You know that smug mate who ‘knows’ everything about football? The one who knows all the players in the world? The one who during a debate will give you, and your pathetic attempt at an opinion, a patronising glance, wield out some exotic sounding name as the ‘correct answer’ – the ‘next big thing’ – before casually taking an extendedly staged sip of his smug pint. Yeah, you know that prick.
Well, chances are he’s probably haughtily slipped the name Gregory van der Wiel in there at some point. So, who the hell, exactly, is Gregory van der Wiel?
Born in Amsterdam and one the latest products of their renowned youth system, Gregory van der Wiel is currently plying his trade at Ajax. He made his full-team debut in the 2007, but after suffering injury setbacks during his early career it wasn’t until the 2008/09 season that he regularly broke into the side. Under Marco van Basten he played an integral role, having been moved from centre back to right full back. Still only 22 years old, he has now established himself as a vital part of the Ajax first-team.
This season, under Martin Jol, he was awarded the Dutch Young Player of the Year accolade; largely attributed to his attacking prowess down the right flank, offering a direct and dangerous asset. Though relatively stable defensively there is room for improvement, however these offensive qualities, and his club form, have ensured he has become part of the Dutch national side set-up. Having made only a handful of international appearances, he is still expected to feature during the World Cup, so keep an eye peeled for Old Gregg (not of Mighty Boosh fame) bombing down the wing in a few weeks time.
Not without controversy, van der Wiel caused a ‘twitter’ (oh, do behave!) when he was pulled out of the Australia bound Dutch national side due to concussion, only to attend a Lil Wayne gig – some hippidy hoppedy rapper guy apparently – and post photo’s of the night on …(dum, dum, dummmm) twitter.
Nevertheless, he has subsequently forced his way back into the plans of Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk and if he does have a successful World Cup, or even if he doesn’t, he could well be making a move to the Premiership shortly. Arsenal are known to be interested, whilst Manchester City’s Nigel De Jong recently urged his side to sign him; testament to van der Wiel’s prowess, but also symptomatic of City’s need for a right-back).
So, anyway, that’s who the hell Gregory van der Wiel is.
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