’80 percent of PSV squad from own youth’

’80 percent of PSV squad from own youth’
Adil Ramzi at Jong Ajax – Jong PSV

NOS Football

  • Aaron Golub

    Follows PSV on behalf of NOS Sport

  • Aaron Golub

    Follows PSV on behalf of NOS Sport

It was a first in Eindhoven when big money was captured for Cody Gakpo (42 million euros) and Noni Madueke (35 million euros) this winter. Indeed, never before have two youth exponents been sold for so much money at PSV. Within the club, there has been an increasing focus on further development from PSV’s own PSV Academy for years.

Those mega-transfers are something to be proud of, thinks Young PSV coach Adil Ramzi. “Cody’s story is the perfect example. Debuting from the youth academy, performing nationally and then going to a top European club for a good amount of money. That is the icing on the cake.”

Johan Bakayoko – who joined PSV when he was 16 – and Jordan Teze may have been the only base players from their own youth last weekend against FC Volendam, but the goal for a long time has been to fill half the selection with home-grown players. “Now we want to go from 50 percent to 80 percent. And preferably we even want to get to five or six youth players in the starting lineup,” Ramzi said.

Click with Van Nistelrooij

The ambitious Ramzi has been active in PSV’s youth team since 2015. That started with an internship, after which he served as Ruud van Nistelrooij’s assistant at Jong PSV, among other things. He took over from the current head coach last year.

“The link and cooperation between the first and youth has never been as good as it is now,” the Moroccan-Dutch coach continued. “The lines between Van Nistelrooij and me are short. We are friends of each other.”

Adil Ramzi and Ruud van Nistelrooij in 2001 after Ajax – PSV

That contact is daily. “We think the same about soccer and that brings positive developments. I have also experienced seasons here where the head coach thought differently than how things were in our academy.”

Learning from La Masía

At PSV, the development of youth players is paramount, but from a team environment, Ramzi said. “If the focus is only on individuals, then you gamble. I call that casino behavior. The advantage from a team environment is that players can also break through from whom it is less expected.”

However, the former footballer of PSV, Roda JC, AZ and Udinese, among others, does feel that the PSV youth as a whole can still grow. “When guys join Jong PSV, they should actually already be more advanced. That is only possible if you demand more at an earlier stage, as early as the 13- and 14-year-olds. That’s about attitude, discipline, but also the level of training.”

Ramzi refers to a statement made by the then technical director of FC Barcelona, during a previous knowledge exchange with PSV. “He told me that they ask exactly the same of youth players coming to La Masía as they do of players at FC Barcelona 1.”

“Of course in a different tone with young children, but in content exactly the same. Not being late, wearing the right clothes, discussing matches afterwards. We are already working on that at PSV, but there is still room for improvement.”

Future stars of PSV

At Jong PSV, center striker Jason van Duiven is currently the absolute standout. In 29 Keuken Kampioen Divisie matches, he was 13 times treacherous. “In a few years I see him as a striker for PSV. He has speed, technique, venom and scoring ability,” Ramzi said.

Jason van Duiven after his goal against ADO

“But more important is that he can keep it up mentally,” he continued. “Sometimes I think: how on earth is it possible for someone to often be late or not perform for a week? But Jason is stable in that too.”

If anyone else stands out at Jong PSV, it’s 18-year-old outfielder Isaac Babadi. “Van Duiven is a bit more task-oriented, but Isaac, for example, is a creative player with a completely different character. Those need freedom, which sometimes creates genius things.”

Premier League International Cup

There has also been international success for Jong PSV this season, at the Premier League International Cup. And not without reason, as they won against West Ham United (5-0), Manchester United (2-0), Everton (3-0) and as an absolute highlight the blowout against Arsenal (7-2).

“From the first game, I felt a certain energy in the group. A certain focus. Those first thirty minutes against Arsenal were our best thirty minutes of the year.” Within ten minutes, the Eindhoven talents were even ahead 3-0.

“But also the traveling, adjusting to international opponents and playing in the Dutch league again a few days later. That’s what makes it such a great tournament in terms of training.” And the Eindhoven players are not done yet in England, as the final against Crystal Palace or Valencia still lies ahead.

In the end, top sport is always about winning, even in youth. “But I am satisfied from my position, if at the end of the season Ruud can take a number of boys from Jong PSV. Where you finish in the league table is less important in that respect. If I deliver three, four players, then I am proud of that,” Ramzi concluded.

Young PSV player Fedde Leysen in duel during the Premier League International Cup

Kayleigh Williams