‘Both feet on the ground’
Standing out by being inconspicuous: Wieffer ‘sees it all’
Even Mats Wieffer himself had read that Willem van Hanegem does see in him a player for the Dutch national team. And even from that compliment, one of many in recent months, Wieffer, who hails from Borne in Overijssel, did not become confused. “I think it’s too quick off the mark to say that now, after two months of playing well …”.
It will be his characteristic down-to-earthness, a quality with which he also stands out in the Feyenoord player group. After all, he is “the only boy from Twente in the team”.
‘I enjoy it very much’
So the 23-year-old midfielder is not blowing high off the tower. “Things have been going just fine lately and I want to continue that way,” he says of his achievements since the beginning of January, when he secured a starting place in Rotterdam.
Over a month later, Wieffer has become an integral part of the Feyenoord team. He does not stand out for goals and assists, but is a liaison player, with game intelligence and insight, who should make others play better.
Last summer, Feyenoord picked him up from city rival Excelsior for barely six tons. After some injury and an adjustment period, he has found his place with the premier league leaders.
“When I sometimes sit on the bench, I do think: it’s really nice how things are going now,” Wieffer says. “I enjoy it very much. But in soccer you don’t always dwell on it. You have a lot of matches at Feyenoord, so it keeps going.”
With 12 league games to go, starting Sunday afternoon in Sittard against Fortuna, Feyenoord is the favorite for the national title for many. The lead over closest pursuer Ajax is three points.
According to Wieffer, Feyenoord’s players are not yet with their thoughts on the championship. “Still not. We are in good shape, but it’s not like we are winning games very easily. We have to keep both feet on the ground.”
Feyenoord are by necessity making a specialty of coming back from a deficit this season. The Rotterdammers already grabbed 18 points in the premier league after falling behind.
“We often have to knit everything right at the last minute for a reason. As a result, we do make it difficult for ourselves. So it’s not like we’re already thinking: we’re going to be champions. But we definitely believe in it,” Wieffer concluded.