Klaassen and De Jong impress youth trainers: ‘Frenkie was a boy with his own opinion’

Davy Klaassen and Frenkie de Jong are preparing for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. At their old clubs, however, the duo already made a big impression on their trainers. ‘At one point we said to Davy: in the game you can only hit the ball twice.’

‘A blond boy came in from The Zebras. He thought: I can’t learn anything at De Zebra’s, so I’m going to try something else’, Wendy van der Ploeg, trainer of Klaassen in the E1 of HSV Wasmeer, looks back at Khalid and Sophia. “And he shot a ball, then I thought, this is not something a normal kid his age would do. Then he was ten. I was training with my father at the time and I said to him: you have a look. Then he replied: I would bring him in, that will be something.’

Van der Ploeg continues: ‘So in the end we had a very good team that year, but you have talent and exceptional talent. And Davy was exceptionally talented. He was so easy with the ball, he knew how to run and pass. He already knew in advance where to go if he didn’t have the ball. At one point we just said: You are only allowed to hit the ball two more times in the game. After the break Davy said: now I want to score with a bicycle kick. Then he told the keeper that he only wanted high balls.’

“When you think of Frenkie, you just see the fun again”

Robby Hendriks, trainer of Frenkie de Jong in the Under-11 of Willem II, is also at the table. He talks about the young years of the FC Barcelona midfielder. Frenkie was a boy with a mind of his own. As a trainer I could say we are going to play like this and like that, but in the field it could suddenly look very different, because then he would have found his own way. It’s just the grace in him, the fun. When you think of Frenkie, you just see the fun.”

Hendriks is asked about the moment when he saw De Jong’s exceptional talent. “That question is asked so often,” says the youth trainer. “I think his strength was that he didn’t get into a duel. I’ve seen plenty of times when an opponent tried to stop Frenkie, but he was already gone. He had seen it many times before. If you now see that he also has fellow players around him who understand that, that was often not the case in his youth. He already had something in mind and the teammates walked in the other direction.’

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