Former Netherlands youth coach Kees van Wonderen has given some advice to Mohamed Ihattaren.

The current Go Ahead Eagles head coach was in charge of Ihattaren with the Netherlands U17 squad that won the European Championships.

As a guest on Voetbal International’s live show, Van Wonderen was asked about Ihattaren, “I think Mo is a fantastic player who can make a difference, but you always have to work with Mo. You have to keep him on track. Mo has to do that himself, but he needs an environment that does that.

“You have to try to bond with that boy so that he feels that you want the best for him. Then you can also be hard on him at the right times. Then he sees the necessity or the seriousness of the situation and then he also provides the other.”

Ihattaren’s attitude once worried Van Wonderen, but he admits he has changed, “When we were preparing for the (Netherlands) Under-17s, I was watching a game at PSV. Then he looked way too heavy, way too easy, with gestures to fellow players. That made me think, I’m never going to get you into the group. Only a few months later you see him again and you invite him to competitions, then you see what kind of boy he is, that he has also taken steps, that he is fit and makes a difference, and then you want him to have him there with you.”

Van Wonderen believes players like Ihattaren and young Dutch talents cannot think that talent is enough to get them to the top. They must work hard and he advises players to watch Liverpool, “What I often said to players is: look a lot at Liverpool. Take a look at what Mane, Salah and Firmino are doing at the highest level. If that’s the norm, you can’t say, “The opponent has the ball, I don’t have to do anything” Or: “If I lose the ball, I don’t have to switch.”




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