Over the years, Feyenoord have produced genuinely talented players from their illustrious academy, who, currently are not only plying their trade for the Rotterdam based club but also for various top flight clubs. Another player who is continuing this rich tradition is Dutch international, Jordy Clasie.
Jordy Clasie is a 22 year old, highly rated Dutch midfielder. He has been a part of Feyenoord since the age of 9 and has represented and progressed through various age groups for the club before being promoted in the first team in 2011-12 after he spent a season at Excelsior on loan. He has since become an integral part of Ronald Koeman’s setup and a firm fan favorite amongst the supporters.
He has also featured regularly in the youth setup of the Dutch National team, making 12 appearances each for the U19 and U21. After impressing with his performances, Louis van Gaal rewarded him with a call for the National team, making his debut at the age of 21 in 2-0 victory over Turkey in a World Cup qualifying tie. He has since won 5 more caps for the Netherlands and is seen, along with Adam Maher, Marco van Ginkel and Kevin Strootman, as the future spine for the Netherlands.
Style, Strengths and Weakness
Jordy Clasie is a midfielder who is usually stationed just in front of the defense, shielding the back four and at the same time initiating and orchestrating attacks with his decisive passing (which I have elaborated later). Below image depicts the average position of Feyenoord against NEC Nijmegen earlier in this season’s Eredivisie.
Jordy Clasie comes across as a very passionate footballer. You can always expect full commitment from this Dutchman every time he steps on the pitch. Add to it his hard working nature and tenacity, he’s sure to be a fan favorite at whichever club he plays for in the future. Clasie is known as the ‘Dutch Xavi’ by the media for his similar style of play. In fact, Jordy has himself admitted he aspires to be like Xavi. His height measures only 1.69m but he’s a very feisty, gritty and gutsy player, never intimidated by any opposition, always up for a challenge on the field. Another aspect of him is that he loves to tackle and is a hard tackler. He averages a tackle every 31mins (with an impressive success rate of 74%), only 4 midfielders from Eredivisie this season have a better mins per tackle rate.
What separates average midfielders from the good ones is their footballing brain. Jordy is a very intelligent player, even before receiving the ball, he knows what he is going to do with the ball and where he’s going to place it. Because of his aforementioned intelligence, he reads the game exceptionally well, always thinking one step ahead of his opponents. Hence it comes as no surprise that he averages 2.3 interceptions per game, which is the best by any midfielder in Eredivisie this season. Again, thanks to his intelligence and foresight, he is able to find spaces which other players wouldn’t even know existed.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say Clasie is at the heart of every Feyenoord move. He’s the conductor of Feyenoord, he dictates their tempo, highlighted by his average of 55.5 passes attempted per game, highest by any Feyenoord player and 5th highest by a midfielder in the league this season. When the momentum isn’t going their way, Jordy is capable of slowing down the pace of the game all on his own. His ball retention skills is already top class and you will rarely see him giving the ball away- one of the reasons for it is his cool head. Not many players can claim of robbing him off the ball because of Clasie’s sharp turns (Xavi-esque) and tight control in possession. Also, you won’t see him panicking even in the trickiest of situations, always calm and composed on the ball.
His passing qualifies as one of his strengths-crisp and accurate. Due to his gifted vision, he picks out his teammates and their diagonal runs with his passes effortlessly. His passing accuracy stands at 84.2% this season, which maybe underwhelming for few, but looking further in it, the average length of his passes (21 meters) explains his accuracy. It also shows how adventurous he can be with his passes, a direct result of the self-confidence he has in himself. Clasie’s range of passing is also very wide: He attempts 3.25 crosses per game, 5.5 long balls per game, 0.33 through balls per game and 1.83 headed passes per game. He’s also seen spreading/switching the play very well with his cross the field diagonal balls.
Set-piece situations is another area where Jordy excels, whipping in dangerous deliveries and delicious crosses. He distributes and circulates the ball remarkably well, which is quite a necessity for a player in his role/position.
Another plus point of Clasie is his positive passing. 63% of his passes are in the forward direction. He will win the ball and in the very next moment, setup a move a decisive pass. Due to his strong technique, he’s able to hold on to the ball for that extra crucial minutes towards the end. When Clasie gets aware of any threat (i.e like an opponent closely marking his team-mate), he won’t make the move/pass. Instead he will immediately seek another alternatives and he carries out all this in no time, highlighting his quick thinking and presence of mind. He can bring down the ball and control it in any part of the pitch, such is his touch.
Also, he doesn’t mind receiving the ball under uneasy situations, he simply combines his spatial awareness to and his touch to take the ball away from the opposition players. Creativity wise, he averages 1.1 key pass per game which is a decent return for a player in his position and has made 4 assists in 12 Eredivisie matches this season, which again is more than respectable.
One of his drawbacks is his height, as it acts as an disadvantage aerially (won 10 Aerial duels in 12 Eredivisie matches this season) . During the start of his career, he was considered as physically weak to succeed at the top level by many coaches but Jordy has proved all his doubters wrong. It’s not his primary job but still Clasie would like to improve his goal scoring record (7 goals in 111 Eredivisie matches). Another aspect where Jordy has strengthened is his engine. When he started his football, he wasn’t able to sustain through the whole 90 mins of the game. He would usually be substituted 10-15mins before full time. The average time he played in 2010-11 was 74 mins per game. But now by following a strict diet and a lot of behind the scene work he’s able to complete the whole of 90 mins, week in week out. In comparison, he played an average of 85mins per game in 2012-13 and an average of 89mins per game this season.
Clasie’s contract runs till 2016 but is expected to leave Feyenoord after next year’s World Cup with host of clubs like Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester United, Fiorentina and Milan interested in his signature.
“He’s a veery good ‘No.6’ or controller with impeccable vision, passing, spatial awareness – controlling/dictating the tempo. He orchestrates every attack, often drifting in & out of games. He’s not the most physically opposing – and would struggle at a higher tempo, he’ll overcome both flaws eventually.”
— Mohammed Moallim (@jouracule), Eredivisie expert for FourFourTwo and WhoScored
“Clasie had a somewhat difficult 2012-13 campaign, but the gifted midfielder has been in impressive form again this term. He has been one of the few Feyenoord players who has consistently delivered the goods in the past few months and he has been arguably one of the best performers around in the Eredivisie so far. The 22-year-old’s accurate passing, vision and quick thinking make him stand-out from other players in his position and there’s little doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him. The absolute top might be one bridge too far for Clasie, but he would certainly be of added value to teams just below the top such as Fiorentina, Valencia and Schalke.”
— Stefan Coerts (@StefanCoerts), Eredivisie expert for Goal.com International
“Clasie is an excellent young player with a fighting spirit and a determination which was integral to him as he rose through the youth system at Feyenoord, where he was persistently judged as one too small to have a future in elite level football. His self-belief and positive mentality saw him eventually convince his coaches that he was a talent too bright for them to dismiss and he quickly cemented himself as a Feyenoord player. That determination serves him remarkably well to this day in the first-team.
The Netherlands international is absolutely crucial to Ronald Koeman’s bright young team. He is a strong tackler, acting as the anchor to Feyenoord’s midfield, and a wonderful passer. His excellent accuracy and vision combines perfectly with his creativity, reading of the game and remarkable ability to break down opponents’ attacks and kick-start one for his own team in one fluid movement. It all combines to make him a very exciting player who is a complete joy to behold as he makes the Rotterdam side’s transition from defence to attack insatiably smooth.
Clasie ties everything together very well at Feyenoord. He is very much a consistent performer and it has been clear for some time that he is destined for greater things. ”
“Clasie is a small guy but still his power is one of his specialties. Despite being a youngster, he is the chief of the team and responsible for the rhythm in midfield at Feyenoord. He is not very fast but can read a game. Good in postion and a good passer. When he is in a team with trust, Clasie will always look for a solution forward.
— Ronald van der Geer (@RonaldvdGeer65), Dutch commentator and reporter for NOS Studio Sport.
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