Karsdorp's first interview at Roma: 'I want to test myself against the best'

Full-back Rick Karsdorp is looking forward to realising his ambitions at Roma, after completing a move that he feels represents a "big step forward" in his career.

The Netherlands international joined the Giallorossi on Wednesday afternoon, signing a five-year contract in the presence of sporting director Monchi at the club's training ground in Trigoria.

Afterwards we sat down with the 22-year-old to discuss his move, his playing style and much more in his first interview as a Roma player...

You have been in Rome for a short time now, what are your initial impressions?

Karsdorp: "My first impression has definitely been good. I came here for three days with some friends about six months ago and I really loved the city. I've been here for a couple of days now. Kevin [Strootman] has told me lots about it. I can't wait to get started."

You started in the youth team at Feyenoord, playing first as a central midfielder and then moving to right-back. How would you describe your main characteristics as a player?

"Yes, I used to play as an attacking midfielder until the age of 18 or 19 then I switched to right-back with a licence to get forward. As for my best attributes, I'm strong and fast and I have a decent shot on me. I can improve the defensive side of my game, though.

"I've been playing in this position for three years and I'm still learning but getting better all the time. In any case, I'm at my best going forward."

What are your targets for the upcoming season?

"It's hard for me to say because I've spent my whole career at Feyenoord until now. Moving to Roma is a big step forward. My first target is to play as much as possible and hopefully I'll be able to do that. Football is the same everywhere."

With Roma you will also have the chance to play in the Champions League…

"I've just left Feyenoord, who will be back in the Champions League next season for the first time in a few years. It's important for me that Roma will be playing in it too because I want to see how I measure up against the best. It's always been one of my targets and I can't wait."

You have previously faced Roma, in the Europa League, what did you think of the club then?

"Feyenoord are a much smaller club than Roma and I was still a rookie at the time, just 19 years old. I had to come on early in the match against the mighty Roma, but I'm not the sort of guy who gets nervous before games, no matter how big they are. I managed to put in a good performance.

"I remember there was a wonderful atmosphere and lots of Feyenoord fans made the trip too. My impression in general, and of the stadium especially, was very good.”

Kevin Strootman praised you on social media recently. You know him from the national team; did you speak about him before moving to Roma and how valuable will it be to have a familiar face in the dressing room?

"Yes, I was on holiday in Mykonos when Kevin sent me a couple of messages to say I could call him or write if there was anything I wanted to know about the club so I did.

"He said I can count on him for anything I need. That's very important for me. I don't speak Italian and my English isn't that good either so it's great that I'll be able to communicate with Kevin right from the start of the season."

Is there a player from the past or the present that you try to emulate or model your game on?

"People have asked me that before in Holland. Actually, I try not to model myself on anyone and just focus on myself because everyone plays the game differently. I play differently myself from one game to another, although I try to be as consistent as possible.

"In any case, I don't want to emulate anyone. My own style is different because I've switched from attacking midfield to full-back."

You are known as the ‘train’ in the Netherlands. How did this nickname come about?

"Sometimes I carry the ball out of defence and charge up the wing flying past opponents, so people started calling me 'steam train'. I think I'm pretty fast – that's why they call me 'the train'!"

Do you have a message you would like to send to the fans?

"I love the fans. They're so important because they can really spur you on to do better and better. I've spent my whole career at Feyenoord but now I'm here, full of enthusiasm and looking to realise my dreams. I know I've still got lots of room for improvement and I hope to become a better player here.

"I'd like to end with my first words in Italian: FORZA ROMA!!!"

Click here to read the full story as Roma completed the signing of Karsdorp.

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