Diary: The man with the magic feet

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How lucky are we to have a player like Kevin van Veen? I ask this with the experience of watching the Iron for most of my life. I remember the reems and reems of utter dross we’ve had in the forward positions. Darius Henderson, James Alabi and Matthew Bailey et al. I can’t think of any more right now. But what I can think of is the magic feet our Budget Bergkamp possesses.

Today, I’d like to write about them. In what is, a very small ode to the lad who was a plasterer. Plying his trade in the obscurity of the second tier of Dutch football. Somewhere between lowlands, flood risk and windmills. Somewhere most of us had never heard of.

Kev had a bit of a bad time last season under Robins, his talents weren’t appreciated and he was sent back to the Netherlands to cure a bout of homesickness. An injury and a breakup with his long-term girlfriend later Kev barely featured for SC Cambuur, who were getting smashed every week by the big names in Dutch football.

The conditions were not right last season under a feckless manager. This year is a different story, however. Kev has been able to flourish under a (much) better gaffer, been given his chance in a season in which he confesses he is ‘on a mission’. This combination of personal grit, determination and an upturn in circumstances have translated into a return on the pitch.

I don’t think it should be overlooked the effort the man has put in either, asked to bulk up over the summer – Kev put on 12kgs of muscle. My biggest criticism of him before this season is that he was too lightweight and not up to the physical demands of English football, that’s no longer the case. The ball ‘sticks’ up top with him now.

A marker for the difference Kev makes to the team as a whole was evident against Chesterfield. We know now that 4-5-1 rarely works in an attacking sense, but 4-4-2 does. With a goal and a visionary assist it was highlighted what we are with Kev in the team, an intelligent and productive attacking outfit.

If we are bold enough to stick to this formula for the foreseeable future, I can see plenty of Kev’s screamers flying in at GP and plenty more sparks from his magic feet. Until then sit back (or stand) and admire the vision and the football brain behind the boots of one of the best players I have ever seen grace the grass at Glanford Park.

I am reliably informed there is more to come for him, and for once I believe it.

Matt Ellis

Written by Matt Blanchard

Part of the team since 2007, before becoming editor in 2013. Undertaken the role of match summariser during Scunthorpe United live match commentaries for BBC Radio Humberside. Seasonal contributor to football titles FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes and a finalist at the Football Blogging Awards in 2014.

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