Sheffield Wednesday fans column: Joost van Aken needs to be nurtured, not berated
It was interesting to read Joost van Aken's thoughts this week on his defensive displays this season. In summary, he's young; he has a lot to learn and needs someone with experience playing alongside him as a guide.
Van Aken feels more comfortable playing alongside Glenn Loovens because they can converse in Dutch for quicker communication and because he values his experience as a player. As discussed before, Tom Lees perhaps doesn’t have that authoritative voice on the pitch for van Aken to feel entirely comfortable.
That experience is crucial because recently van Aken is prone to giving the ball away at great expense to the team. Only Sunderland have had more defensive errors leading to a goal than Wednesday. Leeds and Middlesbrough share the plaudits with us for 11 defensive mistakes.
Van Aken showed a lot of promise in his first few games. He was confident on the ball and ran with it out of defence to provide a quicker attacking route.
It feels like this has been knocked out of him because of the short passing build-up play that Carlos Carvalhal insists on playing. It’s not the first time Carlos has bought a player that doesn’t fit his playing style but has insisted on trying to mould him into his image. Take Jordan Rhodes for example, his game doesn’t suit Carlos’s plan at all, and as a consequence, he is losing game time and confidence in the process.
I hope for van Aken’s sake that he can adapt because it would be a shame to break a young player who should be nurtured not just berated. We have enough problems with keeping young players satisfied with the George Hirst debacle.
As a side note, if the Chairman’s statement released this week about Hirst is true then I fully support the club’s stance. No one player is bigger than the club, especially when they haven’t graced the pitch to prove what they think they’re worth.