Sven van Beek’s first season as a regular starter with Feyenoord is going great for the 22-year-old defender, who is showing great potential.

  • By Bas Vos
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van beek feyenoVan Beek, who was born in Gouda on 28 July, 1994, first played for his home amateur club SV DONK, before moving to Sparta at the age of ten. In the U10 side, he met Memphis Depay. But when bigger clubs were on the look, both disappeared quickly from Spangen. Both spoke with Feyenoord. Memphis went eventually to PSV, Sven went to Feyenoord.

At Feyenoord, he played in the U11 side which had huge potential, with Anass Achahbar, Jean-Paul Boëtius, Kyle Ebicilio, Terence Kongolo and Karim Rekik. They went to the Netherlands national team and won league titles, and from the U15’s, Nathan Aké joined from ADO Den Haag and Tonny Vilhena skipped a year to enter their squad.

But in the U16’s, everything that could go wrong for the youngster, went wrong. Van Beek wasn’t happy with his position (right-back, while he preferred centre-back) and stayed for two years in the U16’s, with players usually only staying one year at that level. However, like typical Rotterdam mentality, Van Beek did not give up and played himself back into contention with the U19’s in the 2012-13 season, captaining the U18’s in the meantime. And with Rekik and Aké gone to England (Manchester City and Chelsea), his favourite spot was finally back available: centre-back.

The 2012-13 season proved to be a golden one for Van Beek, signing his first professional contract, going on the first team winter training camp along his best friend Lucas Woudenberg, and earning the attention and trust of manager Ronald Koeman, who handed him his official first team debut in the KNVB Cup quarter-final match against PSV. Van Beek played strong, but could not prevent a 2-1 loss and elimination.

Van Beek had to wait long for his second chance, but in the summer of 2013, he showed his potential again at the 2013 U19 European Championship, forming a strong defence with Kenny Tete from Ajax and his team mates Kongolo and Woudenberg. In the 2013-14 season, he made his league debut, in the away match against Ajax. A strong throw-in for him eventually led to a free-kick which ended up in a goal for Graziano Pellè and a 0-1 advantage for Feyenoord, but the match ended up in a 2-1 defeat. The defeat meant Feyenoord had no points after three games, but Van Beek did not want to hear about a crisis, speaking to the press: Do you find it a crisis at Feyenoord?

Van Beek got more and more chances during the season, and when Stefan de Vrij, his mentor in the squad, left this summer, his spot was up for grabs in the first team. His sole big error this season was in the Champions League qualifying match against Besiktas which led to the opening goal in a 2-1 defeat. After some other non-fatal mistakes during the first league matches, newly-appointed manager Fred Rutten kept his trust in him. He payed that trust off in playing a perfect match against Ajax at home, where he also finally partnered Terence Kongolo in the centre-defence. His strong performances in the matches afterwards led to his first call-up for the senior national team, in the preliminary squad for the matches against Kazakhstan and Iceland. Although not making the final cut, it shows his potential.

The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper opened the sport section last Monday with an edited picture of him, Vermeer and Kongolo before a wall with the Feyenoord logo on it, with the header: The Wall of Feyenoord. The fact that Feyenoord has conceded the least amount of goals in the Eredivisie so far and has yet to concede a goal in the away matches can without any doubt be related to the form of Van Beek. If he manages to continue his development, a golden future may lie ahead of him.

Bas Vos (12 Posts)