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.”
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?