With a aching heart, Dick Lukkien bids farewell to his captain, Michael de Leeuw, after this season. FC coach Emmen calls this a big compliment to the 34-year-old striker that FC Groningen wanted to bring him back.
After losing his left hand with the departure of Anco Jansen from NAC Breda in early February, Dick Lukkien has to do without his right after this season. FC coach Emmen has been able to read and write in recent years with Michael de Leeuw, his extension on the pitch, after the forward said goodbye to his adventure in the United States at Chicago Fire for an employment contract at Drenthe in the 2018/2019 Season. The two had known each other since their stint at SC Veendam and FC Groningen.
“Michael is a guy you really want to be with,” Lukkien says. “In all the periods that we have worked together, he has always shown what he can do. He is, again this year, the driver of the team, in matches, training and beyond. He will continue to do so until his contract expires here. I’m convinced. Then he will do it for FC Groningen. I wish him this step, even if of course I would have preferred to keep him at FC Emmen.
‘De Leeuw is not happy with a role in the dressing room’
Lukkien thinks it’s a big compliment to De Leeuw that FC Groningen wanted to bring North Brabant back to the Green Cathedral. “It’s somewhat surprising that a club like FC Groningen shows interest in a 34-year-old striker, but at the same time it’s a big compliment to De Leeuw and says something about his form and quality. Knowing him, he will not be satisfied with a role in the locker room.
“I remember how he got to Veendam when he was 21 or 22,” recalls Lukkien, who acknowledges that a close bond has developed between him and De Leeuw over the years. “If you’ve known someone for so long, a bond like this sometimes develops. We appreciate each other’s character. Michael is someone who thinks with you, says what it looks like, and is ready for you. I will miss it. ”
‘Michael de Leeuw has become a local man’
Although De Leeuw is a North Brabant, he can now rightfully qualify as a Northerner with his employment contracts at SC Veendam, FC Groningen and FC Emmen. “He became a local man,” Lukkien said. Veendam’s coach believes that if the body allows it, De Leeuw could continue playing football for a while. The striker himself has in mind to continue at least until his 36th birthday. Lukkien: “It wouldn’t surprise me if it happened a bit later.”
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