PSV have struggled to keep pace with the Eredivisie leaders this season, while boss Phillip Cocu goes about a major reconstruction of the Eindhoven club’s squad. Now sitting 14 points adrift of surprise table-toppers Vitesse, can new loan signing and former Twente favourite Bryan Ruiz provide the catalyst for a late surge up the league ahead of this evening’s huge clash with Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA?

  • By David Lee Wheatley
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bryan ruiz aCocu has his sights firmly fixed on promotion of young players from the academy set-up into the first-team, as he tries to build an exciting team for the future at the Philips Stadion. However, they are having to endure some pain on the way, with fans having to put up with watching several lesser lights and also traditional arch-rivals Ajax and Feyenoord occupy the top six slots just beyond the halfway stage of the season.

Costa Rican Ruiz was a huge hit at FC Twente before his switch to Premier League side Fulham in 2011 and supporters will hope he can give PSV that extra experience that perhaps they have been missing so far under Cocu. Ruiz is desperate to be fit and raring-to-go for this summer’s World Cup finals and wasn’t interested in occupying the substitutes’ bench for the remainder of the English season in west London, therefore deciding a loan move to Eindhoven would provide the perfect chance to gain regular game-time while attempting to rescue a rather disappointing campaign for the Dutch giants.

Skilful, creative and with an eye for goal, Ruiz struck 24 goals to be crowned Eredivisie top goalscorer in 2010, the same year that an FC Twente side led by Steve McClaren became Dutch champions. Moving to Fulham for a large fee, the Central American was expected to become a star of the Premier League, especially when considering he’d been scouted closely by both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur before the eventual transfer to Craven Cottage.

However, English football only saw brief glimpses of what Ruiz was capable of due to fluctuations in form, problems cementing automatic selection when seemingly in-and-out of the starting line-up and a broken foot injury in April 2012 that brought to an end his opening season there. It seemed Ruiz couldn’t cope successfully with the lightning pace of the Premier League and ultimately his association with Fulham halted following two-and-a-half years with the club.

PSV head coach Cocu will view the move as a fabulous opportunity for both his side and the player himself to get back to their highest levels, starting with a daunting away trip to face second-placed Ajax today. Ruiz always provides significant danger for opposition defences when striding forward purposefully and also from his accurate set-piece deliveries, thus providing PSV with an added cutting edge that has been largely missing before now.

Despite the undoubted understanding of the PSV board in regards to the difficult job in hand, Cocu knows that anything less than a top-three spot would be viewed as a failure within the upper echelons of the famous club. He will put all of his trust and faith in 28-year-old Ruiz to rediscover his own sparkling form once again, while signalling a rousing fight-back in the Eredivisie.