Sparta Rotterdam played a home mid-week clash against RKC Waalwijk ahead of another round of the Eredivisie. The home side lined up in a 4-3-3 against Waalwijk’s 3-5-2. In a game which didn’t see a lot of dangerous opportunities on both ends, Sparta dominated possession and set the tone for the most part. They were always the closest team to score, but their accuracy wasn’t on point. Therefore, the scoreboard remained settled at 0-0 for the entirety of the match.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Norwegian
- Age: 21
- Date of birth: 03/08/2001
- Current club: Sparta Rotterdam
- Career: Gulset, Odds BK, Sparta Rotterdam
- Position: Centre Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Joshua Kitolano played as the defensive midfielder in Sparta Rotterdam’s 4-3-3. When the home side had possession, he remained in the middle of the pitch, positioned higher than his centre-backs. Consequently, they had the main role when playing from the back. At times, it seemed he should have done more to get away from his marker to help his team progress, but he might have had instructions from Sparta’s coach not to do so. However, I still felt the team would have benefited from not solely relying on the defenders to get out of Waalwijk’s pressure. On the ball, the 20-year-old midfielder did quite well by showing very good passing technique and vision. Combined with a good tempo, it enabled him to quickly decide where he wanted the ball to go and to be very effective at it (ending with a 95% passing accuracy). He made good first-touch passes whilst making excellent use of his weaker foot when necessary.
Despite standing at just 1,70m with a normal build, Kitolano didn’t inhibit himself from contesting aerial duels. In addition, he showed good speed and acceleration to track back his opponents or to recover position when necessary. He struggles a bit over longer distances, but this wasn’t an issue during this game due to his excellent sense of positioning. Therefore, compared to when Josse last watched him when still playing for Odds BK, the Norwegian midfielder seems to benefit from playing in a deeper position in midfield. Kitolano was very strong defensively and showed great spirit to cover for his teammates when necessary. He was very strong in defensive duels, with a 67% success rate, and displayed great reactions by quickly pressing his opponents to recover the ball. Throughout the match, he also showcased a combative and committed personality.
Rating – A2
Joshua Kitolano put together a strong performance for Sparta Rotterdam. I would be curious to see him have a more predominant role in helping his team play from the back, as I think he would excel in that role, and the team would benefit from it. If he improves in those moments of the game and includes more ball progression as well, as he did once very nicely, he will become a much more complete midfielder considering his valuable defensive strengths.