After struggling to impose himself in his first season in Eindhoven midfielder Adam Maher is finally beginning to find his place at PSV.

  • By Michael Bell
  • Follow Michael on Twitter

maher 123psvAt the end of the 2012/13 Eredivisie season Adam Maher had the world at his feet. The then 19-year-old had starred for AZ Alkmaar during the campaign, scoring ten goals and adding a further ten assists as the club lifted the KNVB Cup, while he also earned five caps for Netherlands national side. A summer of transfer speculation followed and although Ajax and Arsenal were linked it was PSV Eindhoven who stumped up €6.5 million to take the Moroccan born star to the Philips Stadion.

With the World Cup looming, Maher was expected to star in his first campaign for the Eindhoven side and take his rightful place as Wesley Sneijder’s successor to the number ten role for Netherlands in Brazil, but to the surprise of most, he struggled to live up to expectations.

At AZ Maher was given a free role as the play-maker behind striker Jozy Altidore with his main aim to either score goals or lay on assists. However PSV coach Phillip Cocu wanted Maher to expand his all round game, and with Georginio Wijnaldum in the number ten role, he was asked to play in a deeper position. PSV started the season brightly but then their form dipped, and with Maher unable to handle his new defensive duties, and the pressures of playing for a bigger club, the youngster was forced to earn a brunt of the criticism.

Maher was unable to express himself on the pitch, and it was off it where he seemed to be gaining the most headlines after re-tweeting a comment on twitter criticising his teammate Ola Toivonen, who had been picked in the starting eleven ahead of the youngster. The midfielder was then forced to deny claims of unfaithfulness to his girlfriend after being caught in a compromising position with another women inside his car by a Dutch magazine.

With PSV making a late surge to reach the Europa League, Maher was rooted to the bench as Cocu put faith in Swedish youngster Oscar Hiljemark and it came as no surprise when he was not among the names of Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad. Maher had gone from Netherlands next big thing to a flop in one season.

However there are signs so far that Maher has re-found his form this season with the midfielder a key part of Cocu’s side that currently sit top of the Eredivisie after six matches. Maher has clearly worked hard during training to adapt to his new role, and looks far more comfortable helping out at the back whilst also showing great determination to join in attacks.

On Sunday against Cambuur Maher put in his most impressive PSV performance to date, assisting twice from two perfect set piece deliveries, whilst also creating a further three chances for his team-mates and sealing the 4-0 win with his first ever headed goal. It wasn’t only going forward that Maher was so impressive, the midfielder also made four interceptions, 3 blocks and five attempted tackles to help out his defence.

After his man of the match performance on Sunday, Maher spoke to the media about his new found confidence after the disappointments of last season stating, “Last year was very instructive. I know whats expected of me now and i need to show that.”

In Phillip Cocu, Maher has one of the best all round midfielders of his generation to learn from, and if he can keep up his level of performance then he will once again be named among Netherlands biggest talents.  Maher has got people’s attention again, he has regained his PSV place, his form, and he will be hoping a place in Netherlands national team follows, along with the Eredivisie title.

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