After failing to make the breakthrough at Manchester City, Rodney Kongolo is back in the Netherlands with Heerenveen and looking to prove a point.

  • By Michael Bell
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Born in Rotterdam, Kongolo followed his older brother Terence by joining the Feyenoord youth academy and quickly stood out as one of the hottest prospects at the club.

While Terence would go onto the Feyenoord first team, Rodney was being closely followed by several clubs around Europe and instead of signing a professional contract at De Kuip, he decided on a move to Manchester City in 2014.

The then 16-year-old was a regular for City’s U19’s for the next few seasons and was eventually named the captain. He starred in the UEFA Youth League during the 2016/17 season and netted four goals in the U23 side.

Last season it was decided that Kongolo would be loaned out to gain his first experience of senior football. He joined League one side Doncaster Rovers on an initial six-month loan deal, and things began well with Kongolo a regular starter and impressing. However, after deciding to extend his stay until the end of the season, Kongolo’s form dipped and he was used mainly as a substitute. In 42 appearances, Kongolo contributed one goal and four assists.

Kongolo was coming into the final year of his deal with Manchester City and with no first-team chance appearing, Heerenveen swooped to take the youngster back to the Eredivisie.

Kongolo is currently a Netherlands U20 international, having been capped at every age group since the U15’s.

Style of Play

Heerenveen has brought Kongolo to the club as an alternative to defensive midfielder Stijn Schaars, who is struggling with constant injuries.

The 20-year-old is an athletic, powerful and combative midfielder, who will look to screen the defence, win back possession and drive his team forward. He gained comparisons to Yaya Toure during his time in the Manchester City due to his powerful running and effortless dribbling technique.

Kongolo is a leader on the pitch, a gifted passer and possesses a powerful strike with his right foot.

What to expect from Kongolo this season

Kongolo made the decision to leave the Netherlands at a young age and now returns looking to get his career back on track. The 20-year-old showed great signs of promise in the Manchester City academy but his loan to Doncaster was a disappointment.

With Heerenveen, Kongolo now gets the chance to prove himself once again and a successful year at the Abe Lenstra Stadion should enhance his reputation once again.

Heerenveen are looking to challenge for a European place once again and have several young talents in their squad. Kongolo could become a leader on the pitch and strong performances could lead to a big move next summer.

Michael Bell (59 Posts)