Jayden Richardson: Aberdeen's new attacking speedster, how he is different to Calvin Ramsay & how he could fit
A little over 24 hours later they announced the arrival of Jayden Richardson on a three-year deal from Nottingham Forest. The 21-year-old featured four times for the Premier League new boys last campaign, twice off the bench in the Championship and twice as a left-back in the Carabao Cup. He got plenty of game-time in the second half of the season, helping Notts County reach the National League play-offs, featuring as a right-back or wing-back. It was his third loan spell following stints at Forest Green Rovers and Exeter City.
He is a different profile to Ramsay. While both are attacking full-backs, best on the front foot, how they perform the role is different.
While Ramsay is a technical, two-footed footballer who is as comfortable on the ball in central areas, as he is on the overlap, Richardson looks to utilise his pace, power and athleticism.
Watching him at left-back for Forrest, even if the position wasn't overly comfortable, it was evident how quick he is, able to knock the ball past an opponent and accelerate away. Sometimes he can be too quick for his own good, getting the ball caught under his feet or taking a heavy touch when running and dribbling at pace.
The speedster who won't stay still
Looking at the make-up of the Aberdeen squad prior to his arrival it certainly lacked speed. Richardson will provide that. As a wing-back his first thought is to gallop forward, while at right-back, he is more inclined to be safe and play back when in tight areas or under pressure, not nearly as comfortable on his left as he is on his right. When the ball is played in front of him he’ll accelerate onto it and take opponents on.
When he does pass forward, he won’t stay still. He’ll want a return pass further up the pitch or for a ball over the top. Off the ball, he’ll provide Aberdeen with a switch of play option and can stretch defences even from full-back, as evidenced by his run and cross for the winning goal as Notts County defeated Dover in May.
How Goodwin may use him
While Ramsay is adept at crossing from all areas, Richardson only tends to cross if he has reached the box, preferring to send in low crosses or cutbacks.
Jim Goodwin may well look at the structure of his team which could get the best out of his new arrival. Preferring a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, a wide player who moves infield would give Aberdeen a balanced dynamic down the right flank, while the right-sided central midfielder may be required to defend the wide right areas behind Richardson.
The defender can be guilty of ball watching when the ball is turned over but has excellent recovery pace, allowing him to get away in such situations, but he can be caught out. In 1v1 defensive scenarios his ability to move quickly and use his body means he should get the better of wingers who will look to go on his outside.
Aberdeen are getting themselves “a very quick, dynamic, and attacking full-back” as Goodwin said. He’s different to Ramsay, but certainly has qualities to add to the Dons squad with areas to improve.
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