Hartman makes debut in packed Kuip for Gibraltar: ‘Extra special’

Hartman makes debut in packed Kuip for Gibraltar: ‘Extra special’
Niels Hartman

NOS Football

“When I heard I was allowed in I got a very nice feeling. It was impressive,” said Niels Hartman. He was born in Schoonhoven, Schoonhoven, in South Holland, about thirty kilometers from De Kuip. It was in that very stadium that he made his debut for Gibraltar tonight.

The midfielder came into the team in 86th minute, at a 3-0 deficit. That was also the final score. Not a bad result, Hartman said. “You are never satisfied with a defeat, but we are improving.”

Hartman made his debut not only in front of his native country, but also in front of family, friends and his girlfriend. They were all in the stadium. “I think it’s very nice that they came,” said the brand-new Gibraltar international, who played in the Netherlands for three months for vv HSC from Sappemeer.

Hartman after debut for Gibraltar at De Kuip: ‘This was very impressive’

Beforehand, it was questionable whether he would be granted a debut. “Fortunately, I got my debut. Very nice,” Hartman thanked his coach.

The 22-year-old midfielder had been working on arranging a passport for quite some time. When that was successful, the wait was on for his debut. “I had been hoping for this for some time,” Hartman said.

He had taken his debut into account, but also had to admit that beforehand he had found it hard to imagine what it would be like in a full Kuip. “Making your debut is beautiful of course, to do it in a full Kuip is extra special.”

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Kayleigh Williams