When 25 year old Dutch midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld joined Blues from Groningen for a mere £160,000 I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted how crucial he would become to Gary Rowett’s team writes Luke Turner.
To be fair, I had never heard of Maikel prior to him joining the Blues and his early season performances left me thinking. His endeavour was there for all to see but he couldn’t seem to string a pass together. As time has gone on, I have seen more of him and now it can be seen clearly what his strengths and weaknesses are. Kieftenbeld is excellent at committing himself for tackles, breaking the play up and covering ground. However, his weaknesses are that he can needlessly give possession away as well as fouls. Up until Saturday he had also barely been a threat in front of goal.
With Maikel Kieftenbeld in you team, you know what you’re going to get. You can’t expect a pin point 40-yard long pass but what he does give you a fully committed performance and 110% effort right up until the last kick of the game. Only Jonathan Grounds makes more tackles and interceptions on average per game than Kieftenbeld which shows how important he is to the team.
I can’t quite believe that we signed him for such a small transfer fee. Talk about value for money! A midfielder of his ability would cost at least a couple of million pounds if signed from the Premier League or a fellow Championship club. It just shows that there are players out there that can be sought for such little money.
I think the game on Saturday against Brentford was the game where Blues fans really discovered their love for Kieftenbeld. As the game approached 90 minutes, Maikel intercepted a pass in his own half before making a 60-yard lung busting run in support of James Vaughan and then tapped home from a couple of yards to clinch the winner. His first goal for Blues, his first goal in England and in front of the Tilton as well. You could see in his celebration that he was delighted. That goal epitomised Maikel’s style of play and he certainly fits the bill for the type of player Rowett dreams of having.
What a signing he has proved to be so far by Gary Rowett. If he continues to produce performances at the level he has so consistently so far this season then I think we could be seeing a new Blues cult hero in the making. Dutch Maik, I salute you!
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