Malacia – Feyenoord’s little cash calf

In this updated post, below a cool inside into the Oranje camp.

It goes too far to call him a cash cow.. The 22 year old Tyrell Malacia still looks like a kid. He was 9 years old when he joined Feyenoord, having grown up at a stones throw from De Kuip. “My first match on the stands was back in 2007 or something like that. Kuyt was still at Liverpool. I was amazing so many people wanted to watch a game of football…”

Now he plays there, for crowds of 30,000 people and he can call himself an international too, after his first start in Oranje. After the Germany game, Louis van Gaal praised him as one of the few players who were good on the ball, in the first half. Not a surprise for Feyenoord coach Arne Slot.

But, great versus Germany, and mediocre against Willem II. How good is Malacia? A number of formal left backs and ex-coaches have an opinion about the young defender, who struggled in his first years at the club. “Not so much the football was a problem, it was more the discipline, the rules. I just wanted to play football. I threatened to quit a number of times, but my dad was always able to make me see the right path. I’m grateful I never quit.”

We asked Arne Slot (his coach), Ruud Heus (former left back), Dick Advocaat (ex coach), Gio van Bronckhorst (ex coach and former left back and the coach who offered Tyrell his debut) to analyse the Malacia’s qualities.


Arne Slot: “Tyrell is a fan of Marcelo and Alaba of Real Madrid, backs who can defend and attack. He is and has always been strong as a defender, but now you can see him make progress on the ball as well.”

Ruud Heus: “The Malacia you see against Antony is the total package. Antony is fast, so is Malacia. Antony is agile, so is Malacia. This is a Brazilian winger, playing in their NT, who has trouble with this Feyenoord left back. That means Malacia is a force to be reckoned with. He has everything: speed, dynamic, agile and has a very decent technique.”

Dick Advocaat: “when we lost 1-0 v Ajax last season, Antony was invisible. Tyrell completely neutralised him. When he has the focus, he is one of the best in the country. I can understand Van Gaal’s excitement.”

Gio van Bronckhorst: “I remember Tyrell from the youth teams. I had seen him play and I realised he did ever so well at that young age. He was able to be tight on players who needed that, but he could also defend zonal. That is hard for young players. I thought he was very complete at a young age. I remember saying to Van Gastel: there is our future left back. When Haps was injured for the Napoli clash in the Champions League, I had no issue playing him. Sometimes, you can’t be too fussed and just give the boy your confidence.”

How Good is he On the Ball?

Arne Slot: “I saw him play the semi finals vs Germany with Young Oranje and he played very strong. Even though they were beaten. He keeps on growing individually. I think as a defender he is amongst the best in the league already.”

Heus: “He is totally top of the league on any level. His technique, that is handy to have, man. He plays along, he is available, he sees the pass, he moves on… With him, you can play on and keep moving forward. And than with his speed, he can compensate any mistakes.”

Advocaat: “His strength is that he can defend like a defender and play attack like a midfielder. Feyenoord should be happy with this gem.”

Van Bronckhorst: “He is an attacking full back. I think he is quite good on the ball. And yes, he puts his foot on the ball at times, he is cheeky like that and that will problably never totally go away, hahaha.”

What should he Improve?

Slot: “This season, we have the ball more as a team, so he now needs to be prepared for any counter attack. He’s doing this well. I also see him more and more as a driving player, when we’re behind he is typically the player to try and force the issue, or to ignite a spark with a run or a tackle. Our left wing with him, Sinistera and Kokcu is pretty strong.”

Advocaat: “At times, he is on the ball too long. I am not sure why, but he might not see all the options in time. When he comes into the box, and he does this often, his yield needs to be better. More effectiveness.”

Slot: “I do see him taunt opponents a bit too much. Almost showing too much of the ball, to get them to bite. At times, it’s too much. He looks a bit complacent, arrogant even, at times. I talk to him about that.”

Heus: “Everything he does wrong can be trained. The coach needs to tell him at training: you, Tyrell, you can only touch the ball twice. And if he keeps on persisting, you may need to bench him for a game.”

Van Bronckhorst: “Every winger will have a headache the night before playing against Malacia. He is quick, agile and a great work ethic. At times he can be overexuberant. I had video images of him versus VVV Venlo at one stage: he was playing right winger! He laughed when I confronted him, like “sorry trainer, I will do my best more”… It’s his drive, his passion.”

The Future

Last summer, Club Brugge wanted to buy him. Feyenoord said NO. This coming summer, his agent Ali Dursun already announced, he will be courted by bigger clubs. Is Tyrell ready for a step up?

Slot: “That remains to be seen but the fact of the matter is, that his game vs Germany will have resulted in more clubs following him.”

Heus: “I am a big Daley Blind fan, on the ball. But without, he is becoming more and more vulnerable. I think it’s Malacia’s turn now, or Wijndal’s. They are the two left backs for Oranje, in my view. I would like to see Malacia stay one more season, than play a strong World Cup and then make a move. ”

Advocaat: “Of course. Feyenoord is third in the country, with the potential to go higher up. Tyrell has the quality and the drive. And off the pitch, he’s a good lad. He has not frills, is honest and hard working. He is the real deal.”

Van Bronckhorst: “When you play like this against Germany, it means you can play on a higher level consistently. I recognise his journey, I went through the same stages. Academy, Feyenoord 1 and then a step up. When you play at a higher level, you can easily play along and become better as a result. I played my best football at Barcelona. Mainly because I played with world class players. Is Ty ready for a next step? !00%!”

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  1. I am not one to follow the Eredivisie and Malacia’s play is all too new to me. Maybe I am a little prejudiced but I feel I have to see a little more of him for he to be crowned the future of our left side in my humble estimation. Probably wary because my first impression of him(the match he started before the Germany game)was a player clearly out of his depth and one that even came off as scared.

    But again, it was his first start and probably had butterflies. And this is why it is so important for our coaches to play these young players at every opportunity that presents itself. I truly believe football is a game of moments, defining interjections and substitutions that could carve the trajectory of players’ future for years to come. Van Basten coming in in ’88 and never looking back. Who would have known how good he could have been without that level of exposure generating a new found confidence in himself? And conversely, we see how strikers can struggle too after barren spells and how they start to double guess themselves especially if they lack the support of a manager.

    Malacia was a different player against Germany but after his last outing that was something not hard to accomplish. I thought he was decent but nothing spectacular. There was a nervy moment when he gave a square pass which was quickly salvaged but did remind me of something similar in his previous game. Is he one of those players that have a mistake in him regardless of how refined he gets? I hope not.

    But I do know he has to move his feet better, defensively. I noticed that he has this annoying tendency of giving up fouls as a result of his upper body movement not in rhythm with his feet and which usually culminates to him being overly aggressive. But he is young. Patience would come to him and he should be able to absorb defensive lessons to iron out these kinks. He seem a little small in stature but his speed should make up for that.
    All said and done, Malacia needs to be played in that position and if not, somebody athletic that can be nurtured into something.

    I of course watched Madrid thrash my beloved Chelsea. I saw a manager who thought Christensen was our weakest link. I saw how Vinicius was set loose on him and how the whole team was pulled apart as a result of his(Christensen) inability to cope(remember, it is a game of margins at the highest level).

    So does the whole world knows Blind is our Achilles. LVG can’t afford to be blind(excuse my pun) of the fact. Play Malacia early, play him often. Let’s see if we have something to go on here.

  2. Im very impressed with this kid having seen how strong he was defensively against the Germans and how well he has done against Antony. He should be Ajax’s new left back now that Tagliafico is leaving and Blind is getting older. If we could get Slot to replace Ten Hag then even better and while we’re at it add Sinistera and Kocku on the list as well lol

  3. @ Jan,

    Hi Jan, in response to your last post. What are you hearing in Holland from the other coaches in the news media regarding all the points you have raised? Who can apply pressure on Van Gall to call up Karsdorp? Does Van Gall sees how vulnerable we are either on the left (with Blind) and on the right (with Dumfries)? Are we really going to start the world cup with Blind as a starter? I just can’t imagine that happen. Obviously, I don’t live in Holland but I am just curious to know about the conversations that are going on regarding the NT particularly in these areas. Also what is you thought on having Depay as our #10. By the way, with Depay not playing regularly for Barcelona, that is a huge concern. Anyway!!!!

  4. At this point in time Malacia is defintely an upgrade to Blind especially in terms of what he offers, overlapping, linking up providing outlets upfront and then able to back track in defense (speed). Being said this how good he can become or how high is his ceiling, only time will tell or can be gauged if there is a suitable competition. One area though he needs to bring more in his game is his crossing which he rarely comes up with. He likes to play ground ball alot. Not saying here he is good in crossing but as mentioned by Jan above in the article, sometimes he holds the ball at feet for too long.

    Once again you have to discredit the jury and management for not rotating him with Blind especially during the qualifers where he should have clocked more minutes vs the minnows Gibraltar and Lativa. The equations is very simple now. He has to start all games leading up to the opening game of the WC. His next move will also be very important as we have seen of other players who were playing in eredivisie and NT and then not warranted after moving abroad.

    Bakkers development at Leverkusen has been good at and its looks to continues with them in pole position to qualifying for CL next season. In his last outings for JO he looked much more polished then before. I think he will be line come next year when Blind finally retires or make way for others.I think he will be a good comptition for Malacia.

    1. Maatsen is another promising LB who is striving big having jumped ranks and has the talents to compete with both. A loan to an epl club ( even bottom feeder) next season will really boost his development given break through in chelsea will be hard.

  5. Hi Jean, there is a question or comment every now and then re: Karsdorp and Struijk and Botman. But only slight. I feel that most journalists are scared of LVG. He berates them and ridicules them in pressers. I find this really annoying. He should know that the media is the filter between him and the millions of fans. But he is condescending and bitter towards most of them. Driessen in particular gets a lot of vinegar thrown at him and LVG refuses to talk to reps of Voetbal Inside (now called Vandaag Inside or something). The ESPN and Studio Sport people are always terribly polite. One journo made a comment a year ago about Danjuma, before he was selected again. “We have seen a bright spark at Villareal, is he on your radar?”. LVG: “Oh? Are you the coach?? Do you think you know it and we don’t??” And the whole country is watching and reporters are scared to ask the tough questions. LVG can be vengeful.

  6. I have watched some Utube clips of Bakker and I seem to like what I see. There is an air of unpredictability and fierceness I like about him. Reminds me of Arthur Numan with his ruggedness.

    It may sound boring and repetitive but the fact that we do not have a settled substitute for that left full back position is beyond me. Players like Bakker or anyone of the faintest prospect in that left back position should have been given an opportunity to claim a spot. How else are we going to know? Look at Gosens and how he tore up the Euros. How would we have ever known if he had stayed with Oranje?

    That’s why I support your suggestion of going with Bosz, Wilson. Don’t mistake my announcement of Koeman coming back as excitement. I know he is part of the Kartel, just a diluted version. Bosz have shown that he is more than capable and most importantly would have implemented something different from the 1974 blueprint that have still not gotten us very far. And that’s exactly why he won’t be considered for the job. Koeman is more of their flavor.

    I am just sick of the floundering and the same old same old. And you have some fans on this blog suggesting that we shouldn’t complain because we do not have a team to win anyway.

    Granted we do not have the most talented personnel but not doing the best with what you have and walking a team of this rank to a world Cup without a recognized substitute of both full back positions is inexcusable. And we will shout it out from the rooftop. Of course we will. We are emotionally invested.

    1. The word is simply biased, nothing more nothing less and Again you can go back and look at how LVG and Co wrote off Buttner who at that time was coming up at Man united and gave Daley the preference even without calling Buttner up and having to compete with him. This is what I have envyed about Daley Blind from day 1 and while others players have to work hard to get call up in NT , daley Blind was rolled the red carpet. It goes to say he would have never sniffed old trafford if not for van gaal pampering him and making him look like he was a top talent which quicky diminished as his weakness started getting exposed in epl. On the other hand, Buttner who was scouted by Man United on basis of his talent from eredivisie was not deemed good enough even when he had showed he had potential to become an explosive LB especially vs Bayern in that CL QF prior to the WC. Folks this is the very reason why I have been critical about the godfather, father and the son all these years.

      The Gosen example you used is legit and in the same context who knows what Buttner would have brought to the team if he had been allowed to compete with Blind. Even after he moved to Dinamo Moscow and when they finished 4th in the first season, he was still overlooked by Danny Blind who took over from van gaal after 2014 and which probably will go down as the darkest hour in the history of dutch fooitball. You see we have debted about this in depth with alot of arguements but once again we find them doing the same now and again this proves of their hypocritical thinking and views.

      1. Where is the face palm emoticon? Louis van Gaal will bet his reputation on the son of a good friend. Any coach would do this. And it’s not a coincidence, that Hiddink, Advocaat, Ten Hag and Koeman have also decided to do away with their personal pride and they all use Daley Blind. I think Daley have film footage of these coaches together in a compromising act in the big jacuzzi in Zeist, when they filmed a hard porn flick, while Van Gaal is doing the goose step and Ronald Koeman walked around with black face. Shame on them!! We want Dirk Kuyt back as left back!

    2. Not sure about the Robin Gosens comment. He grew up in Germany, played youth football in Germany and only made it into the Dutch league due to lack of options in Germany. He went to Vitesse where he got zero games in the first team, and went on loan to Dordrecht, the ugly duckling of Holland. He always stated that playing for Germany was his dream. He never played rep football for Oranje.

  7. Joel Piroe is doing an amazing job in championship, and the goals he is scoring are very spectacular, there is so much praise about him in British media and some are saying Leicester city are following him seriously to be their next poacher!!! Based on our experience with Danjuma in championship, we can have high hopes he plays in a top team next year and then we finally get a top top striker which would be the first after van persie!!???

  8. And the funny part is that I posted the comment above half hour before Swansea game started today, I check on Twitter now and I see all Swansea fans going crazy about him, I go back and check the score and the guy scored two goals today in the first 18 minutes !!!! I wonder how good he would be already to go for a top team???

  9. Im adamant we will see the next Dutch Dream team in 2024- 2026. This world cup may have come early for players like lang, gakpo, Danjuma, Malacia but you can only imagine when these guys will start burning all the cylinders in NT having become regulars. There is already good depth in backline now with Surely Botman, Frimpong, Bakker, reinforcing it more come next season. There will be no shortage and the quality in the forward department either given Piroe, Zirkzee, Brobbery and including Depay and Malen who both could add experience backup and considerable depth.

    Midfield needs upgrade and probably more players like frenkie and fingers crossed Ihattaren and simons will make up for that. Veerman also I expect to be there with more experience at PSV. The player though I think will be the golden partner for Frenkie is Ludviot Reis who is currently at Hamburg in Bundasliga 2. Im seriously hoping he moves to a bigger club next season or the following. Very underrated running midfielder who can play any where in the mid. Other names such VDBeek, Koopmeiners, Gravenberch should bloster the midfield options.

  10. This is more than enough to win WC

    De ligt
    De Vrij
    Van Dijk






    1. Forgot to mention here the the dutch ligue 1 contingent. Stengs, Kluivert, Rosario, Matusiwa, van Bregen and Dilrosun who all could be in thr running depending on their form

    2. I’m pretty sure someone from the very talented 2005 generation will make the roster in 2024-26. That batch is incredibly talented, and let’s hope that most of them start reaching their full potential by the time the next world cup comes knocking.
      Re: Midfielders, would certainly add Quinten Timber to the list, cause I feel his ball-handling skill in tight spaces is borderline elite. Has a dribble, can accelerate between the lines, and can spray passes. Has all the attributes of a top midfielder. Have to see more of him, though.

      1. Not playing at Utrecht. I will agree though he has good potential but whether he can take to another level remains to be seen and plus he also plays Frenkie’s position.

        1. Not playing at Utrecht?? Timber is one of the high lights in that team. I agree with Abhirup. Wilson at times is in a parallel universe, where he is still in a loop debating Daley Blind, Dirk Kuyt and Winston Bogarde.

  11. Nice group of players. Soft underbelly. The thing that worries me and is frankly quite disappointing is the lack of production of true defensive midfielders in any shape or form. True, Struijk, Ake or even a de Vrij can be thrust in there but I’m talking about quality in the mould of a Nigel de Jong. Not even one as multi-dimensional as Van Bommel.

    True winning teams always have at least one of those. Again, that is why it is so frustrating that this management have never even tried any player in that role. Something like how Denmark pushes Christensen in that central position and he has proven to be a revelation there.

    All in all, this area is so lacking that there must be something KNVB can institute at a grassroot level to bolster production. The Wouters, Davids, MVB shouldn’t be anomalies, outliers.

    1. I reckon Matusiwa is in the mould that you are talking about. He is gradually taking steps after being released by Ajax and at Remis has become starter for them. I have watched Remis’s game against top guns in ligue 1 and he has been good in what he does the best. unfortunately he will need to move to a bigger team to get noticed by the JURY.

      Same goes for Jerdy Schouten at Bologna

  12. The problem though operating a DM system is that Frenkie will be miss used which the coaches wont do. Koeman tried doing the same with frenkie at Barcelona benching Busquets. Soon he released it wouldnt work and had to shift him to the right.

    In two CM formation as in 4-2-3-1, its will take time and depends if coaches opt for that system.

  13. Has been eons since I posted a comment on this wonderful blog. It’s so nice to see some familiar faces here after a long time (Jan, Tiju, Alaa). I’ve been a regular visitor though, and the articles and the discussions are as vibrant as ever.
    Hopefully, with King Louis (Wish him a speedy and swift recovery!!) pulling the strings from the sidelines, we’ll finally win our maiden World cup trophy.
    HUP HOLLAND!! Let’s do this together… 🙂

  14. @Wilson

    Re: In two CM formation as in 4-2-3-1, its will take time and depends if coaches opt for that system.

    This is just the problem with Oranje though. It is nice and good to stick with the system you are comfortable with. But you have to be ready to tweak and give up some offensive inclination in place of solidity when the Frances and Germany of football are in the roster.

    That’s where a world class defensive midfielder comes. He can duly go back to the bench if a coach reckons he might be able to play more offensively against another team. The idea is to bolster your chances of winning every game as you move forward.

    And I just watched some Utube videos of Matusiwa. I could see why Ajax let him go. I mean, not even Kante would make that Ajax team, so resolved and bent they are in playing the way they’ve always played.

  15. You hit the point again and im seriously in the opinon that there will never be a break through unless there is change in the system for good. System as new modern day approach and open mind set. What you have highlighted , I have being emphasing on that for so many years, rainydays, injuries, Plan B but as the saying goes eat today, we will see what happens tomorrow is the sterotype approach being used by NT coaches and which is set to continue with koeman.

    Again I will say this, it will be a bloody shame and big disgrace if NT doesnt win anything with the upcoming generation just because to continue and keep intact the old legacy and trying prove it will never die.

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