Scouting Johanna Rytting Kaneryd

Mia Eriksson casts her eye over a player currently lighting up the Damallsvenskan and assesses where she could go next

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (JRK) is a winger who made her debut in the Swedish national senior team in a friendly match against Austria on February 19th, 2021. The 25-year-old has taken significant steps in her career in the last two years after joining Swedish side BK Häcken from FC Rosengård ahead of the 2021 season. As one of the stand-out players in the Damallsvenskan right now, it’s no surprise that she has gained attention from the big European clubs. 

Since joining BK Häcken, JRK has been one of their key players and many experts have predicted that her big international breakthrough would happen in this summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO tournament. The rumours about whether her journey as a player will continue in Sweden or not were flying around in the media ahead of the tournament. She has expressed her interest in playing in the Women’s Super League in England and BK Häcken have acknowledged that JRK is probably a player they won’t have in their squad for much longer.  

But looking at the English clubs, what team could be JRK’s next destination, and what kind of player is she? Using TransferLab, we can look closely at her qualities and determine what she could offer to a possible new team. 

Her qualities are many and varied, as we can see after looking at the Swede’s metrics in the ‘Classic Winger’ profile in TransferLab. JRK offers a lot of threat to opponents with her excellent dribbling and ball carrying, but she also assists her teammates with great passes into the box, key passes, and short progressive ones. 

Among all forwards in the Damallsvenskan over the last 12 months, she ranks highest.

As mentioned above, since joining BK Häcken, the Swede has thrived and developed her game even further. Although she is right-footed and mostly operates on the right side, her role in the Swedish team is fairly free. This can be seen the graph down below of her dribbles and carries from the last two seasons in the Damallsvenskan. They aren’t concentrated to the right side which can give us an idea of how important she is for BK Häcken in attack. 

Her role looks to have become even more flexible and free during the 2022 season, maybe because Stina Blackstenius left the club ahead of the current season and they still haven’t found a natural replacement who can take over as their primary goal threat. BK Häcken just announced the signing of former Everton striker Anna Anvegård and this also could give us a hint that a move abroad is within the near future for JRK. 

According to TransferLab’s Best XI tool looking at Damallsvenskan’s last 12 months, she is of course the platform’s first choice as the right winger in several formations, as seen below in a 4-2-3-1. 

Since JRK has been talking about her wish to play in the WSL, we can use TransferLab’s ‘Similar Player’ tool to find players with similar skill sets to the Swede to start building a picture of her in her role on the pitch: 

The player most similar to JRK is Manchester City winger and Australia national team player Hayley Raso but on this list of players, we also find other national team players such as England’s Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, and Chloe Kelly. We can also see Jess Park, who recently announced she would go on loan from Manchester City to Everton. From the ten players on the list, there is worth noting that from the top teams in the WSL, there is no player from Chelsea that TransferLab finds similar to the Swede. 

We can also use TransferLab to compare the abovementioned players in greater depth. Here’s how they stack up against each other:

As you can see, the Swede’s passing abilities in short progressive passing, dribbles, carries, and forward passes received set her apart from most of the other players. She ranks excellently across all metrics in the profile, and from this, you can tell that this is a player who could work well in the the best WSL teams.

A chaotic, unorganized organized dribbler and carrier

JRK is most known for posing a big threat to her opponents in the Swedish league with her carrying and dribbling along the flanks. She thrives in pockets of space, small or big, and she obviously get a lot of joy from taking on defenders one-on-one. 

When Sweden played Portugal in the last match of the group stage, JRK earned her first start in the Euro and it was obvious why from the get-go. As discussed before the match, Portugal’s weakness could be found defending set pieces and it was therefore vital for Sweden to try to create free kicks and corners. JRK’s dribbles along the right-hand side disrupted the Portugueses defence and threw their structure out of balance every time she cut infield. Five of the six dribbles she made during the match had a successful outcome and her ability to get to the goal line frequently posed the threat of conceding corners. 

JRK dribbling against Portugal

She also likes to operate by cutting inside and follow up a pass with quick movement to find space to receive again after passing. We can see this in the clip below when Sweden played the Netherland’s in the first group match and JRK came on from the bench. This action led to a shot assist for Fridolina Rolfö. 

JRK assisting a shot against the Netherlands with a lovely dribble and exchange of passes

What can be even better?

As with all footballers, JRK has things to develop and improve upon to cement her starting spot in the Swedish lineup. As with many talented dribblers, this is largely a question of decision-making on the ball and when to let go of it. Sometimes when watching JRK the observer can be left feeling she wants to do too much, too often.

In the below clip, for example, you cannot help but wonder what would have happened if she had let the ball go to Filippa Angeldahl, who seemed to have a perfect opportunity to shoot from outside the box, instead of trying to get behind a Belgian backline that was very compact and composed throughout the match. 

JRK dribbling against Belgium

What team could need and want a player like JRK?

As already stated when using the tool in TransferLab to find similar players to JRK it looks like her playing style could and probably should attract all top teams in the WSL. She could suit Arsenal, with their more possession-based direct passing style, or Manchester City, who are well known for building their rapid attacking play around their wingers, Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly. While it has to mentioned that reigning champions Chelsea did not have a player in the list of similar player that TransferLab presented, does that mean that Chelsea’s transitional style of play would not suit a player like the Swede or, does it mean that it’s time for Emma Hayes’ side to get that dynamic kind of player into her successful team? She could even be a player who elevates sides like Manchester United or Tottenham. Whoever she joins, there is no doubt that Johanna Rytting Kaneryd’s next move should be to a club that takes her to the next level and really shows England and Europe what a good player she is and how great she could end up being.

Image credit: Shutterstock/Mikolaj Barbanell

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