GdS: Reijnders experiencing the unusual feeling of being benched

By Oliver Fisher -

After being virtually immovable for the first few months of the season, Tijjani Reijnders once again started on the bench during Friday night’s win against Lazio.

La Gazzetta dello Sport recall that Milan got a 13th league goal from a substitute thanks to Noah Okafor, and also managed a clean sheet for the first time since the win over Napoli, but it marked the third consecutive game where Reijnders started on the bench.

Stefano Pioli brought him on half an hour from the end to keep the ball and try to attack, but the exclusion is new, especially because the Dutchman had never rested so much.

Reijnders has been playing non-stop for almost two years. Last year he played 54 games out of 54 for AZ Alkmaar, who were dragged to the Conference League semi-finals, eliminating Lazio in the process.

He played almost all of those games for 90 minutes plus injury time, with the exception of a couple of preliminary matches against Tuzla City and two other Eredivise matches against Feyenoord and Emmen.

TJ, as he likes to be called, has earned the reputation of a football ‘workaholic’ and that is part of what drew Milan to him. Until the match against Monza, which was his second benching of the year after the one against Newcastle in the Champions League, he hadn’t rested even a minute.

He played in a three-man midfield and a double pivot, earning acclaim both as a regista and as a mezzala. He has still started 32 games out of 35, and 22 of them without being replaced.

Being left out against Lazio was largely due to the birth of his first child, born this week. Pioli specified this in the press room before the match, adding that the Dutchman did not train for this reason.

Against Atalanta, however, the coach admitted it was a technical choice: “I chose Adli for the positions he takes in the defensive phase.” A good choice perhaps, because apart from the draw the Rossoneri played a great match. Reijnders remained on the bench for the entire game.

The last time it happened was in May 2022, during a play-off match against Heerenveen. Reijnders is the third-most used player in the squad after Maignan and Theo Hernandez. So far he has been on the field for 1998 minutes, with two goals and three assists, and he should start on Thursday.


Tags AC Milan Tijjani Reijnders


  1. I think Pioli will use Reijnders less in the coming games in the future because he realized that the defensive part of the game alongside him is much “softer” and that this is one of the reasons why we get so many goals.

    1. “defensive part of the game alongside him is much softer ” – We don’t have proper defensive mids outside of Bennacer who hasn’t hit form yet.
      But of the mids available Reijnders offers calcio verticale more consistently than others.

      I’m sure Reijnders is secretly enjoying this break.

  2. The guy got burnout for playing full matches like a lot and then his first child just born. So of course he got benched.

    But i’m sure he will start again paired up with Benna or Adli.

    1. because when do Milanisti not complain on these threads? 🙂

      “Pioli doesn’t rotate enough” – PioliOut
      “Pioli over-rotated” – PioliOut
      “Pioli doesn’t play the youth enough” – PioliOut
      “Why did pioli play Jimenez… Terraciano…” – PioliOut

      You see a pattern? 🙂

      1. ““Pioli doesn’t rotate enough” – PioliOut
        “Pioli over-rotated” – PioliOut”
        Because that’s exactly what he does. He plays the same team for like 2 months in a row, the comes a game where he makes 6 changes in one go.
        Okafor-Jovic-Chukwueze is a bad attacking line because they barely play together what he should do/shoud have done is something like:
        Leao-Jovic-Pulisic, Okafor-Giroud-Pulisic or Leao-Giroud-Chukweze. This way the subs will get playing time within a structure that’s already functioning.

  3. I saw Adli start against Lazio. Then I saw Reijnders come on… PALPABLE improvement.

    That’s my issue with Adli – he has been too inconsistent.

    Reijnders on the other hand has been overused and his form had dipped. Amazing what a little rest can do.

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