Davy Pröpper retires: unhappy with football industry

Davy Pröpper is a pro player no more. PSV made this announcement this week. The 30 year old tore his contracty up (he had 1,5 year to go with PSV) and the 19 times capped Dutchie will be focusing on other things in life. In the past six months, he realised he was done with pro football.Davy’s decision was a big surprise for everyone at PSV. The situation became a tad clear last season already when Davy had difficulties getting back into the Brighton first team. He wanted to return to PSV to get some fun back into his life and some sense of purpose in the football world.

PSV was like home for him and his buddy Marco van Ginkel was there too. But the reality was harsher, also due to a series of small injuries blocking a successful return to the Eredivisie.

“I made my decision before Xmas and it feels good. A relief. I know I made the right decision for me. In my time abroad I was slowly noticing a diminishing sense of joy being a player. I found it tough to constantly find the discipline in myself to live the life of a dedicated pro. My whole life was determined by my busy football schedule. The corona situation and being separated from friends and family didn’t make things better.”

This joy in the game didn’t come back to him in Eindhoven. “I just don’t feel comfortable in that football culture. I have adapted where I could and at times I shut myself off from it all. But I don’t want that anymore. I will find out what my real passions are and I will dive into these. I did have amazing moments and memories and I will cherish these. I might get regrets, who knows. But for now, I want to invest my time into my family, friends and everyone who supported me.”

His decision has nothing to do with his relationship with PSV coach Roger Schmidt or his team mates. And PSV has nothing but respect for him, who will cover all financial damages of this contract. Pröpper won the title once with PSV in 2016 and was key in their Champions League campaign.

Partly as a result of this, Joey Veerman saw his much-coveted transfer click into gear. Feyenoord was negotiating with Heerenveen (and Veerman) for weeks, and the cash poor club from Rotterdam needed to negotiate the transfer fee down. PSV swooped in and put the desired 8 million euros on the table, leaving Feyenoord to switch their interest to Richedly Bazoer of Vitesse.

The Pröpper announcement did come as a shock but not for the people close to him. Pröpper is always seen as a deep thinker. When he made his break through at Vitesse demonstrating his exquisite technique and touch, he was quite open in his first interviews. “I am not a talker. That is not necessarily a problem but it became one for me. I was suer shy. I never said anything in a group. Whenever I thought I should mention something, I’d mull it over in my head and then the moment passed.” His shyness also limited him on the pitch. “As a kid, being shy and introverted didn’t help on the pitch. I knew I was a good baller but I was not going to get many balls as I simply was almost invisible. The kids with the big mouth would get the ball and I would play in their service. But coaches started to see that I could play so they started to make me important in the team. And slowly but surely I started to claim more possession.”

The lack of confidence was always a problem for him. “People in my environment would always tell me I was a good player but I never believed them. My confidence levels were so low that I always talked myself further down. I was someone who would mull over stuff constantly… The outside world would never know what was going on with me. I sometimes wanted to be way more extraverted but now I don’t see all these big mouth guys from my youth team nowhere. They didn’t make it. At the end of the day, quality is key.”
Davy with brother Robin Pröpper
And quality, he had. He is a member of a true football family. With his brother Robin ( pro centre back at FC Twente) and Mike and dad Peter, they were always present at amateur club VDZ. Dad Peter is still a youth coach at the club. Davy went to Vitesse at a young age, while Mike and Robin played for De Graafschap.

It is easy to say that Davy didn’t get everything out of his career, but it’s actually the other way around. Pröpper needed his resilience and adaptability to still have a top notch career, with 200 games in the Eredivisie, more than 100 games in the Premier League, games in the CL and 19 times capped for Oranje. And all that, in a world in which he was never comfortable.

Davy Pröpper regained the captaincy of his own ship. His real life is now beginning. Will we ever hear from him again?

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  1. Was never a player with a high ceiling and neither known for his technical skills. Im not being harsh on him but thats what it is. neither made much impact in NT as well which was mostly of the bench.

    VDBeek esque player, maybe down grade of him. In the same boat as klaassens, Wijnaldum, plus and minus. Creativity was average but decsive when set up. In the box. Typically what we are seeing these days.

    1. You’ll find that unless you’re in the 1%, being technically gifted means very little. A coach will take someone who is physically, mentally or tactically adept before someone technically adept. Players can make careers of being willing to run up and down the pitch for 90 minutes.

      1. I think you you definition of technically gifted is supressing (1%…) while my focus was more on the skillset side and how effectively they can pull the strings in a particular game. Again you can take VDbeek situation here at Man United and why he is stuck on the bench. Fernandes is technically better them him in all folds

        Also your second part can eaily be directed to Wijnaldum in NT but then again we have all seen how he lacks that mastero’s ability in controlling the game aspect compared to his more conservative style.

  2. Everton sign El Ghazi. This will be intresting especially with the number options that are right now in NT. Also if you think about it both Gakpo and him have the same style of playing. Towering, long striding, cutting inside.EL ghazi is better in set pieces though.

  3. Nice article, Jan, Didn’t know much about his background before this, so thanks for that. Seems like he made the decision with a clear head, and is at peace with it. Have to respect him. Good player, good career. Wish him well.

    1. If we win both we could be in a good position to be in Pot 1 for the World Cup, especially if Italy is eliminated. We have a better chance of passing Portugal than them.

  4. Proper was not a bad player but just not good enough . And yes Vilhnea I do rate him a bit higher also but unfortunately I don’t know where he’s gone to now

  5. I always liked Propper but feel like he didn’t ever show his full potential. There is something special about him as a player, though, he has some of that artistry and vision that you see in the very best Dutch players. You could see it even when he was in the ‘grind it out’ type of games at Brighton, but you could see the potential much more when he was surrounded by a higher caliber of player with Oranje.

    Good for him. Wish him well.

  6. Nice Debut for veerman. Came on for van Ginkel around 65′ and must say was an instant upgrade to him. Had some good passes and made one clean break setting up Bruma in clear but his final shot was hopeless. I’m sure Schmidt would be satisfied with his performance and definitely now the competition will heat up when sangare comes back. Looking at the 4-2-3-1 formation, the PSV players were too congested around him and needed to stretch out to give him room to move and thats where he was instrumental in pulling the strings in some phases.

    I said this from day 1 this guy is special and fingers crossed with more games, he will force his way in NT. PSV will face Ajax next week.

    For PSV overall, they have really missed Zahavi and I’m not sure what has happened to madueke. Has been out with injury for quiet some time now. He had such a good start to the season.

  7. I watched the game, Utrecht were no match for them. ajax dominated them in every department. another face off for the Timber brothers, both were dominant but though Quinten’s workrate was good, he kept loosing possession holding on to the ball for too long.

    Typical brobbery goals from inside of the box, good strength, shielding and Ariel threat and was constant threat inside of the box. again good work from Tadic who was involved in the build up of all the three goals.

    also watched Feyenoord and Vitesse. first time to watch Vitesse. very boring game especially in the first half and my god the back passing by feyenoord was really frustrating to watch. it was like vitesse defensive line scared them away every time they came too close. that openda guy was live wire and eventually needed ended up scoring the only goal. Bazoer also was ever dominate in the midfield breaking down the feyenoord attack.

    1. Yep, that is where Brobbey scores his goals. What I like him, too, is that he has good awareness of other players in the box when he has the ball; he gets his share of assists. I saw that van Axel Dongen made his debut late in the match; only 17,a player to keep an eye on.

    2. Nice goals by Brobbey. But i think Dutch league seriously need better coaching. Both of his goals, there was only him in the box and the defenders were not marking him. Especially, the second goal, there were two defenders around him and they just did ball watching.

  8. watched Bayern Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach as well. Frimpong as always was live wire on his flank and his quick 1 -2 and then overlapping caused head ache for the BM Defense until he got injured and was subbed off. he is going to be a gem for NT as he builds up on experience and get matured. Timothy fosu Mensah came on for him after his long recovery from ACL injury. could tell he was rusty, very cautious and didnt venture forward much as compared to his compatriot. played some 30-35 minutes.

    Bakker also recovered form his ankle injured and started the game after coming on asa late sub in the previous game. still think he needs refining and the more he plays the better. though defensively he looked sound, didnt contribute much going forward. received alot of balls in awkward possession and this was where you could tell he was out of ideas and his weakness. tried the holding the ball but got dispossessed. this is where Malacia is good with his quick speed and again 1-2 passes and contributing in the build up. sinkgraven reamined on the bench.

  9. To say Davy propper is non technical,or he is less skilled with ball is pathtic undertstanding of football…

    Davy was on par or above with Van de beek or vilhena.. He impeccable touches, sublime clinical finsiher, with excellent vision, with good skills on Ball.. Only thing he lacked was urgency, mojo or work rate, you name it… Sad that we lost him with rust…. I would love to see vilhena and van de beek… In team over aged Giniwijnaldum..

  10. Hi guys, I’m surprised that none of you have comment of the fact that it is only months away from the world cup then again the 2 so call best player of the national team (Depay and F De Jong) are coming from the bench at Barcelona and potentially being transferred. What is our chance in this world cup? Gini isn’t playing at Paris, now Depay, De Jong has been fading away for sometimes now.

  11. Propper had many nice games with the national team. His playstyle compliment FDJ’s playstyle well. I thought he wiould have gone to a bigger club a couple of years ago. But the injury happened.

  12. The WC is in the winter so things could change a lot. If it is now then Van Gaal need to pull some magic to get us through the group stages. Danjuma and Bergwijn are injured. Berghuis is playing 10 for the entire season so there is no right wing. Wijnaldum, VDB and Bergwijn are not getting game time.

    As for FDJ and Depay, i hope they got sold. Do they develop anything at Barca? I feel FDJ regressed more than progressed at Barca. His position changed all the time so he did not develop any area in his game. And Barca is stupid. Depay had a dip of form but he still scored the most goals there and they wanted to get rid of him and keep always injured Dembele and Fati.

        1. Frenkie got regressed in his career by joining barca..Depay has done too much in Gym like adama Traore…Depay has huge muscles it requires more oxygen than a fit cardiosque player..Depay looks exhausted after minute and this will happen to him more as he ages..Frenkie will find his rythem back when he Joins klopp,Pep,Ten haag,Renieri kind of coaches…
          Virgil is 30 and time is not on his side…LVG should make this team understand that its always”””” NOW OR NEVER””” :::: ….
          jURIEN TIMBER is phenomenon He can be our Next nijel De jong..with Berjwin,Malen,Gakpo and berghuis we have the players to support and replace Depay…personally i dont like LVG going 3412..who knows may it will work since we have Karsdorp,Rensch,Malacia,Blind who are stunningly goot at 3412 formation..Jurien timber can play the key role from mid…
          Malacia—Virgil—-De vrij—–Rensch
          on bench
          ———-Van de beek—————–
          Struijk—Botman–De ligt—–karsdorp
          22 palyers
          additional players
          krul–Penalty stopper
          Weghorst–Physical striker
          Wijnaldum–Just for experienced sqaud member can be used as sub.

    1. That will be terrible move for him. Coming from a club that gives no opportunity to young players, PSG to another club that soon will become the same. He might play the first season but after that, preparing to sit on the bench.

  13. Hopefully Ajax can really sign ihattaren. This could be a u turn for this young boy and bring him back to oranje

    I still have faith in him and believe he can bring In good chemistry to the Oranje midfield or even up front

  14. Hope to see a cracker this Sunday game between Ajax and PSV. Veerman has now a platform to shine and impress LVG. This is good for the NT.
    Ihattaren to Ajax will also be good news for the NT, esp if Ten Hag manages to coach the best out of Ihattaren.
    Was hoping to see Bergwijn moves to Ajax, but if he continues his good form for Spurs, it’s good also he stays on.
    Wijnaldum despite the murmurs that he is unhappy, he continues to be selected for PSG starting 11; don’t mind he stays on OR moves to Arsenal?
    Frenkie de Jong and Depay to Bayern and Juventus? will be good, they are playing in what I feel is a very average Barcelona now.
    And lastly, hope Danjuma moves to Liverpool!

    All in all, feels it’s going to be a good year for the NT which I feel will grow and develop into a strong team. 😊

  15. Wow, I hope you have all had time to respond to Wilson’s comments about Davy Propper… If there ever was a guy who was too technical and silky vis a vis his physical and mental strength… wow… I think Davy is the most technical midfielder we have bar Frenkie de Jong. Wijnaldum, Van de Beek, De Roon, all lesser skilled players than Propper. Only Veerman and Gravenberch come close. I needed to say this.

    1. Whoops, hold on,let me make my self very clear hear when I brand a player having technical ability or skillset I look at what they can do out of nothing and and from where there can do, overall aspect and not just one or two aspects based on their limited strength . This is the story of most midfielders in NT now.

      Look at VBeek and his state at Man United. This is the reality.

  16. Veerman played against Telstar with PSV. Telstar is second level. It’s 1-1 at half time and Veerman was in the high light reel only once. PSV win 2-1 in a terrible performance and Joey’s only contribution was the assist on the 1-1 (any player would have played that ball) and nice side footer for the win. But lets not get ahead of ourselves with the former Volendam player. Lets not compare him Frenkie, Donny or Koopmeiners just yet….

  17. Like any another player, he has some deficiencies but since it evident that for some players it has been compensated for their strengths and in getting nod, hope to see the same stances being taken with veerman.

  18. One downfall I would say for dutch midfielders is their inability it to adpot to formation apart from 4-3-3 and especially in that 4-3-2-1 universal formation. From van Ginkel, clasie, Vilhnea, Klaassen,Til, propper and Hendrix, VDBeek all have found it hard moving abroad and adpoting to that 2 men CM role. This can be attributed to more conservative style of dutch football (4-3-3) which is dominant in eredivisie and off ofcourse in the wake of dutch football culture and the bit to revive total ball. 3-5-2 can be included in here as well as midfield formation remains the same.

    At Liverpool Wijnaldum has played multiple position but again in that 4-3-3 formation and he has been most effective when playing in that advanced AM position. In NT he has looked very average when playing in a deeper role than AM.

    Frenkie would be exception here, as he is the only player who looks flexible to thrive in that CM and DM position or in that two men CM role out of the left. He has being mostly deployed on the right now at Barcelona (4-3-3) and you can see whats has happened to him.

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