A revelation in the Eredivisie this season, Jerdy Schouten’s reputation is on the rise at Excelsior Rotterdam and a move to one of Netherlands big three seems inevitable for the man dubbed the Frenkie de Jong of Kralingen.

  • By Michael Bell
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On cloud nine from their 6-2 hammering of Ajax the week before, Feyenoord turned up at their neighbours Excelsior on Sunday confident of sweeping aside their little brother. However, Excelsior had other ideas and they brought Feyenoord crashing back to earth with a shock 2-1 victory. Excelsior made Feyenoord look very ordinary and the main reason for this was the outstanding performance of Jerdy Schouten.

The 22-year-old was excellent throughout the victory on Sunday, bossing Feyenoord duo Tonny Vilhena and Jordy Clasie while getting Excelsior on the front foot. His performance was lauded around the Dutch press which was sent into a frenzy by the youngster, who has been a quiet revelation in Rotterdam this season.

On Studio Voetbal, Rafael van der Vaart gushed about Schouten, “That’s a wonderful player to watch.

“He just knows what is happening, wants to solve everything and play it forward, as a number six he is ​​very important. He is everywhere, not just playing football, but he also does a tackle every now and then. He is very nice to watch he also has a good build, he is upright. “

The Dutch international also had a tip for Feyenoord and Ajax, “If I were Ajax or Feyenoord, I would offer that guy a five-year contract, then he could stay with Excelsior for another year and then go to the top.”

The top Dutch clubs didn’t seem on the cards for Schouten, who came through the ADO Den Haag academy. He made his Eredivisie debut in the Hague, but was released after only two appearances for the club in the summer of 2017.

Keuken Kampioen Divisie side Telstar picked up Schouten and in the second division, the midfielder excelled. He made 40 appearances for Telstar, who came just short of promotion after a surprising campaign, which saw them go from a bottom three contender to the promotion playoffs.

Excelsior were impressed with Schouten and swooped to take him to Rotterdam on a three year contract in the summer. The 22-year-old announced himself to the home crowd with a lovely nutmeg in Excelsior’s opener against Fortuna Sittard and he has been a crowd favourite since.

Schouten is a box-to-box midfielder in the mould of a Frenkie de Jong. He reads the game well, makes plenty of interceptions and has the engine to drive his side forward. Like Frenkie, Schouten doesn’t provide many goals or assists, but he excels at keeping possession of the ball.

Schouten was an outstanding find for Excelsior, but the question being asked now is, where will he go next? Excelsior coach Adrie Poldervaart said after the Feyenoord victory that it will be almost impossible for the club to keep Schouten past the summer and a move seems inevitable. It’s not just the top Dutch clubs that are being linked, with Serie A sides Fiorentina and Udinese reportedly circling as well.

Schouten himself has also admitted that he sees Excelsior as a stepping stone to something bigger, telling Haaglanden football earlier this season, “I do not think Excelsior should be your goal as a 21-year-old player.”

However, Schouten should be cautious with a move to one of the Netherlands top three not always a smart move to develop. Over the past few years, Adam Maher, Bart Ramselaar and Yassin Ayoub are just some of the players unable to cope with a step up in class and expectations. An intermediate step to an AZ Alkmaar or Utrecht may be a wiser move for Schouten, who still only has 19 Eredivisie appearances under his belt.

For Excelsior, Schouten’s development has been a remarkable boost for the club and they can stand to break their transfer record in selling the talented youngster. At the moment, a mere £675 thousand is their record fee received, but the interest in Schouten and his contract running until 2021, should see that broken in the summer.

Schouten will now have to deal with the pressure of expectation that will be on him after such a great performance on Sunday. Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV will not be the only clubs sending scouts to the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion before the end of the season to watch the ‘Frenkie de Jong of Kralingen’ in action.

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