Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Player Analysis
David Selini

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David Selini

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In the last few months I’ve continuously covered the fact that there is an incredible amount of top class talent plying their trade in Serie A. One of these players is 22-year-old Serbian midfielder Sergej-Milinkovic-Savic currently starring for Lazio.

Milinkovic-Savic joined Lazio from Belgian club Genk in the summer of 2015. His first season in Italy saw him start 17 Serie A matches with eight substitute appearances also earned under Stefano Pioli and, later, caretaker Simone Inzaghi. This season, with Inzaghi now the manager permanently has seen Milinkovic-Savic develop into an integral member of Lazio’s starting eleven with the Serbian a regular in the side now having started 29 league matches. He has seven goals and seven assists in all competitions. Deployed in central midfield either in a 4-3-3, 3-5-2 or as the number 10 in a 4-2-3-1, Milinkovic-Savic has shown in whatever system the flexible Inzaghi has chosen. He combines physique and technique in a way not seen often and his future looks bright. Here we run the rule over the youngster.

Defensively

With a tall and imposing physique with his 1.91 metres, Milinkovic-Savic can dominate most opponents physically. He does this regularly too, winning tackles, powering through to win headers at both ends of the pitch and holding off his opponents by sheer strength.

In the video below we see a few examples of the midfielder winning the ball for Lazio.

Milinkovic-Savic is mostly an attacking player, but his defensive qualities are evident as he can also be deployed in defensive midfield to good effect. In deeper positions he can use his power and positioning to snuff out attacks and win back possession of the ball for his team.

Passing ability

As you’d expect of a central midfielder, Milinkovic-Savic is a good passer. He can go long or short and can play intricate through balls to his teammates. This is probably the area he needs to improve the most though, since you need to be immaculate in possession at the very top, a stage Milinkovic-Savic strives to reach.

As you see, he has the tools to become a superb passer.

In the attacking third though, Milinkovic-Savic uses all his creativity and quality to create chances for his teammates. His seven assists in Serie A is very impressive for a player who isn’t exclusively deployed in an attacking position. He remains calm when put under pressure and uses his intelligence to determine the right pass to pick out.

Dribbling

With the technique and close control to match an impressive speed for his size, the Serbian midfielder is also a very impressive dribbler. In the two clips below you see how he uses his superb technique to wriggle his way out of pressure.

This second video is also one of the greatest individual goals seen this term. The speed at which he moves the ball multiple times to find space for the shot is remarkable and the goal is exceptional.

Goalscoring

With seven goals to his name this term, Milinkovic-Savic has added an element which can take him to the very top. His physique and determination as well as the ability to time his runs has seen him become an aerial threat many teams fail to deal with. He can either score headers himself or head the ball into teammates in better positions. Just look at some of the bullet headers below to get an idea of what I mean.

Obviously, Milinkovic-Savic can score other types of goals too. We’ve already highlighted his ability to conjure up magical moments of individual brilliance but he also has a powerful strike in his repertoire. Be it from volleys, distance or cutbacks inside the box, the Serbian can score from any angle and distance.

His timing of runs into the box is specifically impressive and this is a quality which is hard to develop. Milinkovic-Savic already has it and Lazio are reaping the rewards of his ability to read the game to understand when to get into the box.

Conclusion

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a largely complete midfielder capable of playing in defensive and attacking positions. He’s better further up the pitch though where his creativity and goalscoring talent sees him make a different consistently. A superb breakthrough season is coming to its end with Lazio set to qualify for next seasons Europa League. First up though is a Coppa Italia final with Juventus where Lazio will be looking to their young Serbian midfielder to inspire them to the win. With Sergej Milinkovic-Savic you’d bet on him to deliver.

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