Signed as reserve goalie for Ajax, by Erik ten Hag. And as a result of injuries and suspensions (Onana, Stekelenburg) he became Ajax’ first goalie and even with Jay Gorter breating into his neck, the veteran goalie has snatched that role up at Ajax and potentially also in the Dutch National Team. As Wesley Sneijder commented the other day: “Pasveer is currently Holland’s best goalie and deserves to start”.
We’ll see if Van Gaal agrees. The coach is known to be headstrong and contrarian that it’s hard to know. An interview with young Remko Pasveer.
Isn’t it great to see rival goalies getting injured?
“No not really. I mean, we work as a team. And it’s just shitty for Maarten as he was doing so well and even got to the Euros with Oranje. Of course, I got my spot thanks to the issues Maarten and Andre had, but I prefer to win the spot on merit. I just hope Maarten will be well soon.”
You do seem to get along well?
“We do, we’re good together. I see Maarten as my older brother. I mean, the clubs and competitions he played in, he has a World Cup in his locker, got silver in 2010, he is a big name in goal keeper land man. And he shares his experiences and Jay and I love those stories and anecdotes. He had a terrific career, something to be proud of. And Jay is our young brother. There is quite a generation gap, hahaha and we do have fun with that. Jay is very talented but also a bit erratic and he does shoot his mouth off every now and then. The coach will say something and he will be a smart-ass back to the coach. Maarten and I just look at each other and chuckle. We were like that when we were young. He’ll learn. He’s a good kid. And you do need that passion, that will to win. I think it won’t be much longer until he pushes me out of the team.”
But now you are the first goalie!
“I don’t know, it looks like that, but I don’t worry too much about that. I just go from game to game. Do what I can for the team. The coach will pick me if I’m the best option.”
Is it much easier to be a goalie at Ajax compared to say, Vitesse?
“The pressure at Ajax is way bigger. We want a clean sheet every match. At Ajax, they’re quite serious about not conceding. At Vitesse, it was ok to lose every now and then. At Vitesse, you’d also get more work to do and that always makes you stronger. At Ajax, there are matches I don’t see a ball for minutes on end and then suddenly you need to act when the opponent is through. That takes a certain mentality. At Ajax, when we played Sporting away, I was the hero for a while when I had that massive assist on Antony. And 10 minutes later, I make an error and we concede a goal. You will be judged as a mixed bag in that case and I also felt unsatisfied after that match, even when we won. You basically don’t want to be too much in the spot light as the Ajax goalie. That means all is well.”
How do you process a conceded goal like that, the Sporting goal?
“It sucks, and I am really pissed off. I made an error in judgement. I think it was my partnership with Martinez at that point, which resulted in the error. We couldn’t communicate well enough, we were doubting. It taught me again that it’s key for us to communicate well together and to be able to know what the other guys do. We weren’t there yet at the time, I suppose. We won 1-5 luckily. You do need to pick yourself up really quickly because 30 seconds later, the ball rolls again.”
How do you deal with criticism?
“I don’t hahaha. I try not to read it or watch it. I didn’t deal well with it and as everything is so black and white these days, I decided to ignore it. A striker can miss 6 chances and people will say “he should have scored!” and that’s it. When a goalie makes 1 mistake, it’s been analysed and debated for hours on end. One week, I need to be in Oranje, the next week I’m too old.”
Interesting, how you almost signed for Vitesse and now you’re playing Champions League football and you’re part of Oranje.
“It’s amazing and I’m blessed. This is so cool, everything is bigger. The games, the stadiums, the media attention, the quality of everything… I was in contact with Vitesse about my new contract for months and suddenly Overmars called. I said: “You gotta be quick, I was about to sign for a new term.” Within a week it was all settled and I was in Amsterdam.
How is it different?
“Everything is bigger, quicker and better. The players think quicker. The players are very intelligent here, they think and talk football, they constantly scan their surroundings, knowing where the space is… At lower levels, the defenders usually think “let the goalie deal with it”, at Ajax the players want to deal with it. Guys like Daley Blind and Mazraoui or Taylor, you can always play them in. And I need to always be available to them for a back pass if need be. I also need to coach and instruct players on what is happening behind them or something and it’s not always easy. Try coaching your backline versus Besiktas away, or in De Kuip.”
You’re 38 years old. Shouldn’t you kick back a bit and just enjoy?
“Oh but I do enjoy this! Massively. My age is just a number man. I enjoy everyday, on training, with the other goalies, with the lads. I enjoy seeing Timber play, the kid is only what, 20 years old and so in control, so focused. Most people enjoy strikers and goal scorers, I can really enjoy watching Martinez or Blind play. I can enjoy it more now, when I was 28 years old I was focused on my own game, now I can take in more, my vision has expanded in a way. Van der Sar was 40 when he quit and I like that, I don’t feel 38. I am one of the lads in the dressing room and can have fun with the youngsters as well. As long as I feel good, I’ll be doing this.”
Your dad Eddie was an Eredivisie goalie for FC Twente and your daughters also play. Three generations Pasveer, that is cool.
“Yes my dad will come and watch me always, when we play at home. He’s so involved, we always analyse the matches. He’s a real mentor like that. He had heart issues and had to close his physio practice but he still works with older guys now, doing gym and keeping them fit. He used to be my goalkeeper coach you know and before his heart problems, he’d always talk to me as my coach, hahaha. Now he’s mellowed a bit and he just gives me some tips here and there. Both my daughters are football mad. They play, but not goalie. One is left back, the other left winger. They play tennis too. They really enjoy the life, and are very committed supporters hahaha.”