Van Persie junior achieves first success in orange shirt: ‘We are similar’
editor of NOS Sports
editor of NOS Sports
Robin van Persie played his last international game in 2017 and is still the top all-time scorer for the Oranje with 50 goals. However, the possibility of more Van Persie goals for the Dutch national team cannot be ruled out. Indeed, Van Persie junior is also scoring his first successes in the orange shirt.
Shaqueel van Persie qualified for the European Championship with the Netherlands under 17 on Tuesday evening at the rainy Quick Boys sports park in Katwijk. The England peers were beaten 1-0 by a goal from Ajacied Kayden Wolff.
Sixteen-year-old Shaqueel van Persie did not fill in until injury time. Nevertheless, the young Feyenoord player did play a part in qualifying for the tournament to be held in May and June this year.
The striker was in the starting lineup this international period against Northern Ireland (2-1 win) and Denmark (2-2). As a result, the Netherlands became group winners and may travel to the tournament in Hungary.
That he would have to sit on the bench for a long time against the group’s best opponent on paper, Van Persie had already factored in. “I had already taken it into account. The trainers had a certain idea.”
Pieter Schrasser Bert, national coach of Oranje under 17, chose Van Persie in the first two games because he expected beforehand that the Netherlands would be better and play a lot on the opponent’s half. “Then he is phenomenal…”
Against England, however, he chose Everton’s tall Martin Sherif because “he can play the spaces better and is physically stronger.”
The coach of the youth team, who himself played three games for FC Den Bosch’s first, adds right away that without Van Persie, “a bit of soccer will be surrendered.”
That Van Persie can play soccer was certainly evident in the first qualifying matches. With his subtle left leg, the small slender left-winger shows that soccer genes are transferable. It is like watching a young version of Robin van Persie.
“I have the same motor skills and I’ve taken things from him,” Van Persie junior acknowledges afterwards. He looks jealously at his father’s runs on old footage. “I think we are similar.”
The young striker dreams of a glittering career in England, like his father at Arsenal and Manchester United. “But first I want to debut at Feyenoord of course,” he said.
It’s not that far yet, but Van Persie junior is on the right track. With the under 17 of the Rotterdam club, he scored 21 league goals in 19 games this season. Moreover, he is occasionally allowed to join Feyenoord’s “under 18” squad.
‘Late maturity’ by birth month
Things don’t go naturally for Van Persie. According to Schrasser Bert, he is a “late maturing” player. That means he is slightly behind his peers mentally and physically.
This is partly because he is “battling” his birth month. Van Persie was born in November 2006. Because of the “birth month effect,” players born in the fall are less likely to make it to professional soccer even though they have equal innate talent.
According to Schrasser Bert, the KNVB therefore looks at calendar age and biological age. “If someone from, say, January 2006 is early in growth and someone in November 2006 is late in growth, the difference is huge.”
For Van Persie, who was also in the youth of Manchester City and Fenerbahçe, this effect ensured that he was not selected for a representative team of the Netherlands for the first time until February.
His coach of the “under 17” stressed that he, like many other players, had been on the list for some time. Thus he did sit on “the futures,” the team in which late-maturing players also get a chance.
Moreover, the young Van Persie has developed considerably in recent months. “They are becoming mature for the international level. In addition, he has something special. His technical skills allow him to create chances for others. He can also choose position in front of the goal incredibly well. Just like his father.”
The comparison to Robin van Persie will continue to haunt him. The youth player is aware of that. He knows that he still has much to learn in order to have a record like his father’s.
Technically, he is already getting awfully close to his father. And sometimes even a little further, according to junior himself. “I think I can headline better than my dad…”