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The Danish defender with a late but successful breakthrough

Most of the players break through at around the age of 20. Some players need a little longer. Rasmus Schmidt Nicolaisen is an example of a player that needs to be at the right place to maximize his potential. It seems to be he finally is now, at Ligue 2-side Toulouse. In this blog, we take a look at his career and a statistic in which he is performing amazing this year.

Nicolaisen started his career at Midtjylland. He made his debut in the cup game against lower-league side Kjellerup IF. They won 0-3 and Nicolaisen came in of the bench. Since then, the Danish defender played 57 games for 3-time Danish champion Midtjylland, but he never became a permanent starter. In the graph below we can see that the Average Team Level of Midtjylland was quite a lot higher than Nicolaisen his Player Level. He decided to go to Portsmouth. Over there he played 27 matches in a year but was also on the bench a lot.

His hunt went on. Toulouse showed their interest. For a fee of around €540.000, he signed a 4-year deal with the French club. And in his first season, it looks like it can be a very good fit. He is growing really fast towards the Average Team Level.

The main reason why he is developing so much this season is because of his playing time. He was a starter almost every game and played the full 90 minutes as well. He also already made quite an impact this year. Thus far, he scored four goals and had one assist, and as a central defender that is quite impressive. With an aerial duel winning rate of 58% and a passing accuracy of 87%, he is doing well in the duels and in passing as well. But there is one statistic he is exceptional in, and it is his defensive duel winning rate. Based on our data, we compared him with the central defenders of the Danish national team. He is ahead of all three. Of course, the other players play in the highest divisions of Europe, but still, it can be called spectacular that he wins more defensive duels (72%) than Vestergaard (65%), Christensen (68%) and Kjær (69%).

In the graph above, we see the average Player Level of different competitions on the same position and age as of Rasmus Nicolaisen. We can see that Nicolaisen is quite far ahead of the average of the Ligue 2 on his age and position. This is why a step to a higher league will not be a weird step, and may even be good for his development. Moreover, if he can continue this rising line he will move quickly towards the top-5 leagues.

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