Jurgen Locadia has long been a talented player in the ranks of PSV as a rough upbringing has affected him as a player and a person. At the beginning of the season, it seemed to be another season of frustration for him until he finally got a chance in the first team and made it his own. His growth into a team player has been an intriguing sub-plot in another successful season for PSV Eindhoven.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
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locadia psv heJurgen Locadia has long-been a highly-regarded prospect at PSV and in the Eredivisie as this season became a season of growth and adaptation for the Dutchman. After being a mainstay in the first team during Phillip Cocu’s first season and being PSV’s top scorer with 13 goals, he only played a bit-part role in the next season as the triumvirate of Memphis Depay, Luuk De Jong and Luciano Narsingh resigned him to the bench. This season, after initially seeming like he would spend another season on the periphery or possibly away from the Phillips Stadion, he quietly cultivated a season where he would lead PSV in assists.

Jurgen Locadia has had a whirlwind season which culminated in an Eredivisie title triumph for the 22-year-old. The forward was the star of PSV’s pre-season but found opportunities hard to come by after the signing of Maxime Lestienne. He had to be talked into remaining at the club by Cocu after failing to show up for training. However, after De Jong suffered an injury and Lestienne had to deal with tragedy in his family, he found a space in the starting lineup and made it his own.

The burly forward is no stranger to struggle and responsibility as after his family emigrated from Curacao, he was without his father as a toddler and had to grow into the man of the house and look out for his mother and three younger sisters. His family had little resources while he was a youth player in Emmen and Tilburg with FC Emmen and Willem II as his mother had no driving licence and couldn’t afford a car so him and his sisters had to travel with her by train.

“My mother took me everywhere by train, a driver’s license she had not. We had no money and had to save us with minimal resources. It is always remembered what she has done for me,” said Locadia to PSV magazine last year.

“We were not wealthy, members sometimes hungry. As a child you get along fast enough if you’re suffering family. That hurt me and I pulled it to me. As the only man in the family, the eldest of four felt it my duty to ensure my duty to my mother and sisters. As a child you can not quite. I blamed myself. Meanwhile, I have forgiven myself for that time,” said Locadia in the same interview.

On his neck, the world ‘Forgiveness’ is tattooed in Arabic which is fitting as he has admitted to speaking to his father and it took the same sentiment for PSV and Cocu to allow him back into the fold after missing training earlier in the season. His childhood has given him a maturity and awareness for the evils of life but has also fostered an eccentricity that has given him an edge on the pitch but has also led to some naive decisions in his short career. This season has been a microcosm of his life and career with the brilliant pre-season, training incident, scoring the opening goal against Wolfsburg in the home Champions League tie, hitting the post in the away leg of the knockout phase against Atletico and scoring one and assisting another in the title-winning match against PEC Zwolle at the end of the season.

Locadia’s selflessness in his personal life has translated into a selflessness on the pitch as he has made the role on the left-flank his own. His amazing upper body strength has allowed him to challenge even the toughest of fullbacks as his quick feet and pace are influential to PSV in the build-up phase and on the counter while he enjoys drifting into the centre to drive shots at goalkeepers. However, PSV and Belgian legend Luc Nilis who also acts as PSV’s striker’s coach told Fox Sports that he believes that he has the ability to replace De Jong in the future.

Regardless, Locadia has put a season behind him where he has been an instrumental force for PSV in the Eredivisie and in Europe. He has also been selected for the Dutch National Team’s matches against Ireland, Poland and Austria. Cocu and his coaching staff which is brimming in prestige and knowledge have not just honed his ability to play facing his goal as a striker but he has produced some incredible assists for teammates this season. His perfectly weighted cross for Davy Propper away at Groningen and his superlative through ball to De Jong for his second away to PEC Zwolle on the final day of the season are to name two.

He created 42 chances this season and led PSV in assists with 10 while also having scored 12 goals in all competitions. He has 3 shots per game while boasting a 53% shot accuracy percentage and having one key pass per game. His growth into a multi-faceted forward has been steady but if he is to make it as a striker like De Jong, he will need to improve his aerial ability. Locadia has no problem scoring headers when he is in the box but he can be ineffective in the air during build-up play which forces PSV to play the ball on the ground and greatly limit their game.

Locadia finishes this season in somewhat of a purple-patch as he will go into next season with a spot in the starting lineup and something to build on. He has made strides personally and professionally this season while at only 22 years of age, he is not too old to continue to learn. He is an elder-statesman in Eredivisie terms and the intriguing journey will continue with a coach that believes in him and in an extremely young and talented squad which is the standard bearer for football in the Netherlands.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)