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Vincent Janssen - an inside view from Holland

Posted on 12 July 2016  - 17:30

As a sports writer on the largest Dutch national newspaper De Telegraaf, Mike Verweij has kept a close eye on Vincent Janssen’s progress to the top of the goalscoring charts in Holland and into the Dutch international team.

Mike was in the press box at Wembley when Vincent marked his first start for Holland with a goal and fine performance in a 2-1 victory against England in March.

So who better to give us an insight on Vincent from across the North Sea? Here's what Mike had to say...

mike_verweijYou’ve watched Vincent for a long time, what do you make of his move to Spurs?
Mike:
“You can compare Vincent to Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen, two signings you made from Ajax. These are normal guys with such a huge drive to succeed. I think Vincent is one of the biggest talents in Holland and that was the reason he won the Johan Cruyff Trophy this year, a special award here and even more so this year because sadly it’s the year Johan Cruyff passed away. As well as football, one of the aspects of this award is being a good role model and Vincent is exactly that. He’s a down to earth guy and an example to a lot of youth players.”

Vincent showed real character to come back from being released at Feyenoord when he was younger. How was his road to the top viewed in Holland?
Mike: “Feyenoord said he wasn’t good enough and he said ‘okay, I will go my own way and reach the top’. In Dutch again, we say ‘there are more ways of going to Rome’ and he did that. He’s not in Rome of course, he’s in London, but you know what I mean! He was really willing to go to the top in his own way. He had to dig deep but he’s at the top now.

“Vincent played in the second division of Dutch football at Almere City and one of his team-mates was Rodney Sniejder, brother of Wesley Sneijder. Rodney told me at that time ‘watch this guy’ because after watching him in training, he believed Vincent would play for the Dutch national team one day. You could see his talent and his mother is Annemarie Verstappen, an Olympic swimmer (she won three medals in LA in 1984) so you also knew he had the right mentality. Rodney was right!

“Vincent is really good for Dutch football because as you know, we’ve had a disappointing time, we didn’t qualify for Euro 2016 and we always want to see our players at the highest level and Vincent is doing that.”

Below: Vincent with Mauricio Pochettino

vincent_mp730x500

What type of striker is Vincent?
Mike: “Again in Holland, we say he has ‘lungs like a horse’ and that means he never gives up. He can lift the whole team and he’s really good for team spirit, because he is so enthusiastic. Also, he’s so cool in front of goal. Last season, when he had a chance, almost every time it was a goal. He showed that at Wembley. That was only his second cap and the first in the starting line-up. Holland got a penalty and the referee was still just about blowing his whistle and he was already walking to the penalty spot! That is typical of Vincent Janssen. He will take his responsibility and he’s really cool at every moment.
“I think he will fit in perfectly to what Mauricio Pochettino is doing at Spurs. A lot of people in Holland compare him to Dirk Kuyt, a player who moved to Liverpool (a striker who won over 100 caps for Holland), because he shows that will to win, that right mentality. He can reach the heights. He has all the qualities of a really good striker and Spurs can be really happy signing him.

“It says enough about Vincent that there were a lot of clubs interested in him but once he said ‘I want to go to Spurs’ he didn’t change his mind at any moment. If he wants it, he will get it. That’s Vincent Janssen.”

Mike Verweij is a Sports Writer covering Ajax and the Dutch national team for De Telegraaf, Holland