10 of the most exciting young football players to watch in the Eredivisie in 2013, rising stars breaking through in Holland. Part of The 10 Series brought to you by Just-Football.com. Follow this link for an introduction to The 10 Series (including criteria) and here for 10 of the best young players in Italy and France:
(PSV Eindhoven, 18 years old)
The loss of Zakaria Labyad should have been a blow, but the way he left many PSV fans uttering ‘good riddance’. They weren’t cutting their nose to spite their face but aware that something big was coming.
Memphis Depay, another graduate of Sparta Rotterdam’s burgeoning academy, took his first steps in a PSV shirt last year under interim boss Phillip Cocu. His new boss Dick Advocaat liked what he saw. In short, Depay is a modern winger without limitations. He’s already threatening to cement a first team place but it might be another season before he lines up regularly. In the meantime we can just enjoy his development.
(Ajax, 18 years old)
When Ajax lost out on Luciano Narsingh to PSV they turned their attention to Sweden. Marc Overmars – their new sporting director – had been keeping close tabs on IFK Göteborg’s Tobias Sana. He started the season as the winger on everyone’s lips.
Recently however it’s been Viktor Fischer who is really beginning to emerge at the Amsterdam Arena. Positionally, it is more accurate to label Fischer as a ‘wide-playmaker’. The Dane – star of last season’s NextGen Series – has in the few games he’s played showcased why many consider him one of the biggest talents in Europe let alone in the Eredivisie. Denmark are already alert to his talents and he won his first senior international cap against Turkey.
(FC Twente, 20 years old)
“Thierry Henry,” was the name that came to Oranje U17 coach Albert Stuivenberg’s mind back in 2009, when asked to describe Luc Castaignos. He showed glimpses why in his ‘breakthrough season’ (2010/11) at Feyenoord, where he graduated, enough to attract the attention of Italian giants Internazionale. His season there was counterproductive. A return to the Netherlands and FC Twente has kick-started a career laced with promise.
(Feyenoord, 18 years old)
Feyenoord were heading for defeat in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie against Sparta Prague, played in front of their supporters at De Kuip. As the seconds ticked away, they started to throw the kitchen sink. Lex Immers picked up the ball near the by-line and crossed into the penalty area where it was met by teenager Anass Achahbar – who had been on the pitch for eight minutes. The ‘street footballer’ backheeled a memorable equaliser.
With limited forwards at Feyenoord he looks sure to receive chances to display his ‘fearlessness’ and mercurial talents in the red and white this season, and although restricted to substitute appearances in the league he is slowly beginning to break through.
(AZ Alkmaar, 19 years old)
Last season’s ‘talent of the year’ has continued where he left off. The technical aspects of Adam Maher’s game have drawn comparisons with Andrés Iniesta; intuitive, vertical, fast, fleet-footed, adventurous and intelligent. The way he glides between the lines, spatially aware, creative, his eye-of-the-needle passing and dribbling. Being likened to a legend may be a burden for some but not him.
Still only 19, he’s already AZ’s most important player. Guus Hiddink: “A special talent, you can see this boy has quality.”
(Heerenveen, 20 years old)
When at full flight there’s no better player in the league to watch. The “Serbian Kaka” as they’ve started to call him. An exaggeration, maybe, but Filip Đuričić has everything. He brings a different dimension to Heerenveen’s game – a similar sense of grace that the Brazilian showcased in Milan, though not quite *that* good before anyone says.
Heerenveen might be a shadow of what they were from last season, but his stay – as well as the emergence of striker Alfreð Finnbogason – guarantees they will continue to compete.
(RKC Waalwijk, 21 years old)
“Rodney is the future. He looks more like me, but he is left-footed. He just uses the other to walk. Many people in Holland begin playing in the street. Rodney has the best technique between us. I can’t tell him anything because he has already got the talent. He just needs to have his head tied on a little tighter.”
Wesley Sneijder clearly has confidence in his younger brother. Big things were expected of him at Ajax but that’s in the past. At RKC Waalwijk he can really start to write his future.
(Feyenoord, 21 years old)
Along with Adam Maher, Jordy Clasie is one of the biggest natural talents in the Netherlands. The duo recently made their Oranje debuts and seem to be part of Louis van Gaal’s plans in the build-up to World Cup 2014.
Clasie effortlessly dictates play in the position of ‘controller’/No6, and switches Feyenoord’s play superbly. His neat precision short passing coupled with the ability to go long and direct has earned him the nickname “Xavi of De Kuip”.
Currently the crown jewel of Varkenoord – the club’s academy – Clasie has recently been joined at the table by another supremely gifted footballer, details below.
Marco van Ginkel
(Vitesse Arnhem, 20 years old)
Don’t be fooled by his pop star looks – (“My nickname is ‘Ginkeltje’ or Justin Bieber. I seem to look a bit like him…”) – Marco Van Ginkel is a serious talent ready to take the Eredivisie by storm. He’s threatened to do so before but now in a stable Vitesse squad he is commanding playmaker duties and has turned promise into reality. His call-up and subsequent international debut against Germany was testament to that.
Tonny Trindade de Vilhena
(Feyenoord, 17 years old)
Alongside Jordy Clasie this prodigious talent is another Feyenoord wonderkid rolling off the academy conveyor belt: Tonny Trindade de Vilhena. Vilhena was part of the triumphant Dutch U17 at the 2012 Euros alongside Thom Haye of AZ – another seriously talented youngster to keep an eye out for.
Vilhena doesn’t turn 18 until forty-eight hours after New Year is ushered in, but is already one of Holland’s most promising and talked about teenagers (part of the same age group as Karim Rekik now at Manchester City). Blessed with all the natural attributes a midfielder capable of playing between the lines requires, his fleet of foot and pace is a succulent compliment to his physical stature and sharp brain. He’s already shown the wherewithal of riding the sternest of challenges.
Recently signing a contract extension until 2016, supporters of Feyenoord can look forward to more mercurial displays by an individual that best encapsulates the modern midfielder; dangerous on the flanks and elegant playmaking through the middle.
Which young Eredivisie players do you think should be watched closely in 2013? Have your say by leaving a comment below.