On Sunday Luc Castaignos reached the milestone of fifty career Eredivisie goals and it appears the FC Twente striker is now ready to fulfill his vast potential.

  • By Michael Bell
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castaignos jjYoung players in Netherlands are constantly warned about the perils which may follow if they decide to leave for the bright lights and money of foreign leagues too soon in their development. Sadly after a fine breakout season for Feyenoord in 2010 Luc Castaignos decided to ignore these warnings and sign for Italian giants Inter Milan.

Castaignos had starred for Netherlands U17’s and U19’s before being thrust into the Feyenoord first team in 2010, after the club lost several players during the transfer window. Thirty-seven appearances and fifteen goals later Inter Milan paid around €3 million for the ‘wonder-kid’, who was drawing comparisons to Thierry Henry in the media for his playing style and calm finishing.

The move to Italy was a disaster for the then nineteen-year-old, who featured only eight times in his single season at the Guiseppe Meazza, scoring once. A spitting incident, which saw him banned for three matches, and a hamstring injury all dented Castaignos season, and although the striker was linked with a move to England, a return to Netherlands followed.

Twente paid double what Inter Milan initially spent on Castaignos to bring him back to the Eredivisie, offering him the chance to gain regular first team action, and get his career back on track.

Without the pressure on his shoulders in Enschede, Castaignos has been able to regain some form over the past two seasons, but many would argue that his scoring record of 28 goals in 75 appearances wasn’t enough for a top striker in the Eredivisie, especially since he had Dusan Tadic, now starring for Southampton in the Premier League, pulling the strings behind him. The striker was even criticised on several occasions for being too lazy and not showing enough desire to burst into the box to get on the end of chances.

However Castaignos isn’t a striker that relies just on scoring and his link-up play is one of the most impressive parts of his game. He will often come deep into an almost midfield position in order to hold the ball up, and allow the wingers to bomb ahead. Castaignos quick movements off the ball, and passing skills on it, were one of the reasons why Quincy Promes and Dusan Tadic were able to net 27 goals between them last season.

So far this campaign Twente have emerged as a contender for the Eredivisie title, and Castaignos is finally showing some killer instinct in and around the box. The now 22-year-old is taking an average of 2.2 shots per match and that has resulted in eight goals in thirteen matches, putting him second in the top scorer charts for the Eredivisie. Interestingly six of his eight goals have come away from home, showcasing Castaignos lethalness on the counter attack.

His two goals against PEC Zwolle on Sunday took his career total to 50 in the Eredivisie, making Castaignos the youngest player since Luis Suarez to achieve this milestone and after the match he spoke of the hard work put into his game recently, “Hard work is being rewarded now and I am very happy with it.”

“A big compliment to the team, who has continued to believe in me. The goals have come faster than before. This of course gives peace to a young player.”

January is coming up which means Castaignos will undoubtedly be linked with a move away from Twente, but the striker is now a lot more experienced and could handle a foreign league much better than three years ago. The move to Inter Milan stifled Castaignos development, but a move to England or Germany may be needed for him to now take the next step in his career, and prove that he can be a challenger to Klaas jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie in the national team.

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