Last weeks there were a lot of well-known youth tournaments, 2 of them being the Algarve Cup and the well-known Future Cup. At the latter, debutant FC Nordsjaelland managed to take the cup back to Denmark. They also managed to impress at the Algarve Cup u17, where they reached the semi-finals. At both tournaments, one player managed to attract a lot of attention. Peter Villum Berthelsen managed to take home the trophy of the player of the tournament in both the Netherlands and Portugal. In this report, I take a closer look at the technically strong midfielder.
Berthelsen plays throughout the season with FC Nordsjaelland’s u19. On the pitch, he can often be found centrally or in the half-spaces. In midfield, he can pack almost all positions, although his qualities come out most offensively.
In the build-up, Berthelsen is a very important player, he runs free well and always offers fellow players a point of attack. He can claim a ball in free space. Once he has the ball it goes quickly. His pace on the ball is often higher than other fellow players. He can place a clear tempo acceleration, of course, his ball handling helps.
That ball handling is more than worth saying a bit more about. He possesses an outstanding technique. With his action, he can take out a man. Consequently, the variation in his passing moves makes him unpredictable. In his action, he shows his strong agility and athletic ability. He glides past players and can also dribble himself loose in difficult situations or small spaces due to his action speed.
Of course, action alone is not enough. Passing is also crucial for a midfielder. There we do see a small flaw. Many of his passes are defensively oriented, too few offensive passes are given for a player with his qualities. Berthelsen always turns to open spaces, of course, those open spaces are often defensively focused. That is one of the reasons why he often sends the defensive pass.
In terms of shots, we still need to find a balance with his shot power. Since he is usually positioned on the edge of the box in attack, shots from just outside the box do come more often. Those shots are often just too hard or too soft.
Berthelsen is a right-footed player, you can see that when he is on the ball. In his actions, he often makes the passing move with the right. His passes, both short and long, are also best with the right. In terms of shooting, it is a bit the same story with both feet, he still must find the right balance in his shot power.
Out of possession
As I said, Berthelsen can often be found in the middle of the pitch. Without the ball, he often positions himself centrally, in free space. Positionally, he is very strong. He always sees the free space and dives into it with the right timing.
That he always sees free space is no surprise. He has strong scanning and watching skills. Without the ball, he always follows the game. In turn, before receiving a ball, he constantly scans his immediate surroundings. This watching behaviour is a natural talent, it ensures that he always knows the position of his direct opponent and is therefore one step ahead.
When he does not have the ball, he still tries to be useful. Through his offensive runs, for example, he runs open spaces for teammates. Or he infiltrates the defence or the box. It characterises his game that he always wants to be useful, even when he is not on the ball.
The last thing that stands out without the ball in his running and switching ability. Those two things tap together deliberately because they also stand out at the same time. He possesses a strong reactive when the ball is lost, or conversely when they intercept the ball. This would not be possible without his running ability. He always connects well and quickly in the game, although defensively it is not always decisive.
With a young player like Berthelsen, there is room for improvement. As I said, his qualities come out on the offensive end, while his weaknesses come out on the defensive end.
Berthelsen lacks defensive efficiency; his interceptions are often not incisive enough. This may be because he shows a little less abandonment on the defensive end. Another reason for this is his physical build.
Physically, he is not an outlier, he lacks the necessary strength and sharpness in duels, both on the ground and in the air. When he plays matches at his age (u17) it doesn’t stand out very strongly, at the u19 level it comes out just a bit more. Looking towards later, it will have to be worked on.
In recent months, Berthelsen has proved to be a huge talent. Not only was that evident in his play, but also the awards proved it. With the final victory in the Future Cup and the award of “player of the tournament” in both the Future Cup and the Algarve Cup, he will be high on the list of many scouts.
Right now, he is in the right place at Nordsjaelland. It is the ideal environment to develop further, and with time will also get his chance. The Danish club is known for giving a lot of minutes to young players, if Berthelsen takes the necessary steps he will surely feature in the plans.