Dutch analyst Jan van Halst has praised Jetro Willems’ quality in attack, but believes the left-back will ‘always’ be vulnerable defensively.
This comes after his stunning goal on Saturday to give us a shock lead at Anfield just 7 minutes in, however van Halst believes he is yet to learn how to defend – and fears he never will at 25.
Speaking on to Voetbalzone after our 3-1 defeat at Liverpool, here’s what the former Ajax star had to say about Willems – a player he knows well from his years with PSV:
“He makes it difficult for a football analyst.
“Before the game we say that he should play a little more carefully as a left back. It is of course the charm of Willems.
“The good thing is too: if he does this for PSV in a home match against RKC, then you say: ‘This is of course not possible in the Premier League’. But it is foolish: he just does it. Charming. A great goal.
“He is playful. It makes you crazy as a football analyst. Of course you have to use him with his speed.
“Defensively he just has his vulnerabilities. You have to take this for granted a bit. This is that playfulness of Jetro Willems. He will never get it out completely, because he is already 25.”
If Willems played as a left-back in a four-man defence I’d be concerned about his ability to defend in one-on-one situations and would worry about him leaving us exposed at the back, but his role in our current formation give him license to get forward.
He must stay switched on defensively and could learn a thing or two from Matt Ritchie – whose intensity at both ends of the pitch is admirable – however his ability to create and score the odd goal could be priceless to this team.
Not only was his goal one that Mane or Salah would’ve been proud of, he made some precise passes into the final third (something he did well vs Watford) and whipped in the odd impressive delivery too.
His career has stuttered considerably in recent years, but let’s hope this moment of magic was a sign of things to come from Willems – a player who was Holland’s first choice left back at the age of 18 and tipped for big things not so long ago.
Hopefully his quality in attack can outweigh his ‘vulnerabilities’ at the back.