Ones To Watch – Igor Bezdenezhnykh

Biography

Name: Igor Bezdenezhnykh

DOB/Age: 08/08/1996 – 20 years old

Club: FC Ufa

Position: Central midfield

Nationality: Russia

Career so far

Igor Bezdenezhnykh has spent his entire career in his home city of Ufa, graduating through several youth teams before joining his cities biggest club, FC Ufa. As a 17 year old, Bezdenezhnykh made Ufa’s match day squad numerous times in their promotion season from the FNL, although he failed to make an appearance. His reward for impressive performances at youth level earned him a call up for Russia’s U19 squad for the U19 European Championships in 2015, and he played a pivotal role as Russia made it to the final, where they were defeated 2-0 by Spain. A highlight for Bezdenezhnykh will be a goal and assist to claim a 2-2 draw against Germany, with his goal viewable below.

After the tournament, many tipped him to break through into Ufa’s senior squad for the 2015/2016 season, but aside from a couple of sub and cup appearances, he did not get much of a chance until he started the final game of the season against Spartak Moscow, a game which they won to ensure they were not relegated. Ufa changed manager over the summer of 2016, and new boss Viktor Goncharenko’s reputation for using young players immediately paid off, with Bezdenezhnykh becoming a cornerstone of Ufa’s 5-3-2 formation, with the youngster typically playing deepest in the midfield trio, in which he is often joined by 18-year-old Ivan Oblyakov. As a result of his impressive year, Bezdenezhnykh was nominated for Russian Young player of the Year, but lost out in the end to CSKA Moscow’s Aleksandr Golovin.

On the international stage, Bezdenezhnykh has made the step up to the Russian U21 squad, and like at U19 level, had his best performance against Germany, where he once again claimed a goal and assist. In the most recent games, he has infact been named captain of the side, and took charge in two friendlies against Switzerland U21s in November.

Strengths

Bezdenezhnkyh is a classic deep lying playmaker. He is capable of acting as a defensive midfielder, but in Ufa’s deep 5-3-2 formation, he thrives in picking up the pieces from a failed opposition attack, to launch long accurate balls towards his tenacious striker team-mates. At club level, in his current role, he rarely moves forward with the ball, preferring to sit very deep, and dictate play. His long passing is certainly his best aspect, but he is a bit of an all-rounder, and when asked, can operate higher up the pitch, and has a reputation for taking on a long shot, with a number of his goals at reserve and international level scored from outside the box.

Weaknesses

Bezdenezhnykh is very slight for a player who will regularly be getting involved with the physical side of the game, and that can count against him at times, he can be weak in a challenge, and relies on his awareness and positioning to be able to operate in his role to an effective level His small build also means he is not great in the air, and is subsequently quite poor at defending set pieces, preferring to sit on the edge of the box and start a counter if the ball is cleared. The role he is playing is not one that young players find themselves in very often at the top level, so there is a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He also does not seem to be 100% confident running with the ball, and has lost the ball in dangerous positions on occasion, so to have him deeper and just playing the ball seems to be his best role.

What’s next?

Still just 20 years old, Bezdenezhnkyh has a long career ahead of him, but already he is showing himself to be a worthy Russian Premier League player. With an ageing core of national team central midfielders, there will soon be a chance for a new generation to take over, and that is already happening to a point with players like Aleksandr Golovin, Pavel Mogilevets, Aleksey Miranchuk and Roman Zobnin gaining call ups just this year. If Bezdenezhnykh can keep up this impressive form, a domestic transfer and potentially a future call up would not be out of the question in the coming years, as the bigger clubs old guard begin to gradually retire.

Author: David Sansun

Arsenal and Rubin Kazan fan. Possibly too optimistic for Russian football which means I’m left disappointed a lot.

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