Davy Propper’s spectacular goals and imaginative playing style have made him a force in this PSV side as they strive to break new ground in the UEFA Champions League and retain their Eredivisie title. Propper has thrilled fans, teammates and managers alike with brilliant performances.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
  • Follow Chaka on Twitter

propper psv herHector Moreno plays a perfectly lofted ball into Luuk De Jong which is headed away by an onrushing CSKA Moscow defender, the ball bounces off an unsuspecting Steven Bergwijn into the path of a lurking Davy Propper who gets his body over the ball and sends a perfectly arrowed volley past De Jong and Bergwijn who hastily get out of the way as the helpless CSKA goalkeeper is beaten by a well-driven shot into the bottom corner. That was the goal that thrust PSV above Manchester United and into the knockout stage as Propper, who had already endeared himself to the PSV faithful, etched his name into the history books as a cult hero.

It would have taken a lot from most players to fill the boots of former captain and Dutch Footballer of the Year, Georginio Wijnaldum, but Propper has done it well into his first season, so much so that the sight of Wijnaldum would evoke only beautiful memories rather than regret at his departure. Propper has filled and taken up the Newcastle midfielder’s mantle with aplomb becoming an integral component of Phillip Cocu’s PSV team.

The Arnhemmer was signed from his hometown club Vitesse where he made his debut as an 18 year-old and his career really took flight after the departure of best friend and current teammate Marco Van Ginkel when he could really put his stamp on the side. He is doing the same at PSV where he has now scored 10 goals and created 4 in all competitions as he is a starter in the current champions and current leaders of the Eredivisie. At 24 years-old, he is a player that most of the younger players look up to and as one watches him play, it makes one wish that they were more young players like him coming through.

As a midfielder that meshes flair, industry, grit and hardwork while maintaining consistently good performances and having a penchant for making jaw-dropping passes and scoring remarkable goals, he is the type of midfielder that is everywhere at great effect. There is no better Dutch midfielder at working the tight spaces than Propper who with a shift of feet or an adjustment of body can play a one-two or defence splitting pass that seems rudimentary on the eye but is complex in practice. The nonchalant swagger in which he pulls of these astonishing pieces of skill are not due to arrogance but come part and parcel with the player himself. This has led to his former coach at Vitesse Peter Bosz to declare that he has ‘ a lot of football intelligence’.

Propper is more admirable because there is a semblance of humility to all his brilliance and was a very amicable personality in the Vitesse dressing room, so much so that some of teammates were sad to see him go. Eloy Room once said he would have physically tied Propper down to prevent him from leaving while Guram Kashia who apparently taught him how to maintain a beard was quoted saying he would miss Propper as a footballer and as a friend.

Propper has a willingness to play on the front foot as 83% of 796 completed passes are forward passes while he has created 48 chances this season according to Squawka. His 77% pass succession rate may seem low but this is because he is more courageous with his passing than other midfielders with 2 key passes per game as he will look to be more incisive when he has the ball at his feet. He also does a job defensively as he has 2 tackles and 2 interceptions per game this season as he is an undroppable force in PSV’s starting lineup.

Marco Van Ginkel hits a magnificent cross-field ball to Jurgen Locadia as Davy Propper is making a run into the Groningen box just behind Luuk De Jong. The midfielder manages to hold his run just enough to be available for Locadia’s cut-back while adjusting his body enough to divert the ball past Reijnen and into the goal with one touch. Manager Phillip Cocu could only sit back and watch in amazement as he said ‘Those are the moments you enjoy as coach of your team,’ in his post-match press conference. This will probably not be the last of brilliantly crafted and finished goals that Propper and PSV bless us with as the midfielder is a gem.

Propper is an all-action midfielder in the mould of Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic as he is stimulated by increased challenges and obstacles in midfield battles. Technically excellent while being able to take care of himself physically, he is a player who neutrals love to watch playing football as he gives nothing but effort in a game. Danny Blind has been criticized in the past for not calling him up but the player is now one of seven PSV players in the recently named Dutch provisional squad for friendlies against France and England. He will certainly be an arrow in the quiver of Cocu and Blind going forward as he is a special player to be watched.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)