Jetro Willems 19 Defender PSV Netherlands
2013 has been…
Good, still a way to go but solid progress never the less.
As the football world picked over the corpse of Holland’s dismal performance at Euro2012 several things were abundantly clear. Attitudes had to change, reputations needed to be ignored, players had to be selected on form alone, and somewhere in the autopsy was the inescapable fact that the tournament had been a rough one for Jetro Willems. It’s fair to say probably wasn’t ready at that time to handle the pressure of representing the Oranje at that level, and his struggle to give anything meaningful to the attack or cope any better on the back foot was just one of a litany of faults in a truly miserable couple of weeks.
Fast-forward to the back end of 2013 and we now have a player who it’s clear has learned from the experience and is working at his craft. At 19-years of age it already feels like he’s lived a footballing lifetime. The left-back position at PSV is very much his own and between him and Daley Blind, the left side of Holland’s defence for this summer’s World Cup is also sewn up. A run of good form should see Willems preferred as a starter despite Blind playing the recent friendlies, and second time around in a major competition you can’t help but think he’ll be much better equipped to deal with whatever’s thrown his way.
He still has a mistake in him and there are still things to learn, but this is a 19-year old defender yet to make 100 first-team appearances in what in modern football has become perhaps the key area of the pitch. He’s come a long way in a short space of time and still has a way to go, but the progress so far suggests he’s going to handle that learning curve as well as he’s dealt with the last.
More chances to grow, work to do to push up the table with PSV and then that World Cup thing in the summer. Not a bad looking next six or seven months for a player who enjoys his workload.
If PSV remain mid-table by the season’s end then the rumour mill will definitely spark back into life. Manchester United remain long-term admirers and with Patrice Evra’s likely departure this summer they may well rekindle interest if David Moyes stumbles across Fergie’s scout report drawer and realises Everton won’t let go of Leighton Baines for less than he’s worth. Perennial rivals City are also said to have looked at him several times and were heavily linked with making a bid in the summer, Chelsea were also mentioned in dispatches, and don’t think for a minute that the new contract signed in April of this year will put any of the above off if they decide to move for him.
So far he’s had a rough ride, emerged better for it and keeps improving. The next move will be an interesting one, there is certainly no point going anywhere unless he feels he’s going to play as regularly as he does at PSV and can continue to develop, so we would be more than happy to see him stay put for another year or two. We have a feeling a good World Cup might well bring him to a lot of people’s attention and PSV may receive a couple of offers they can’t refuse. Here’s hoping if he does move it’s to the right club who can continue to nurture a really good player on the path to becoming a really great one.
“The Euros in 2012 were too early for the young full-back and he is still prone to the odd mistake, but Willems is an incredibly gifted talent who, if he can improve his concentration, can become the Oranje left back for years to come” - Michiel Jongsma, Benefoot
"Jetro Willems attempted 94 dribbles in the 2012/13 Eredivise; more than any other defender in the league." - Opta
C+ Mentally strong and with the talent to back it up, this is a far from the perfect player but one who is putting in the hard yards to get there, if he signs for your club prepare to immediately take him to your hearts…