The emergence of exciting young talent in the Eredivisie has been but a normality in recent years, with the likes of Christian Eriksen and Kevin Strootman rising to prominence, both of whom are now plying their trades at top European clubs, two very big clubs in their own right. Even despite the departure of two such promising, talented young individuals, the Eredivisie still boasts of a vast, vast pool of exceptional talent, consisting of gems such as Ajax’s Viktor Fischer and PSV’s Zakaria Bakkali – already catching the eye of some of the biggest clubs in the continent. One player, however, who perhaps hasn’t received attention of such magnitude is Twente winger Quincy Promes.
Promes was born in Amsterdam in 1992. Naturally, as a young Mokummer with aspirations of becoming a professional footballer, he was enrolled in the world-renowned Ajax youth academy from a young age. Slowly but surely, he progressed up the ranks of the famed institute; that is until he was promoted to the B-junior team. His long stay at Ajax had ended when he was released in 2008, aged 16. Shortly after, he joined the youth ranks of Harlem-based football club HFC Haarlem. Determined to make a name for himself and silence his critics, he steadily improved and progressed, making a deep impression, putting in some very solid shifts for the club’s youth team. It was all going well for young him, until just over a year later when HFC Haarlem were declared bankrupt in late 2009.
Albeit under vastly different circumstances, again, he was released and left without a club. This time, however, his efforts bore fruit, with his stellar displays for Haarlem at youth level attracting the attention of Eredivisie heavyweights FC Twente. He signed for the Tukkers, residing in their youth ranks, parading his raw talent and ability with several superb displays for the Jong team – his performances earning him a call-up to the Dutch U19 squad in March 2011 for a friendly against the Italy U19s, a game which he started and played the full 90 minutes. The same year, Promes signed his first professional contract with the club.
A year on, in February 2012, he was handed a place on the bench by newly-appointed manager Steve McLaren, in a 3-2 home loss to Heracles. He would go on to make his debut in April, coming on as a late substitute replacing Nils Roseler, in a 2-2 draw away to rivals AZ Alkmaar. He would make two more appearances in 2012, both coming as late cameos in both legs of a play-off tie with RKC Waalwijk. The following season, Promes was sent out on-loan to Dutch second division dwellers Go Ahead Eagles. It didn’t take long for the young winger to make an impression, scoring a goal and assisting two in his first start for the club in a 4-1 win away to FC Oss. He would finish the season with 13 goals in 32 games, in the process winning him the Eerst Divisie Player of the Year award.
Quincy Promes has since become a valuable, almost indispensible part of Michel Jansen’s plans, making 15 consecutive starts so far this season, before being ruled out with a knee injury. Promes has also established himself as a regular starter for the Dutch U21s, so far chalking up 7 caps for Albert Stuivenberg’s men and scoring on two occasions.
Styles, Strengths and Weaknesses
Promes is generally deployed on the right wing, though also well capable of operating on the left. He is also adept at carrying out his duties sufficiently through the middle, in the ‘number 10 role’. He boasts of an exceptionally direct style of play, constantly looking to run at the opposition and creating opportunities, coming inside and engineering space for a shot, drawing players to himself, distorting the opposition’s shape and opening up pockets of space for his teammates to run into. The image below pretty much sums up what he brings to the floor.
It shows Promes (circled in black) running at the opposition, in the process drawing the opposing full-back, winger and centre-half to himself, creating space for his full-back (out of picture) to make an overlapping run in. Three players he’s dragged away from goal, all of which whom he subsequently bamboozles with some fancy footwork and leaves for dead, before releasing the the full-back with a perfectly weighted through ball and allowing him all the time in the world to pick out the now freed up centre-forward (circled in blue) to slot home.
His uncanny ability to engineer space and drag opponents out of position make him a vital aspect of Twente’s game, which is highly dependent on flooding the final-third and utilizing the vision and crossing ability of players like Dušan Tadič and Roberto Rosales. Even whilst off the ball, Promes still brings a great deal to the table, making clever runs and getting into some very dangerous positions.
The images above show Tadić (nearside) shaping up for a cross. A 3 vs 4 situation comes into play. Instead of tussling with the opposing defenders for space and moving in to attack the ball, Promes (circled) removes himself from play and makes a run away from goal, in the process dragging his marker along, thereby allowing space for Castaignos (furthest forward) to run into and get his head onto the ball. As shown in the second picture, Promes is well out of picture and has his marker ball-watching. He anticipates the knockdown from Castaignos and bursts into the box, running into the pocket of space circled above, beating the opposing centre-half to the ball and unerringly belts it into the bottom left corner. His explosive pace, quickness of feet as well as his capability from distance are some of his other more significant assets.
As one would expect from a 21 year-old playing in his first full season in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues, Promes is still a fairly unrefined player in that he lacks several vital aspects to his game, aspects that only come with experience at this level. One such aspect being his naivety and poor decision making at times, opting for the intricate over the glaringly simple option. He also lacks composure and awareness, often getting caught in two minds and giving the ball away cheaply when put or making an aimless cross or pull-back after beating his man. Pressing issues indeed, but certainly ones that are easily rectifiable given time.
Promes has notched up 8 goals and 4 assists after 15 games this season (at the time of writing) – an exceptional return by anyone’s standards. This coupled with some superb performances for the Tukkers, has well and truly shot him into prominence. Quick, powerful, astute and direct – Quincy Promes is fast proving himself to be of the hottest young prospects in European football at the moment.
“Vastly improved winger who has used his spell on loan at Go Ahead Eagles last season as a springboard into the Twente starting eleven. His performances are one of the reasons why Twente are title challengers this year. If he continues to improve then a move to a big club and a chance in Netherlands national team won’t be far off.”
“Quincy Promes is an electrifying young winger with great pace and skill. He has arguably been Twente’s best player so far this season through his consistently excellent performances as well as his goalscoring ability and link-up with those around him.
Promes is a hard working young player who puts in a defensive shift and is also very versatile as he can play on either wing or, if required, in a deeper role. He is a good passer of the ball and is good at staying wide and sending dangerous crosses in towards Luc Castaignos, but can also cut in and really threaten defences with his skill and dangerous shots.
As Twente remain one of the candidates to win the Eredivisie this season, Promes is an integral part of the team. At 21-years-old he has great potential and it won’t be long before he makes his mark on the national team.”
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