“This is my sixth pre-season here, I can’t believe it!” said Jan as he took a moment to reflect between training sessions. “And it’s great to be here.”
Jan was 25 when he joined us from Ajax in July 2012, having just been named Eredivisie Player of the Season after winning successive Dutch titles.
Now he’s 30, a father, settled in London and on the pitch, topped the 200 appearance mark (now on 204) for the Club at the end of last season. Whisper it, but he’s also our oldest outfield player! So many changes, on and off the pitch.
Below: Jan back on the ball at Hotspur Way
“Five years…it’s crazy really,” he continued. “I looked at some photographs from my first season (2012-13) and it seems a while back now!
“I’ve had a great time. Lots of things have changed, people coming and going, I even had a couple of months at the old training ground (Spurs Lodge). Hugo and Mousa joined in the same window. Danny Rose was on loan (to Sunderland) then Harry joined the first team squad the year after.
“If you look at where we are now, we’ve improved every season and it’s great to be part of that.”
With no summer tournament for Belgium, Jan is back at Hotspur Way refreshed and getting stuck into pre-season number six at the Club.
How’s he finding it? “It’s a bit different every year and a different time coming back for me because I’ve had Euros (2012, 2016), World Cup (2014) and now I’m here from the start, I feel fit and this is how pre-season should be,” he said.
"We’re training hard, everyone is back, everyone looks sharp and on top of their fitness and we’re putting the work in.
“There’s a great vibe. We’re normally together every day for most of the year and ahead of pre-season, we haven’t seen each other for a few weeks, so it’s great to be back and speak about holidays and what’s going on in the world in and outside of football.
“Everyone is ready to be a better team and a better individual and that’s the feeling you need if you want to improve.”