Sam Lammers joined Heerenveen on loan in the summer looking to prove his worth to PSV Eindhoven and on Sunday the talented striker did just that in an almost perfect all-round display against Ajax.

  • By Michael Bell
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The Johan Cruijff Arena has been a defensive fortress for Ajax this season with Erik ten Hag’s side only conceding two goals in eight home Eredivisie clashes so far. The Amsterdam giants also haven’t conceded more than two goals at home in the league since 2014 when PSV came away with a 3-1 victory. Well, that was until Sam Lammers and Heerenveen turned up on Sunday.

The 21-year-old was highly regarded coming through the PSV Eindhoven academy but couldn’t take his chances in the Eredivisie last season. In seven league appearances he failed to find the net and despite the wavering form of Luuk de Jong, Lammers spent most of the campaign with Jong PSV.

This summer, De Jong stayed at the Philips Stadion and to aide the youngster’s development, PSV agreed to send Lammers on loan to Heerenveen for the season. The Frisian’s wanted to include a deal to make it permanent, but PSV still saw a future in the Netherlands U21 international and refused.

Lammers has been an ever-present for Heerenveen so far but has only managed to show glimpses of his talent for Jan Olde Rienkerink’s struggling side. Six goals in fifteen games before the winter break was seen as a disappointing haul for the forward, despite braces against De Graafschap and AZ Alkmaar. The reports going back to PSV wouldn’t have been too glowing.

However, 2019 has got off to a perfect start for Lammers, who put in the performance of his career so far on Sunday to terrorise Ajax and keep his parent club PSV on top of the Eredivisie.

PSV had just dropped two crucial points at FC Emmen and a win for Ajax would have seen them leapfrog the Eindhoven side and top the Eredivisie for the first time since 2016. However, Lammers hadn’t read the script and he earned Heerenveen a 4-4 draw thanks to a wonderful brace and an assist.

With the score 1-0 to the hosts, Lammers equalised for Heerenveen with an excellent solo goal. Turning away from Daley Blind with a lovely move, Lammers drove at the Ajax box before driving a low strike with his left-foot into the bottom corner.

Ajax went into the break 3-1 ahead but minutes into the second half, Lammers once again burst past Blind and this time with his right-foot, guided another excellent strike past Kostas Lamprou. Heerenveen then silenced the Johan Cruijff ArenA when Lammers turned on the halfway line before playing an excellent pass into the path of Mitchell van Bergen, who cut inside Daley Sinkgraven before firing his side level. Lammers had orchestrated a wonderful comeback.

Heerenveen would draw the game 4-4 thanks to a last gasp equaliser and Lammers would play a big role in two moments before the end. Firstly he was denied a stonewall penalty after being brought down by Lamprou and then in injury time, Lammers played another excellent through ball which cut open the Ajax defence, but this time Arber Zeneli couldn’t finish past Lamprou.

Lammers had done his parent club a massive favour and drew widespread praise for his performance with Pierre van Hooijdonk and Rafael van der Vaart both waxing lyrical about the striker on Studio Voetbal, while former PSV striker Gerald Sibon told Eindhoven’s Dagblad that while Lammers still needs developing, “Signs are positive” that he can be first choice in Eindhoven.

Lammers performance has raised his profile in the Eredivisie and got PSV fans once again excited about his future. However, one game doesn’t make a career and only in becoming more consistent in the next six months at Heerenveen will the young man from Tilburg become a top player and come into contention for Oranje.

Netherlands are crying out for a new striker to make their breakthrough into the national team at the moment and in Lammers they possibly have another forward that can not only be a clinical finisher but also technically gifted with the ball at his feet.

It’s an exciting time to be Sam Lammers at the moment and the youngster who has been called the new Marco van Basten could be about to take the Eredivisie by storm!

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