In 2003, Tore Reginiussen became one of Norway’s up and coming young stars. He started his career at his local club Alta, where he made his first-team debut aged nineteen. After their relegation that season, he became a regular in their side, and helped them back to the top division in 2004/05. During that season he made a total of 23 appearances in all competitions and became a target for bigger clubs. In 2009 after making 91appearances in three years at Tromso, he got his big move to Bundesliga side Schalke 04. His time in Germany was hampered by injury, and in 2012 after loan spells in Serie A and Denmark, he signed for Rosenborg. This scout report will look at the playing style of Reginiussen. It will provide a tactical analysis of his performance in the UEFA Europa League fixture vs PSV Eindhoven, and the impact on the tactics they used on the night.
Position and Role
To begin this analysis, Reginiussen has been playing as a right-sided centre-back in a 4-3-3 system deployed by his club side. For the national team, where he earned a recall in 2017, he plays on the left side of central-defence. Still, he can also play in midfield or at right-back.
Against PSV, he took up his customary right-sided position of a back four. Known to be more of a combative defender, Reginiussen does possess good technical ability on the ball, and is comfortable in possession. Against PSV, his 37 successful actions, out of 43, shows that he is very comfortable amongst Europe’s elite sides. Also at thirty-four years of age, he is the oldest member of the squad, so his leadership skills are vital to Eirik Horneland’s team in games like this.
Rosenborg only managed 31% possession all game. As you can see from his heat map above, Reginiussen spent most of the game in the defending transition, in the next section, we will look at his vital defending attributes.
PSV’s front three of Cody Gakpo, Steven Bergwijn, now at Tottenham, and Bruma not only possessed high technical ability, and real pace to run in behind the back four of Rosenborg, they would look to keep possession of the ball and draw the Norwegian side out from the deep block they took up. This would then allow them to play in behind.
Eindhoven would target Reginiussen and his side, as they knew with his age, that he might not be able to deal with them physically in a foot race. What stood out was the positions Reginiussen took up to combat this and how he used his years of experience not to get exposed.He was very astute at picking up the cues and triggers of what was going to potentially happen, whenever there was minimal pressure on the ball, he would drop off quickly and close the space up behind him. At times he would anticipate this instantly. The ball would be played into the feet of the forward allowing them time to turn. This would allow him to get into effective 1v1 defending positions and stop crosses into the area; also this would slow down attacking moves from PSV, which would allow recovery runs to happen. They got into regaining good shape quickly. He was never afraid to come out of his central position and defend in the wide channels.
Also, what stood out was Reginiussen’s positional play, as you can see in the image above. He would place himself in positions where he could affect all potential scenarios that could happen, whenever the ball was transferred wide he would stand on the outside of the attacker. This would put him in a position to do three things (1) if the ball was played down the side of him he would be first to the ball in a race (2) intercept a through ball along the floor (3) step in and intercept if the pass was into the forward’s feet or stop him turning.Defending from wide areas, he was also very effective; he would always position himself inside the near post space. Because of his excellent footwork patterns, he would get his body in the right shape to clear the danger with his head or feet with effect.
When in possession
More known for his defending strengths, Reginiussen also showed he is very comfortable in possession of the ball. This is possibly down to playing in midfield in the early part of his career coming through the system in Norway. He doesn’t look like your modern-day centre-back, dropping off and receiving it from the keeper, or always looking to play out from the back, but he was willing to be brave and take the ball in all situations, even when PSV pressed him high up the pitch.
He wasn’t afraid to relieve pressure when needed by playing a long pass in behind the back four of PSV. Over the 90 minutes, he was composed and showed real experience which had a calming effect on his teammates who showed some excellent passages of play, even if they didn’t have a high percentage of the ball over the game.
Previously I spoke about how he would position himself to affect all scenarios that could happen. He would place himself where he would tempt a pass into the forward’s feet; this would allow Reginiussen to then step in and pinch the ball, it would commit a PSV player which would free up a passing line for a teammate.
When Rosenborg did have decent possession, Reginiussen wouldn’t be afraid to take up an aggressive starting position the PSV half, with this action he would look to break lines with a pass through the PSV lines.
Reginiussen would always create good angles for teammates when they had good possession, in this image PSV set up in a compact shape, he would always drop off to make a significant distance for him to be pressed, this would allow him to make appropriate decisions by switching the play or just keeping the game moving.
He also showed a good range in his selection of passing, looking to switch the play when he could with a long diagonal pass or ball dropped into the front players.
Reginiussen in transitions
Because they would lose the ball cheaply at times, Reginiussen on the defending transition would quickly drop off and become narrow. This would force the PSV attacker wide.
This was very clever defending as he realised that he could get exposed if he released and pressed too early. This would also let the team regain shape quickly stopping any potential counter-attack from the home side.
Rosenborg would be aggressive with how they pressed in the middle part of the pitch, this mainly down to Reginiussen applying pressure on the forward from behind, forcing him into the midfield. As soon as they got the first contact on the ball, he would then drop off quickly, creating an angle to receive. This provided good depth to the side and time in possession of the football. Also, this would allow his teammates to get in attacking positions.
Throughout the game, Reginiussen display was excellent, but PSV’s game plan was clearly to attack down his side of the pitch. This was mainly down to Vegar Eggen Hedenstad, Rosenborg’s right-back, being too high up the pitch. Or, they tried to expose Reginiussen 1v1 as much as possible, also with the pace that the home team possessed in their front three. It was clear to see that he didn’t want the ball played over the top of him centrally, which at times left big spaces to run into for the home side.
This image above led to PSV scoring, and is a prime example of how they mainly attacked down that side of the pitch. Reginiussen took the right decision with his first action coming centrally to close off any potential dribble or pass. Still, he almost overcompensates and leaves a clear passing line and a lot of ground to make up when it becomes a foot race.
With the concern of the threat the front three posed with their direct pace running in behind, Reginiussen would drop off too early to protect the space in behind him. This would then cause him problems also, as Rosenborg’s midfield three would lose balance and shape, which would create pockets of space for Bergwijn and his teammates to drop into. They would then be able to receive and turn with the ball.
Reginiussen’s decision making at times also left him exposed. During the game this would happen if he tried to read the situation before it even happened. He would get too tight to the forward which would lead to the forward spinning away from him or if he stepped in to win possession. The pass would cut him out; this would also create space behind him, allowing forward runs.
My analysis of Reginiussen and his performance in this European fixture has shown that he still has a lot to offer at the top level of the game, and his experience and know-how is vital to Rosenborg and the young squad of players they have. The main thing is how long he will be able to stay at that level? At the age of 34 and with his injury background, it looked at times to be catching up with him, his positional play and tactical understanding will get him out of trouble. Still, against more accomplished opposition he will get punished more. He also must take massive credit for getting his career back on track after spending so much time out of the game, but you almost feel potential that was never quite fulfilled.