving into the tactical behaviours he tends to perform most, and what impact he has had at both his international and club sides.
- Player Profile
Rodri Hernández is a footballer with very defined characteristics. The City star stands out in two very specific structures that allow him to be dominant in the holding midfielder position that he usually fills.
The first ability we want to highlight is the Spain international’s conditional structure. The midfielder is a physical prodigy, capable of covering a large playing area in both attacking and defensive phases, without the need for additional support from a teammate.
The second of these is the cognitive structure. The Madrilenian has made a significant improvement in the development of this second capacity since playing under Pep.
Unlike previous seasons, where the midfielder had difficulties in identifying and deciding which was the correct option in attack, Rodri has improved his decision making, becoming more accurate in his decisions and increasing his speed of play.
- Game Fundamentals
If we dive deeper into the tactical behaviours of the game performed by the player, we can highlight the great tactical ability he possesses in ‘switching the play towards favourable spaces’. Thanks to the improvement in his cognitive structure, the midfielder has exponentially improved his application of this universal fundamental.
In situations where his team is facing very compact defensive blocks, the player is the guide of his team to direct the attacks towards the areas of the pitch where he can find any kind of superiority: numerical, relational, qualitative or positional.
The second fundamental that Rodri masters refers to the importance of ‘guaranteeing the build up of the play by dropping into the defensive line’ in situations where the opposition team has the same number of players in their attacking line in relation to the defensive line.
In associative styles of play such as that of the Spanish national team and Manchester City, the correct application of this fundamental will be essential in order to generate the numerical superiority to initiate the play in an organised way.
- The impact Rodri has on the team
While the impact the Spanish player makes in the different phases of play in possession is significant, it is important to highlight the importance he brings to the defensive phases of the game.
Playing in teams that attack with a large number of players, the midfielder is a key element in the balancing structure behind the ball. When the ball is lost, Rodri is the first player in charge of pressing to try to win the ball back for his side.
Therefore, we can always see how the Spaniard is ready to apply the principle of ‘providing offensive cover in high-risk situations of losing the ball’ for his teammates.
Rodri has also become a key player in set piece situations. As we have already mentioned, the midfielder has outstanding physical qualities – we must also highlight his great leap for aerial duels plus his size and strength. These aspects, together with his strong ability in the air, make him a decisive player in defensive and attacking set pieces.
There is definitely the assumption now that Rodrigo Hernández currently belongs to the world’s elite group of players. From his cognitive development, his physical abilities, and the correct application of the fundamentals analysed, the player is now a key element for both his club and country.
At the MBP School of Coaches, we will closely follow the continued evolution of the midfielder at both the domestic and international scene.