Through the Ranks

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Arnold Muhren, Ruud Gullit, Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Robin Van Persie: the list of Dutch players that have made an impact in English football is somewhat extensive.

And one young prospect is hoping to add his name to that growing catalogue – Fulham Academy’s and Holland U17 international Danny Hoesen.

“A lot of Dutch players come to play England and many of them have made a big difference. Hopefully I can make a similar impact,” declares Danny.

With a frantic summer of comings and goings, fans could be forgiven for letting one of the Club’s newest recruits slip through the radar, after Danny was plucked from Dutch second division side Fortuna Sittard.

He explains: “The transfer came as a bit of a surprise and it went through very quickly. But this Club has everything a young player needs: education, training and development. You have a good chance to progress and that’s one of the reasons why I signed.”

Following his transfer the Heerlen born youngster went straight into Gary Brazil’s U18 squad, where he has caught the eye with his skill and natural awareness. The 17-year-old’s form has also been rewarded with a place in Billy McKinlay’s Development Squad.

“I knew that I would be starting off in the U18s,” says Danny. “It’s a great place to learn, and I’m really enjoying playing for them. I like the coaches and the players made me feel welcome since the day that I arrived.

“I’ve also played a couple of games in the Development Squad, which was a good experience for me. It’s a bit of a step up from U18 football because it’s faster and a lot more physical.”

Getting to grips with the physical side of English football that he admits has been one of the biggest difficulties to overcome.

He says: “It’s been hard because I’m not that sort of player. But it’s been good for my development, and I’m already protecting the ball better and holding off defenders. My first game against Crystal Palace came as a bit as a shock, but since then I’ve learnt to deal with it.

“I’ve also had to adapt to a new position, having been used to playing in a midfield 4-3-3 formation. I’ve been playing up front for Fulham, and I have to admit it’s a position that I’m enjoying. It’s different from what I’m used to, but who doesn’t enjoy scoring goals?”

Whether it’s avoiding tackles or hitting the back of the net, Danny is a player with high standards, having already sampled first team football with Fortuna Sittard – a club that nurtured Holland internationals Mark Van Bommel, Kevin Hofland, Erik Meijer and Fernando Ricksen.

“I was involved over pre-season and it gave me a taste of what it is like. I always set myself high targets, because I want to be the best. So of course I want to be involved with the Fulham first team at some point. I want to make it to the top and that means achieving things with Fulham and Holland. It is my dream to do well,” affirms Danny.

And that means following in the footsteps of the players that he identifies as his footballing heroes – Dennis Bergkamp and Robin Van Persie. However, being a former pupil of the Johan Cruyff College, Danny also understands the importance of education and commitment.

“I would love to follow in the footsteps of Bergkamp and Van Persie, they are my favourites and a great example to younger players. But I realise that it’s not just about ability. Before I joined Fulham, I attended the Johan Cruyff College and he made us understand the importance of learning. He said that education wasn’t an option for him as a young player and that we have to make the most of these opportunities.”

With an already impressive football education behind him; Holland U17, Johan Cruyff, Fortuna Sittard and now the Fulham Academy, Danny certainly has the foundations for a very promising career.

He says: “The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, and every young player will tell you that it would be a dream to play in it. I would like to think that I will some day - so we’ll see what the future holds.”