Micky van de Ven: Scouting Report by Adam Khan
This article is adapted from Adam Khan’’s Medium Portfolio – a collection of professional scouting reports highlighting some of the most exciting talents in German football.
If you are interested in sourcing hos video-scouting expertise for your club, agency, or company, please reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @XxAdamKhanxX.
In today’s report, we analyse VfL Wolfsburg defender Micky van de Ven. We highlight his strengths and weaknesses, and his current ability and future potential.
Micky van de Ven has been one of the discoveries of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season. The 21-year-old Dutch youth international was playing second-tier football in Holland last season and is now an established part of a Wolfsburg defence that has conceded the 3rd-fewest goals in the Bundesliga at the time of writing (06/01/2023).
Van de Ven has featured in every minute across the first 15 Bundesliga matches. He has primarily played at centerback but has also sporadically featured at left-back.
Given his sudden rise, Van de Ven is not a player on the radar of many top clubs around Europe. This player profile should help unearth what is behind the Bundesliga rookie’s stand-out half-season.
No notable injuries that should have an impact on his value, or future potential.
Micky van de Ven is the physical prototype of a modern-day center-half. At 1,93m he has a stature comparable to most central defenders in Europe’s elite outfits, while his acceleration and top speed are nothing short of exceptional for a player in his position, and with his frame.
Clocked at 35.87 km/h, Micky van de Ven has the highest top speed of any centerback in the 2022/23 German topflight.
Aerial / Heading Ability
Micky van de Ven is not only a towering center-half, but also a dominant aerial presence, with good timing, positioning, and technique in his heading. He is able to compete with strong opposition forwards and use the full extent of his physical presence in aerial duels.
While not as impressive, he has a decent attacking header, scoring from an attacking set-piece on one occasion this season.
In possession, Micky van de Ven does not seek 1v1 duels, but when he has space to attack he is willing, and capable, of carrying possession forward with tremendous speed. The combination of his strong physical frame, long strides, and elite pace, make van de Ven an incredibly hard player to dispossess when he gets into full stride and has open space to exploit.
Wolfsburg’s young centerback is a very intelligent shot blocker.
He rarely fully commits himself, reducing the chances of deflecting the ball into a more dangerous position or cutting down the vision of his goalkeeper.
⭐ Delay Defending
Micky van de Ven’s key strength is his ability to delay opposition attacks with expert defensive angles, natural recovery speed, and smart, well-timed tackling.
On numerous occasions, van de Ven has displayed an elite ability to disrupt opposition counterattacks by cutting down passing lanes and ushering the ball carrier into zones where he can isolate, and subsequently, win a straight 1-on-1 duel.
This is already an elite skill for a player as young — and with as little high-level experience — as van de Ven.
Micky van de Ven is not a notable element in VfL Wolfsburg’s ball progression (via passing). The Dutch centerback plays a very simple, low-risk, game, often looking for a short horizontal pass to his centerback partner, or a simple lay-off to Wolfsburg’s deepest midfielder.
While not an inherent flaw — and potentially something that is dictated by manager Niko Kovač’s system — it is something to watch closely and take into account when charting his future potential.
Out-stretched tackling and high-risk duels are something the young defender has in his arsenal, but it is nevertheless worrisome the number of times he opts to go to the ground with an out-stretched tackle, and how early he commits himself to these duels.
Against an opponent with intelligent forwards and a tuned-in analysis department, this aspect of van de Ven’s game could be exposed to lead to unnecessary penalty/free kicks.
Micky van de Ven is exceptional at slowing down and delaying opposition attacks, but he struggles in being a proactive defender and pushing into midfield to win back possession.
Particularly when operating as a fullback this weakness is apparent. Van de Ven’s natural intuition is to defend narrow, and he is not always on the front foot to push out at the right moment to block a cross or cut down the initial passing lane.
With his pace and intelligent defensive position, there is no reason why van de Ven shouldn’t be capable of providing a more active defensive presence, but at the moment either his willingness to do so or his timing, are not up to the requisite standard.
Micky van de Ven is one of many impressive central defenders in the 2022/23 Bundesliga. His physical profile is world-class, his maturity in key defensive moments is outstanding, and the level he is at with less than half a season of top flight experience bodes well for his future potential and development trajectory.
His meagre role in controlled possession phases, along with his struggles when defending in a high line, could potentially hinder his ability to reach the very pinnacle of the European game. Still, both aspects can be developed and it’s hard to imagine Micky van de Ven not competing for major titles in the future.
If you are interested in sourcing Adam’s video-scouting expertise for your club, agency, or company, please reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @XxAdamKhanxX.