Everton

Who In The Name Of God Is… Leroy Fer?

Everton have been strongly linked with a £4million move for Feyenoord’s highly-rated midfield General, but who in the name of God is this burly Leroy Fer figure?

Well, we can effectively apply his nickname as a useful introduction. Indeed, whilst nicknames can often be arbitrary, fanciful or simply dull, Leroy Fer’s is an extremely functional indication of his playing style: ‘The Bouncer’. This largely speaks for itself, particularly when you consider it applies to a defensive midfield.

A strong, combative and tough tackling midfield force, Leroy is a Dutch destroyer of imposing stature. Inevitably he has had the old Patrick Vieira comparisons thrown at him; Netherlands U21 coach Cor Pot highlighting many similarities, including stature, tackling style and ability.

Nonetheless, this physical prowess and defensive aptitude shouldn’t negate from the fact he is also adept on the ball and not simply a destructive force. Certainly, he has a comfortable approach in possession, displays decent distribution whilst also productively possessing versatility, good technique and reasonable pace.

His domestic career has been based exclusively with Feyenoord. Joining the youth academy at a young age, he broke into the first-team in 2007, accumulating a handful of sporadic appearances. However, the 2008/09 season was his real breakthrough. Fer notched-up 32 league appearances and, due to his previously mentioned versatility and interchangeable attributes, he was deployed in a number of positions by new coach Gertjan Verbeek; from his favoured protecting midfielder role, to an attacking role behind a striker, and even as a right-back.

He reportedly attracted attention form Turin giants Juventus at this stage, however he remained with Feyenoord and the 2009/10 season duly was another vital progression. Under another new coach, this time coach Mario Been, he developed from young, adaptable prospect, to an important and established first-team regular. A significant part of this was holding down, and firming up, a regular and preferred position. Thus, Fer has duly blossomed into a dynamic and dependable defensive midfielder.

At 20-years-old, and having progressed through each of Netherlands youth teams (currently part of the under-21 set-up), it is thought Leroy is on the brink of a full international call-up.

After trailing him for some time, Everton are thought to be surveying the situation ahead of a possible deal. If he does break into the full Netherlands squad, his price tag could become amplified.

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