After establishing himself in Groningen’s midfield last season, Tom van de Looi heads into the new campaign looking to further his growing reputation as one of Netherlands most exciting talents.

  • By Michael Bell
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The son of former Vitesse and Groningen centre-back Erwin van de Looi, Tom joined the Groningen academy in 2010 when his dad was in charge of the U21 squad.

Van de Looi quickly rose through the age groups and made his debut for the club’s U23 side last season. After impressing in the Derde Divisie, then Groningen boss Ernest Faber called him permanently into the first team during the winter break and on the 21’s of August, he made his Eredivisie debut in a 1-1 draw with Willem II, who were managed by his father.

Van de Looi took to the Eredivisie with ease and he played the full ninety minutes of every one of Groningen’s matches before the end of the campaign, earning rave reviews from the fanbase.

The midfielder is currently a Netherlands U19 international, earning eight caps so far, scoring once.

Style of Play

Van de Looi switched between the midfield and defence coming through the academy, but his future is definitely as a defensive midfielder.

The 19-year-old is a water carrier in the Groningen midfield, doing the ugly stuff which allows Ludovit Reis and Ritsu Doan to do their thing further forward. Van de Looi reads the game well and energetically races around the field looking to win the ball back or protect his defence.

Van de Looi also has good vision and passing ability, completing 565/725 passes last season, with most of them coming from the Groningen half.

What to expect from van de Looi this season

Netherlands are lacking defensive midfielders at the minute, which is one of the reasons behind the national team’s switch to a 5-3-2. Van de Looi is one of the talents coming through looking to change this. He is already Netherlands U19’s DM and with his father now in charge of Jong Oranje, a debut for the U21’s may not be far away.

For Groningen, van de Looi is part of an exciting midfield trio that contains Doan and Reis and there is an excitement surrounding the club going into the new campaign. The youngsters will look to form a solid partnership and build on their 12th placed finish.

Van de Looi recently pledged his future to Groningen but an impressive campaign will see the likes of Feyenoord, AZ or PSV come calling.

Michael Bell (59 Posts)