With the World Cup swiftly approaching we will take a closer look at some of the lads we expect to perform for us in Brazil but who are not that well known (yet). So less on Robben, Van Persie and Wes and more attention to the up and comers.
Although, obviously, we will keep you informed on the big guns too :-).
Feyenoord did not have a great couple of weeks with losses against Ajax for the cup, ADO for the competition and only yesterday that draw against title contender Vitesse at home.
The good news is: Ronald Koeman will not extend his deal. To me, it seems the juice is gone from that relationship, judging from the lacklustre and inconsistent results of the team. Geen Woorden Maar Daden ( “no words, but deeds”) is the motto of Feyenoord so I won’t go into the Koeman situation to much….
However, despite the lack of trophies, Koeman and his staff has managed to coach young players like Janmaat, Martins Indi, De Vrij, Clasie and most likely Boetius and Vilhena to the highest level. We will most likely see a couple of these lads in Brazil.
Focus on Bruno Martins Indi, for now.
He was very young when he once drove with Robin van Persie to the players hotel of Oranje. Bruno was looking some wisdom and advice from the experienced forward. Van Persie shrugged his shoulders with all those questions and winked and said: no words, but deeds!
It seemed an empty expression to BMI at the time, but the Portuguese born defender made that motto his.
Martins Indi: “It took me a while to find myself. To understand what works for me and who my true self is. I had to really decide to stick close to my essence and to who I really am. I need this to be at my optimal best. I cannot live that life of interviews and tv-shows and sponsor events etc. I do realise I have commitments and I won’t walk away from it, but if I don’t have to do something, I won’t. I need my rest, my focus, to perform well. In the beginning of my career I had six interviews per week and it would not work for me.”
Martins Indi’s career is important to him, but not the most important thing. “Not everything will be sacrificed for football. It’s very important, but more important is my growth as a human being. I want to be a good human being. I want to be there for my girlfriend Meica and my daughter Zoe. And I want to be honest and truthful. There is some dishonesty in this football life and I cannot deal with that. And I refuse to change myself. If people aren’t honest to me or people I love, I will stand up. People who deal with me get the pure me. Sometimes its better to shut up, people say, but… I can’t. I have to look at myself in the mirror, you know?”
Recently, there was this annual riot on the players tunnel again, when PSV came to Rotterdam. With a lead role for Mathijsen and a fleeting cameo for Martins Indi. “I simply walk on and don’t interfere. You shouldn’t do silly things. There’s cameras everywhere. And it’s more about letting steam off to me. It’s yelling and screaming but nothing really happens. But before you know it, the ref gives you a yellow and I simply don’t want to collect cards.”Feyenoord is desperate for a trophy and some players believe this is the year could be the year. Bruno nods. “I do think we are now at the level where we can or could play for the title. But every time someone says it, we disappoint on the pitch. I don’t know what it is. I think we still don’t experience the feeling that we MUST win. It’s still a little bit too easy at times. The loss against Ajax for the Cup is unfortunate. It was a close game. We could have won that. Losing against Ajax is always possible. But losing against RKC, ADO Den Haag….aaargh…that is so frustrating…”What is it? “I think it’s just a couple of players not delivering their 100%. If you have 11 players playing top, we cannot be beaten by any team in Holland. Sure, if we play Real Madrid or Chelsea….but not against Vitesse or PSV or RKC. However, if 4 players only play at 90%, for whatever reason, we become vulnerable. And we do try to manage that process and sometimes harsh words are said. You cannot walk off the field with that “oh well, this can happen every now and then…”. It’s a matter of quality, at the end of the day. And I think we have the quality so I believe we need to deliver. If players don’t, I will call them on it. Just like they should with me, when I don’t play at my usual level. But we are improving on that aspect. I just hope it’s enough.”
Martins Indi’s career went fast. “I was a bit naive in my early days. Remember the 10-0 loss in Eindhoven? I was still a kid. We’re 5-0 down and with 10 men and I still wanted to play nice build up from the back. What was I thinking?? I didn’t realise what pro football meant. I was a somewhat overawed Rotterdam street kid playing in the Feyenoord 1 team… It felt great. But it didn’t get me anywhere.”
When he made some changes in his mentality and decided to treat every ball and opportunity as a do-or-die event, Louis van Gaal picked him as the Oranje defender he is today.
“I didn’t expect that call up, but I did know that it would be a logical step at some stage. I played in the Oranje youth with some of the lads that did make the step up already. So you know that if all would go well, it would happen one day. But with the lack of defenders and Van Gaal’s urge to use young fresh players and my good spell at Feyenoord it happened. I didn’t expect to play so much, but that first game I played was like a dream come true. And Mr Van Gaal is the type of coach I love to work with. Not because he is good or tactically strong or all that jazz. But because he is honest and direct. That is worth a lot for me.”
What does BMI bring to a team? “I think I can do most things well. I am fairly quick, I am not afraid in the duels, I can head a ball well. My passing is ok, my distance strike is ok. I’m quite all round as a defender. My weakness still is reading the game. Tactically, I still need to experience more situations. Play in different, demanding circumstances. Play big games, you know. What I believe is my biggest strength is my mentality. My will to win and my ability to instil that mentality in my team mates. I love good football and I enjoy teams like Arsenal and Barca. But I also thoroughly enjoyed the way Inter Milan with Sneijder played Barca. Or the way Chelsea won their CL. Or the way Italy and Portugal can kill games off. I have a lot of respect for that and I want Holland and Feyenoord to be able to win ugly too.”
Martins Indi’s name is going around in the media linking him to EPL clubs like Arsenal and Everton while Seedorf apparently has his eye on him for AC Milan. The Feyenoord man is not fussed. “These are the things I keep far away from me. It would affect me and my family otherwise. I have a couple of statements I can make. For starters, leaving Feyenoord before the World Cup was never an option for me. Secondly, I really enjoy playing for Feyenoord and don’t have to go anywhere. Thirdly, as with any player, I do like to get the best out of my career so a transfer at a certain time will definitely be on the cards. But when, where, how….we’ll see. I am not involved in that at the moment. My agent will take care of it. These clubs you mention are all great clubs. And as I am now with a great club too, I won’t settle for less.”
The World Cup is approaching. There was some debate about BMIs partner Stefan de Vrij and as a result their partnership in orange. “I did spend some time on it as it annoyed me. Not so much for me. I mean, may the best player play you know? It’s not about me, but about Oranje. But I did feel the criticism on Stefan was absurd. Like any player, he has his strong and weaker points. He’s young, he still has a way to go and develop. But suddenly, he wasn’t good enough anymore? Ridiculous. The problem with defenders is, that whenever a goal is conceded, defenders don’t look good. But it’s often times also the way the forwards or midfielders drop the ball, so to speak. And then defenders get under pressure. But I do think Stefan is coming out of this much stronger. I think Mr Van Gaal can rely on him being totally ready for the World Cup.”
And what about Martins Indi? “You know what, I let it go. I know Mr Van Gaal will pick the best option for the team. I simply have to talk with my feet every game we play. If that results in me being the best option: great! If not, I will support who ever plays there.”