Category Archives: NEWS

Huddersfield Town will bask-in Carel’s talents

Yes it’s a ‘Tiger King’ pun but Will Burns suggests that Huddersfield Town have captured a good cat from Ajax in Carel Eiting.

News emerged this weekend that a deal to take young Ajax midfielder Carel Eiting to English Championship side Huddersfield Town was finally completed and the 22-year-old will spend the season in Yorkshire.

Eiting will head straight into The Terriers squad for Friday night’s home clash against Nottingham Forest and he must be in contention to make his debut. The defensive midfielder should be a big hit in England and the pace and feracious nature of the English second tier should fit Eiting’s style.

Eiting is a left-footed deep playmaker who possesses tremendous versatility – similar to Daley Blind. Naturally a midfielder, he has been known to sit in at left-back, left wing-back, an advanced attacking midfielder role and even at the heart of the defence. Although, he may struggle at centre-half in England if he were to play there due to the physical nature of the forwards.

Carel Eiting is níét de nieuwe Remco Evenepoel, maar heeft wél een goed  verhaal | Wielrennen |

In midfield or at left-back he can excel. He has great technical ability with a wide range of passing at his disposal. Although he only appear in six Eredivisie games in the curtailed season for Ajax, he achieved a 94% passing accuracy in his own half and 75% in the oppositions.

Despite standing at just 5ft 8 inches, he is carries great strength to carry the ball through the tightest of spaces and muscle many off the ball to intercept when not in possession. His power gives him strength in the tackle and he is not afraid to stick his foot in, a trait that will win many fans at The John Smith’s Stadium.

Creatively, expect Eiting to float to left side of the pitch when in possession and whip a ball from deep into the penalty area. However, for Huddersfield’s Carlos Corberan, their new coach, its Eiting’s aforementioned versatility that makes him an asset for the team that are yet to win a game this season.

Corberan’s men are adjusting to playing a new style with many new recruits and are yet to score a goal in the three competitive games this season. Eiting will be aiming to make an instant improvement to those results this Friday, but goal scoring is not his forte. Although, his team mates might see their roles freed to press forward with his addition to the eleven.

The future is unknown for Carel, his first aim is to overcome the bad luck of the past few seasons with injuries and get some time on the pitch under his belt. A player that can play in many positions comfortably is a raritery and he could be an asset for the future of Ajax.

Although, the willingness to allow Eiting to go out on loan seems to be a suggestion that the Amsterdammers would be willing to allow his career to progress elsewhere.

Feyenoord Cry “Don’t Leave Me This Way” As Leeds United Sign Summerville

Sorry for the Communards reference but Will Burns thinks given time, young winger Crysencio Summerville could be a big hit at Elland Road.

Leeds United’s new winger Summerville is an 18-year-old (19 in October) who was born and raised in Rotterdam, and he started at local amateur club R.V.V. Noorderkwatier.  It was not long before scouts were buzzing round him for his signature and he opted to sign Feyenoord in 2008 at a young age of seven years old.

Appearing at international youth level for Holland, Summerville moved through the ranks and stayed in the headlines for all the right reasons, until December 2018. He was involved in a training ground bust-up that ended up in a locker room fight with teammate Mats Knoester.  Although he apologised publicly, Feyenoord punished Summerville by suspending him and sent him on loan to Eerste Divisie side FC Dordrecht.

Despite the setback, on the pitch Summerville knuckled down and appeared 18 times for Dordrecht grabbing five goals and one assist. Dordrecht fans were buoyed by his fierce pace and cleverness with the ball at his feet.

Een van grootste talenten van Feyenoord speelt nu bij ADO: 'Ik ben een  jongen met pit' | Den Haag |
Summerville notched two goals and three assists while on loan last season in Den Haag.

He returned to Rotterdam in the summer of 2019 but was loaned out to ADO Den Haag last season due to the global pandemic.  At only 17, he gained some great experience of Eredivisie football and managed to create three goals and scored twice in 21 outings in a struggling ADO side.

Pundits tipped him to go out on loan again this year before potentially making his mark in Feyenoord but Marcelo Biesla’s Leeds United have stormed in for his signature.  Reports emerged earlier this week that a fee of £1 million had been agreed between the two clubs, after Summerville rejected a new contract offer at De Kuip.

Fans of the newly promoted Leeds need not to think that Summerville will be able to step into the first team, he is at least a year away for being a consistent Premier League player.  With his lean build, he is comfortable on either wing but not the strongest player. However, along with his tricky feet, he uses this to his advantage and wins free-kicks in abundance.

He will be a dangerous player for The Whites and under a top coach like Biesla, he will progress at a rapid rate but give him a year to settle and learn the English game. Then you will see the impact of this talented youngster.

What does Donny van de Beek bring to Man Utd’s midfield?

Ajax midfield maestro Donny van de Beek is on his way to Old Trafford to join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United on a five-year deal. Will Burns explains how Donny can improve the Red Devils.

Manchester United linked with Ajax's Donny van de Beek - The Busby Babe


The 23-year-old Van de Beek has been an influential figure over the last few years at the Johan Cruyff Arena and helped the Amsterdammers reach the semi-finals of the Champions League semi-finals and lift an Eredivisie title in 2018-19 season.

Manchester United have parted with a reported £40m to bring the young Dutchman to the Premier League but can he fit into a midfield which already boasts Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes – well yes, I believe he can.

Van de Beek rose through Ajax’s De Toekomst academy until he made his first team debut on 26th November 2015, as a substitute away to Celtic in a 2-1 Europa League victory. By the next season, he cemented his place in the Ajax midfield but it was the 2017-18 season where Donny started to shine.

Scoring eleven times in 34 Eredivisie appearances, Donny started to gain some serious plaudits and was tipped to move into the big leagues in the near future. He managed to supply a further six assists and primarily played as a box-to-box midfielder.  Head coach Erik ten Hag then moved Donny further forward the season after, where the then-21-year-old played in an attacking midfielder role and scored 17 times, with 13 assists in 57 games in all competitions.

His goals and creativity helped Ajax win the league title and the Amsterdammers unexpectedly found themselves one win away from a UEFA Champions League final. Last season, which was abruptly ended due to ongoing global pandemic, Donny shared his time as a number ten role and back into the middle of midfield. He still managed to nab ten goals in 37 appearances with 11 assists before the season was cut short.

Scout Report: What Donny Van de Beek brings to United – utdreport


As mentioned above, Van de Beek possesses the ability to play as a perfect box-to-box midfielder but he can advance forward or sit in front of the defence.  His versatility has proven that he can be the perfect link between the defence and the attack, and although he is more than adept at sticking a foot in to help out the defence, he is more comfortable going forward. However, defensively he is sound. He averaged 2.2 tackles per game in the Eredivisie last term.

Going forward, time and time again, he has shown that awareness that will see him arrive on the edge of the box late to surprise the opponents. Van de Beek shows a rare intellect with his capability to drift between the lines of the opposition, linking together team mates and finding dangerous space in the final third. The front three at Old Trafford are going to find Donny a joy to play with.

Ajax and Manchester United see eye to eye on Donny van de Beek

His Future

Now the deal has been confirmed, Manchester United fans can get excited that one of the best young midfielders in European football is going to be wearing their red shirt.

Van de Beek is suited to the English game and I can see him initially sitting in a deeper role than he usually used to for Solskjaer’s side.  As experience and knowledge of the Premier League comes to him, then you will see Donny been given the green light to play more advanced.

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, van de Beek could be alongside either Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the middle and on paper, Man Utd have one of the strongest midfield’s in the league with an exciting young forward line ahead of them.

However, Donny will not be without a fight for places with Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay also competing for the central midfield role but long-term, the position will become his own.

Can Newcastle land Feyenoord’s £20m Great Dane?

It emerged earlier this week that the usually financially hand-cuffed Premier League club Newcastle United were set to bid £20m for a striker.  The name of the player was a mystery until the cat was out the bag late Tuesday night. The Dutch press received a leak from Feyenoord that the player in question was indeed Danish international Nicolai Jørgensen writes Will Burns.

Image result for nicolai jorgensen

Last year’s Eredivisie top scorer with a 21 goals, Jørgensen has been valued by Martin van Geel, Feyenoord’s sporting director at £20m, but Newcastle have made a bid nowhere near that valuation as time of writing.

Now the Rotterdammers may well be playing financial hard ball, it’s understandable why. While rivals Ajax and PSV are profiting well from England’s megabucks (selling stars consistently to the Premier League), Feyenoord’s income is set to heavily diminish next term due to the incredibly likely failure to qualify for the Champions League next season. Currently sitting in fifth on 33 points, Feyenoord are 16 points behind current league leaders PSV.

Meanwhile, taking a lower offer for the Dane may be an option after bringing club legend Robin van Persie home this past week. Although the 34-year-old will be taking a pay cut from times past, he will still make a dent in the profit margins.

In this inflated world of the transfer windows, signing on-fees and agents is Jørgensen worth £20m in today’s market?  I’m no fortune teller but if Newcastle United can land the striker, this is what I see they are getting for the hefty fee…

A Proven Asset

The 27-year-old Jørgensen began his footballing journey in his homeland of Denmark as a left-winger and stayed in that position for the majority of his career. After exciting crowds, cutting inside and striding past defences during his youth career at Akademisk Boldklub, he earned a transfer to the bright lights of the Bundesliga at just aged 19 with Bayer Leverkusen. It proved to be a big step, too early as he struggled to win a starting berth in the first team and moved out on loan unsuccessfully to Kaiserslautern until returning to Denmark with FC Copenhagen.

Due to his 6ft 3inch height, he was moved into a target man role before heading to Rotterdam in June 2016 for €3.5m from Copenhagen where his presence really took them to greatness. The Løverne clinching the Danish league title two times and runner-up twice in his five years at the club. He notched a total of 51 times in 137 appearances in all competitions.

Image result for nicolai jorgensen copenhagen

He continued his trophy collecting inside just nine months in Holland, claiming the Eredivisie Golden Boot with the aforementioned 21 strikes, helping Feyenoord on their way to their first Eredivisie shield since 1999.

Now, Newcastle United have yet to win a major trophy since 1969, I’m not saying he can work a miracle to make them title contenders however he can add a lot to the team. But please don’t expect a prolific goalscorer, though he could encourage others to help fill that void.

Powerhouse and Poacher

Last season, even though he owns a towering frame, Jørgensen did not score a header, not a bad thing though as playing along with Feyenoord’s short passing football game, he displayed a great poacher’s instinct with fantastic reaction and composed, cool finishing. He possesses decent speed, great technical ability with superb passing range and link-up play. During the championship winning season in Rotterdam last year, along with notching the 21 goals – he layed on 11 assists.  His power allows him to hold a ball up and torture weaker defenders and if you have fast wingers on the counter attack, a chance is likely to be created.

After speaking to many that know all about the Danish game when playing internationally under Åge Hareide’s Denmark, Jørgensen has become an asset. After the years of possession football under Morten Olsen, Hareide changed the Danes attacking methods to a direct, physical style over the past six months and saw great results. Again, Jørgensen was a real key in this success. He showed he can provide an aerial threat, providing knock-ons for the vertical runs of speedster Pione Sisto from the wings.

A Future on Tyneside?

Although we have to be realistic here and realise the Eredivisie is a massive gulf in class to England’s Premier League, he does seem an ideal signing at this time for Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle. A side that lacks the domineering presence in the air to give them a Plan B in troubled times.

He gives you an opportunity to complement a direct approach and win headers in the 18 yard box when you really need that goal. He is someone who will be on the line, on the penalty spot ready to poke home, something that has really hampered the Toon’s season so far – missing that finisher.

He has proven at a lower level (Danish and Dutch leagues) to be a capable goalscorer, but in my opinion as I’ve stated, I feel he offers much, much more than that.

Can he be the asset on Tyneside that he proved to be in Copenhagen and Rotterdam?

Only time will tell… but the Geordies and especially owner Mike Ashley will have to get the chequebook dusted off first.


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Feyenoord clinch first silverware of the season

Feyenoord 1-1 Vitesse Arnhem

(Feyenoord win 4-2 on pens)

De Kuip

Saturday 5th August 2017

Image result for feyenoord johan schaal

Goalkeeper, Brad Jones proved the unlikely hero as reigning league champions, Feyenoord claimed their third Johan Cruijff Schaal in the club’s trophy-laden history – the Australian saving two spot-kicks during a tense shootout to ultimately edge out cup-holders, Vitesse Arnhem in the traditional curtain-raiser to the Dutch season at De Kuip on Saturday evening.

Both sides took the opportunity to field many of their summer recruits with both Ridgeciano Haps – who was snapped up from AZ Alkmaar and Fiorentina loanee, Kevin Diks named in the starting eleven for the reigning league champions alongside returnees, Steven Berghuis – who was signed on a permanent basis from Watford after spending the a successful season on loan at De Kuip last term and Jean-Paul Boetius – who returned to the club after a two-year stint with FC Basel in Switzerland.

With Vitesse coach, Henk Fraser also taking the opportunity to hand starts to former PSV Eindhoven ‘keeper, Remko Pasveer, Chelsea loanee, Fankaty Dabo, ex-Ajax midfielder, Thulani Serero, former Heracles man, Thomas Bruns, Slovenian international, Tim Matavz as well as Brian Linssen – who arrived from Groningen in the summer, it was hardly surprising that the first half in particular lacked any real fluency, especially from the cup-holders who found themselves on the back foot from the opening whistle and a goal-down just seven minutes in – Tonny Vilhena showing incredible vision to set Boetius away down the left, who then cut inside Dabo and found Jens Toornstra unmarked at the edge of the area with all the time in the world to volley the ball low into the bottom right-hand corner of Pasveer’s net.

This year’s edition of the Johan Cruijff Schaal included several new features, one of which being the fact that the reigning league champions were handed home advantage, which, in the early stages at least, seemed to swing the contest in Feyenoord’s favour as, cheered on by a vociferous home backing, both Vilhena and Boetius were presented with half chances to add to the host’s lead inside the opening twenty minutes.

However, Feyenoord failed to build on their early supremacy and, four minutes before the break, the cup-holders very nearly found themselves back on level terms as Linssen saw his fierce drive from the edge of the area slam against the underside of Jones’ crossbar with the Australian ‘keeper left rooted to the spot.

The second half began in much the same way as the first with Matavz being denied by a last ditch challenge from Karim El Ahmadi when through on goal after which the hosts streaked the length of the field and, when Pasveer palmed a vicious Vilhena drive from just outside the area into the path of Nicolai Jorgensen, who gleefully slotted the ball into the back of the visiting ‘keeper’s net, it appeared as through the reigning league champions had doubled their advantage.

However, another new feature of the traditional curtain-raiser of the Dutch season saw the introduction of the video referee and it was at that moment that official, Danny Makkelie opted to check what many believed to be the legitimacy of Jorgensen’s strike – with the Danish marksman appearing to have been ruled offside.

When the whistle came however, it was to award the visitors a penalty – the official having deemed El Ahmadi’s earlier challenge on Matavz a foul, leaving Alexander Buttner to step up and send Jones the wrong way from the resultant spot-kick thirteen minutes into the second half.

With both sides squandering opportunities in a largely uneventful second period – Jorgensen lashing the ball wide of Pasveer’s right hand upright when away and clear twelve minutes from time before an Eric Botteghin error let Linssen in at the opposite end two minutes later – only for the former Groningen man to hit his shot straight at Jones, the stage was set for the lottery of penalties.

In the lead-up to the game there had been much debate in the media as to who Feyenoord coach, Giovanni van Bronckhorst would back as his number one for the coming campaign with both Jones and Dutch international, Kenneth Vermeer pressing their claims until the latter was struck down with a hand injury that left the former Ajax ‘keeper side-lined for two months earlier in the week.

Whether his inclusion came by default or on merit, Feyenoord’s Australian stopper certainly did his chances of securing a second successive campaign as van Bronckhorst’s first choice ‘keeper no harm at all by denying both Tim Matavz and Milot Rashica from the spot as the reigning league champions quickly shot into a 2-0 lead with both Jan-Arie van der Heijden and Jean-Paul Boetius making no mistake with their respective efforts.

Although both Navarone Foor and substitute, Charlie Colkett managed to beat the Australian thereafter, the damage had already been done and, with Jens Toornstra having tucked away his penalty, the stage was set for last season’s top scorer, Nicolai Jorgensen to send Pasveer the wrong way and bag just the third Johan Cruijff Schaal in Feyenoord’s trophy-laden history.

Man of the Match: Brad Jones (Feyenoord)      


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PSV capture first silverware of the season

Reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven secured the first silverware of the 2016/17 campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over KNVB Beker winners, Feyenoord to lift the Johan Cruijff Schaal on Sunday 31st July at the Amsterdam ArenA reports Steven Davies.

An, at times, tempestuous first half began with Andres Guardado striking new signing Par Hansson’s crossbar with the Swedish stopper beaten after just five minutes and the reigning Eredivisie champions found plenty of joy from swift counter attacks throughout the first stanza.

Mexican international, Guardado edged ahead of his playmaking counterpart, Tonny Vilhena as Feyenoord were progressively forced to resort to long, hopeful balls into the PSV area as the half wore on.

It came as little surprise when, with 29 minutes on the clock and PSV enjoying the majority of possession, Jorrit Hendrix forced his way into the Feyenoord box and was brought down by El Ahmadi. Yet, despite 32 goals in all competitions last term, Luuk de Jong surprising sent his penalty attempt wayward – the ball shaving the bar on its way into orbit.

Tempers flared thereafter as an innocuous coming together between Isimat-Mirin and Toornstra resulted in handbags being thrown and yellow cards dished out to Toornstra and Jetro Willems respectively.

PSV were now well and truly in the ascendancy and minutes after a Pereiro shot had been screwed narrowly wide from a ball from the right a similar ball into the Feyenoord box saw an attempted clearance scuffed and Davy Propper flash a daisy cutter through a cluster of legs and into the far corner of Hansson’s net with the keeper rooted to the spot to give PSV a deserved 38th minute lead.

Cup winners, Feyenoord came out for the second half with purpose and, in a frenetic few minutes just after the restart, Vilhena drew a point blank save from PSV stopper, Jeroen Zoet before Toornstra fired over from close range.

Feyenoord chased the game throughout but looked increasingly unlikely to break PSV’s stranglehold on the game. New signing, Nicolai Jorgensen cut an increasingly frustrated figure up front, as did the rest of Feyenoord’s attacking trio and the Danish marksman was replaced by Michiel Kramer with a quarter of an hour left on the clock – their best opportunity falling to a defender, as a Botteghin header was cleared off the line after 57 minutes.

Despite having the majority of possession in the second period, Feyenoord found clean cut chances hard to come by and it was PSV who instead threatened to add to their lead: first, through Locadia who curled the ball just wide of Hansson’s left hand post after 54 minutes and then, with just a minute of normal time remaining, Jetro Willems was denied from point blank range by the Dane after being put through one-on-one with the keeper.

However, these missed opportunities did not come back to haunt the reigning Eredivisie champions who retained the Johan Cruijff Schaal for the second year in succession following their 3-0 victory over Groningen in the same fixture last season.

Man of the Match: Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven)


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Will Ajax win the Eredivisie this season?

Frank de Boer’s men are currently top of the Dutch first division and are playing some superb football as they hunt a fifth title in six seasons. Last year, PSV Eindhoven were crowned as the Eredivisie champions but Ajax are hungry to regain the title and win an incredible 34th Dutch championship.

Ajax have certainly started strongly enough, winning five of their six matches so far. In fact, they have conceded just two goals – with both of those strikes coming in the 2-2 draw with FC Twente. In their five victories, they have scored 14 goals to no reply and it appears that De Boer’s men are playing with a chip on their shoulder. They will be desperate to regain their crown and will be ruthless, especially after failing to qualify for the Champions League group stages.

PSV Eindhoven may suffer from a summer transfer window that saw captain Georginio Wijnaldum and talisman Memphis Depay leave the club for Premier League clubs Newcastle United and Manchester United. While the Dutch champions did invest in signings this summer, these two players are almost impossible to replace directly and Eindhoven will miss both stars dearly throughout the course of the season.

It is likely to be a head-to-head between these two clubs for the title but Ajax will probably be just too strong. Next up for De Boer’s side is a home fixture with FC Groningen. Their incredible early season form would suggest that Ajax may continue in the same vein and pick up all three points in this clash. For those of you who are considering betting on this encounter, it may be worth checking out Coral’s Football Jackpot.

In terms of the bigger picture, Ajax will fancy their chances of winning the title this season. Every year, they expect to win the Eredivisie and, on most occasions, they seem to perform as anticipated. It certainly won’t be easy as PSV Eindhoven are an exceptional side but the lack of Champions League football should play into Ajax’s hands and they will be able to balance their European and domestic commitments much more accurately than their rivals.

With De Boer’s incredible understanding of the game and Ajax’s talented roster, they will be there or thereabouts once again. They haven’t finished outside of the top two since the 2008-09 campaign and it would take a miracle to see the current Eredivisie leaders drop out of the top spots for the remainder of the season.

Hector Moreno on Luke Shaw: “I am so sorry”

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal confirmed that Luke Shaw has suffered a double leg fracture in tonight’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to PSV in Eindhoven. PSV defender Hector Moreno has expressed his sorrow on causing the injury writes Will Burns.

The perpetrator of the tackle, Mexican central defender Hector Moreno was interviewed by Dutch TV channel SBS6 after the game and discussed the situation. Immediately after the challenge, Moreno was visibly shocked.

“I wanted to play the ball” said the PSV defender. “Initially, I hoped it was not serious, but I was afraid that it was”.

Moreno, himself fractured his tibia in a World Cup game for Mexico against Holland in the Brazil last summer: “I know how it feels, I know how difficult such a thing is. I feel very bad about it, I am so sorry. I wish him and his family the best.”

Philip Cocu took to defending Moreno in his post-match interview:“He is a player who never enters into a challenge with the intent to injure anyone. Afterwards he focused on the match, but it does something to you, when you see something like that. I hope it’s not too bad.”

Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal also expressed his opinion on the injury of Shaw and was obviously upset: “He came as an 18-year-old boy to Manchester United and had a very difficult first season. Just now, he has made an excellent start to his second season and this happens. When he came into the dressing room, he had an oxygen mask on and he was crying. I hope he returns this season.”


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The evolution of Leandro Bacuna

A player having his career turned around by the appointment of a new manager is hardly a new phenomenon in football, but there are probably few who have enjoyed such a transformation as Leandro Bacuna.

From considering whether he had a future at Aston Villa, Bacuna has established himself as a first-team regular since the appointment of Tim Sherwood as manager and has subsequently been rewarded with a new five-year contract


Photo by  Ben Sutherland

Talk of a call-up to the Netherlands squad ahead of Euro 2016 may still be a little premature, but Bacuna has shown how quickly fortunes can change in football and an impressive season could yet see him force his way into Danny Blind’s plans. If he can propel Villa towards a top-10 finish, for which they are 8/1 at the time of writing with Betfair, then he could be the man to provide the back-up for Gregory van der Wiel in France next summer.

The 24-year-old joined Villa from Groningen in the summer of 2013 for a relatively bargain price of £1.5million and he was signed initially as a winger. During that first season at Villa Park under Paul Lambert, Bacuna carved out a reputation for being something of a dead-ball specialist and he scored five Premier League goals.

He was also given a few games at right-back by Lambert, but the start of Bacuna’s second season saw the Dutchman fall out of favour. So much so that, up to December 2014, Bacuna had made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League. It wasn’t until New Year’s Day, in a 0-0 home draw with Crystal Palace, that Bacuna actually started a league game last season.

In truth, it wasn’t until the appointment of Sherwood as the long-term replacement for Lambert that things really started to look up again for Bacuna.

Arguably a key moment in Bacuna’s Villa career was when he scored in the 2-1 victory over Leicester in the FA Cup, with Sherwood watching on from the stands. Bacuna cut in from the left-hand side of the penalty area and curled home a perfectly-placed shot. What better way to demonstrate to the new manager what you can offer?

There was probably a little bit of good fortune on Bacuna’s part, and misfortune on that of his team-mates, that he was given a chance in the team in the Premier League after Sherwood took charge. With Villa short on fit defenders, Sherwood picked Bacuna at right-back and it was an opportunity he grasped.

Bacuna started 11 of Villa’s last 13 games in all competitions last season and was a key figure in helping the club stave off the threat of relegation to the Championship. He started the final seven Premier League games and supplied five assists in all as Villa stayed up by three points.

Sherwood acknowledged that Bacuna did have to be given a crash course in how to play at right-back, but he has learned quickly on the job and seems to be a better long-term prospect in that position than another converted winger Antonio Valencia, who spent most of last season in a defensive role for Manchester United without ever looking convincing or offering enough going forward. It was no surprise that Louis van Gaal signed a specialist right-back in the summer in the shape of Matteo Darmian.

Bacuna was left out of the starting line-up for the FA Cup final against Arsenal last season, but Sherwood’s caution in preferring the experience of Alan Hutton was understandable on such an occasion and especially given Alexis Sanchez would have been his opponent.

However, further work on Bacuna’s role at right-back over the summer has clearly paid off as he was selected in that position for Villa’s opening game of the season at Bournemouth. He retained his place for the second game against Manchester United and performed a solid job up against his fellow Dutchman, Memphis Depay. There were one or two occasions when Bacuna was caught out by runs off the ball, but he generally did well in quelling the threat of Depay when he was out wide.

Photo by  mollyig

For Villa’s fourth game of the season, Bacuna was pushed back up into the role of winger against Sunderland and was substituted during the 2-2 draw. It’s likely that he is only going to play as a winger sparingly this season as Sherwood has spoken on several occasions about how he sees Bacuna’s long-term future at right-back for Villa.

Playing in that position has helped to improve his passing accuracy as he was at just 71.3% in his debut season at Villa, but that rose by seven per cent last season and he is nudging 80% in the early weeks of this season.

Keeping possession will be a key role to Bacuna keeping his place, but he has the raw materials to develop into a fixture at right-back. With such an emphasis on full-backs being able to attack proficiently in the modern game, Bacuna’s experience as a winger will stand him in good stead.

He has already shown an ability to learn defensively and, with the expected natural progression of continually playing at right-back, Bacuna can become one of the best in his position in the Premier League.

Saints keen to seal £8m million deal for Celtic’s Van Dijk

  • Southampton are keen to sign defender Virgil van Dijk from Celtic this summer as they look too shore up their defence.
  • The Dutchman is likely to seek pastures new after his side was knocked out of the Champions League by Swedish side Malmo.
  • It is understood that Ronald Koeman is monitoring the situation and is set to offer £8 million for the 24 year-old.
  • The St. Mary’s side have previously been linked with Sven Van Beek and Terence Kongolo two versatile defenders who currently play for Koeman’s previous club Feyenoord in the Eredivisie.

Southampton are keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk from Scottish Champions Celtic for £8 million, which looks likely to happen before the end of the transfer window on Tuesday.  The Dutch centre back is said to favour a move away from Parkhead after his side were recently knocked out the Champions League by Swedish side Malmo in their recent qualifier on Tuesday night. The Dutch International has stated: “It’s a terrible way if it ends like this but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The defender is also thought to of known about the speculation regarding a move to the South Coast, but when asked he stated: “I can’t say anything. I think you need to ask the board. I don’t know what will happen in the coming days. Celtic is an amazing club and I’m very thankful for everything they have done for me.”

Van Dijk was signed in 2013 by Celtic for a fee of around £2.5 million, from FC Groningen were he spent a full season, before moving to Ronny Delia’s side on a four-year deal. At 6ft 4ins he has the physical stature to deal with the rigours of Premier League football.

He was part of the defence that went 1,215 minutes without conceding a goal, breaking the 43-year-old Scottish League record set by Aberdeen’s keeper Bobby Clark. Van Dijk has also won Celtic’s player of the year award for 2014.

With Toby Alderweireld signing for Tottenham Hotspur and Sven Van Beek along with Terence Kongolo interest cooling, boss Ronald Koeman will be looking to get the deal over line as soon as possible.

Arsenal and Swansea have also been linked with the defender in recent times. It is thought that the defender may prefer the switch to Southampton after Fraser Forster and Victor Wanyama have both made the move to the Saints from Celtic.


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Waltzing Matilda in Kerkrade… Roda add Aussie Wonderkid to their ranks

There’s been something of a revolution happening at Roda JC in the past few months  – one of the Down Under variety.  With Roda JC announcing today the signing of Aussie young gun Daniel de Silva, they now have signed 3 Australians in this transfer window.  De Silva will have compatriots Tomi Juric and Rostyn Griffiths for company in Kerkrade this season.  So Dutchman living the land of Oz, Rogier Waalder looks into who these Aussies are and why the sudden love for all things Australian for Roda JC.

Roda JC does have a bit of history when it comes to signing Aussie players having had the following players on their books:

  • Zelko Kalac (Goalkeeper) – played over 100 games for Roda between 1998 & 2002 and is renowned as bit of a club legend. Roda sold him onto the then Serie A side Perugia.  Kalac is now Goalkeeping Coach at Western Sydney Wanderers.
  • Graham Arnold (Striker) – Roda signed Arnold from Sydney United in 1990 and he would go onto scoring over 20 goals in his 60-odd appearances for the club before having further successful spells at NAC and Sanfrece Hiroshima. He would later go on to be Manager for the Australian National side and is now the Manager for Sydney FC.
  • Gary van Egmond – Van Egmond played 10 games for Roda in the 1990/91 season.

One suspects though that this latest Aussie influx at Roda is down to the fact that they are using Han Berger as a Technical Director (via his football consultancy firm).  Berger has strong ties to football in Australia having been Technical Director for the Football Federation of Australia from 2009 to 2014 and even had a spell as National Manager during this time.  Berger is using his knowledge of the Australian market to Roda’s advantage, whilst offering Australian talent an opportunity to play in a European league.  All three of the current Australian players at Roda have been signed from the A-League but all three do have European experience.

Rostyn Griffiths was the first Australia to sign this transfer window when he joined from Perth Glory.  English-born Griffths went through the youth ranks at Blackburn Rovers and had loan spells at Gretna and Accrington Stanley whilst there.  He moved back to Australia and played for a few A-League clubs before heading off to China with Guanghzhou R&F before  further spell in the A-League.  A defensive midfielder, Griffiths is capable of scoring a goal or two has started all three Eredivisie games for Roda so far this season.  Griffiths is yet to be capped by the Socceroos so will be hoping his form keeps up in Kerkrade.

Tomi Juric is somewhat of a coup for Roda JC when he signed from Western Sydney given the fact that clubs like Hull City and Club Brugge were rumoured to be in for his services.  Juric has a similar playing style to Aussie legend Mark Viduka and both also share Croatian heritage.  Juric had spells in Croatia during his formative years but it was his spell with the Wanderers that earned him the plaudits with Juric contributing to the clubs fairytale Asian Champions League success in 2014.  Juric has been capped nine times for Australia and also contributed goals in Australia’s Asian Cup title in 2015.  A strong, mobile striker Juric will score goals if presented with opportunities.

Daniel de Silva is the closest thing Australia has to a ‘wonderkid’ at present and despite being only 18-years-old could prove to be a very shrewd signing for Roda JC.  De Silva is of Portuguese heritage and this skilful attacking midfielder caught the eyes of the football public during the Under-20 World Cup in 2013 when he scored a spectacular goal against Colombia when only sixteen.  His performances in that tournament resulted in a transfer to AS Roma who immediately loaned him back to Perth Glory.  There is some confusion as to whether de Silva is on loan to Roda JC from Roma or Perth Glory, with speculation that his Roma contract was terminated due to squad rules difficulties.  No matter for de Silva who knows that he is a Roda JC player for the next two seasons with Berger waxing lyrically in the Dutch press about the skills and potential of his young prodigy.

Footballing eyes in Australia will be keenly trained on the Eredivisie this season to see how this next generation of young stars handle the transition from the A-League to the Eredivisie and hopefully have the same success as the likes of Jason Culina, Tommy Oar and Brett Emerton.


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Remember the name of Hakim Ziyech

Last season, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordy Clasie caught all the attention in the Eredivisie all earning moves to Premier League clubs, but one man that no-one noticed was FC Twente playmaker Hakim Ziyech. The midfielder over the upcoming campaign will be looking to make a big impression on the Eredivisie and I believe he has the capacity to do just that. He is a young, exciting midfielder and here is why I think he could be the next big thing to come out of Holland writes Alex Gardner.

Our number two in the 2015 Total Dutch Football Top 50, Ziyech is a 22-year-old central midfielder who was born in Dronten, Netherlands and began his footballing career in the youth ranks of ASV Dronten, his local team. He then went onto join the football academy school of SC Heerenveen in 2004, and on the 2nd August 2012, he made his first competitive appearance for the Heerenveen first team in a Europa League qualifier against Romanian outfit Rapid Bucharest, in which Heerenveen won 4-0.

He grabbed his first goal for the Friesland club the following season in a league game against NAC Breda, he would then go on to notch nine goals and nine assists for Heerenveen, this impressive feat in just his second season at the club is what grabbed the attention of quite a few clubs, most notably of which were Twente.

Ziyech joined Twente in August 2014 for a fee of around €3.5 million on a four-year deal, this was a massive opportunity for the midfielder to show Holland what he can really do and further himself as an accomplished playmaker, and in the 2014/15 season. He did exactly that by being a vital player in a struggling Twente team, getting an incredible 13 goals and 16 assists, and was also involved in the most goals in the league (29), two more than Memphis Depay, a season that any number 10 in the world would be proud of.

Despite having the best season of his career, he was hardly noticed outside of Holland, partly due to Twente having a very poor season and partially due to all the attention going to the man-of-the-moment Depay. Despite all of that, Ziyech has been linked with Bundesliga side VFL Wolfsburg as a possible replacement for Kevin De Bruyne but Twente are very keen to keep hold of their man as he is vital to their upcoming campaign and selling him would be a massive loss to the club.

I have been keeping my eye on Ziyech for quite a while now and I can tell you he is one of the most exciting players I’ve ever watched. He is quick, his crossing is sublime, he has got a superb range of passing and his set pieces are unrivalled. Ziyech possesses a powerful left foot and he can make something out of nothing, he literally has everything you could want in a number 10. Whenever he gets the ball you just expect something to happen, he is the sort of player that can change the entire complexion of a match all by himself.

Taking all that into account and then also think about the fact that Ziyech is still just aged 22, and you have a player with bags of potential, in my personal opinion, he will be the next superstar. Hakim Ziyech – remember the name.


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Liverpool to Go Dutch?

In the last few days Liverpool FC have parted company with assistant manager Colin Pascoe and first team coach Mike Marsh. Since their departures many names have been touted as possible replacements for Pascoe and Marsh. Subsequently, fresh reports suggest Brendan Rodgers may go ‘Dutch’ in his recruitment of new back room staff  writes Darren Harrison.

'PSV ontvangt afwijzing van beoogde aanwinst; Liverpool wel in de race'

Both Rene Meulensteen and Boudewijn Zenden have been linked to replace Pascoe and Marsh in previous days. Furthermore, there is no surprise in Liverpool looking at two highly rated candidates to fill the voids left by Pascoe and Marsh. Meluensteen had previous success working part of a successful back room staff at Manchester United, his experience and expertise could be what the back room staff at Anfield lacked last season.

On the other hand, Zenden is part of a back room staff that was responsible for PSV Eindhoven success during last season Eredivise. Zenden, could be persuaded to return to England after previously working alongside Rafa Benitez during his short stint as Chelsea manager.

In addition to this, it does seem Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is looking to recruit potential staff who have been successful on and off the pitch, to organise and revitalise a Liverpool team that failed to live up to the expectations of the 2013-2014 season during last season.


Name-Darren Harrison

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