Feyenoord have already brought many reinforcements to De Kuip this summer. However, during Friday afternoon’s press conference, coach Arne Slot was asked if this would come at the expense of their own young players’ chances. “I am extremely grateful to you for asking this question,” Slot replied.
This gave him the opportunity to explain the situation in detail. “Last year there was already a lot of room for young players in the squad, because we had such a small squad. Thirteen left and now only ten came back. Last Thursday we played eleven against eleven at the training and there were five U21 players on the pitch. At the moment there is even more room for them than last year because we have fewer players.”
In the long run, however, this is not a desirable situation. “In a top-level club, you have to give a young player a chance, because he can compete with the players, or because we see the potential he can have in the short term. we had to give young players opportunities to get out of poverty because otherwise we can’t find players, they have to show in training that they are getting closer and closer to the desired level to play at Feyenoord.
However, another long-standing problem emerges. “It’s very difficult for these boys because they have no room to grow under the resistance. As a Feyenoord talent, you have to be able to compete at first-team level at the age of ten. -seven or eighteen, because otherwise there’s little room to grow, which is why we regularly choose to hire these guys.”
How do you determine if a young player is hired or not? “I don’t decide that on my own. We also have the importance of our Under-21 team because we really like to see that the next manager who is here won’t have to say that young players don’t have really good resistance.. We really want to make sure we get into that pyramid somewhere. That means we can’t hire all the talented young players who are hanging around in between.
“It’s well thought out. Then we come to the conclusion whether or not it’s desirable for a player to be rented.” In the case of Naoufal Bannis (FC Eindhoven) and Marouan Azarkan (Excelsior), for example, it was decided yes. “I think they are too good to have only a few minutes as a substitute every now and then, and never be able to play any further. It’s much better and more desirable for their development. Marouan has already scored a nice goal in the Eredivisie and Naoufal already has two goals and an assist in Eindhoven.”
Conversely, Noah Naujoks is an example of a young player who stayed in Rotterdam and was allowed to make his Eredivisie debut against Vitesse last Sunday. “I think he finished it perfectly. If I bring in Noah, I’m sure of one thing: he won’t stand still for a second. He keeps running and flying in succession. And he’s also shown those last weeks that he is “We didn’t have an alternative to the striker position yet. If there is room and they have the qualities for it, I am a coach who is not afraid to field young people.”
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