The Netherlands came back strongly in the 2022 World Cup after their failure to qualify for the previous edition. The Oranje managed to reach the quarter-finals, where they lost to Argentina by the barest of margins. However, by the time of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the Dutch will have a strong squad, with several of their players expected to hit their prime by then. However, the team will also need other players to be at their best, which is where huge hopes have been pinned on players like Thijmen Blokzijl.
The 18-year-old has been one of the best players to come out of Groningen’s youth academy in recent years. And for this, he has been duly rewarded by being included in the senior team for the 2022-23 season. Blokzijl has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and has shown that he is one of the best young talents in the Eredivisie.
So, who is Thijmen Blokzijl, and how good is he?
Who is Thijmen Blokzijl
Thijmen Blokzijl was born on February 25 februari 2005 in Groningen. Blokzjil had a keen interest in football from a young age and began his footballing journey at five years by joining local club Velocitas 1897. He would spend the next five years at the club before joining Be Quick 1887, who play in the Vierde Divisie, the second-highest amateur league in the world.
However, only a year later, Groningen, the biggest club in the area, came calling, and the youngster wasted no time joining the team. In the 2019-20 season, Blokzijl was promoted to the under-17s, where he made two appearances.
The following season he earned another promotion, this time to the under-18s, where he made six appearances. His impressive performances earned him a call-up to the under-21s and Blokzijl for the 2021-22 season, where he would score one goal and provide one assist.
🥳 De jarige Thijmen Blokzijl zat altijd met zijn opa op de Piet Fransen Tribune. De laatste weken is Thijmen vaste basisklant in Euroborg.
Waar zit jij straks? Tot zo!💚#GROEXC pic.twitter.com/vldfFI723x
— FC Groningen (@fcgroningen) February 25, 2023
Thijmen Blokzijl stats
In the current season, Thijmen Blokzijl made 12 games for the under-21s. And his performances were so impressive that newly appointed head coach Dennis van der Ree handed him his debut on January 8, 2023. In the same month, he would also get his first assist in a 3-2 loss against FC Volendam.
Blokzijl played 13 consecutive games before he suffered an ankle injury which has caused him to miss the recent games. However, looking at his stats from fbref shows one thing: Blokzijl is a very brilliant player with the ball at his feet. The defender carries the ball 256 metres every match on average every game, out of which 152 metres is progressive, both of which puts him among the top eight percentile of defenders.
In addition, he also averages 0.96 progressive carries into the penalty area per 90 minutes, which again puts him in the top eight percentile of defenders. This season he has also never been tackled while attempting a take-ons, a brilliant achievement for a player in his first senior-team season.
Thijmen Blokzijl scout report
Thijmen Blokzijl is a player that is not a brilliant passer but loves to create opportunities by running with the ball. In fact, his ball skills are so impressive for his age that he could easily transition to a midfielder in the future if such a situation arises.
His defensive numbers are not impressive, but there is a strong reason behind it. Since Blokzijl has excellent vision, more often than not, he snuffs out the opposition’s attack not through tackles or interceptions but through his positioning.
However, one area where he could make a lot of improvement is his passing. While he is a brilliant ball carrier, Blokzijl does not bring that high level of play with his passing. This has allowed the opposition to pressure him by deploying a high press which could be a concern for him in the future.
Thijmen Blokzijl transfer news
Thijmen Blokzijl’s rise has been so swift that even the clubs with the best scouting networks did not know much about him. This is the reason that so far, no credible news has emerged about his departure from the club.
His injury had added to the concerns with the other clubs, not sure when he would be fully fit. However, Blokzijl’s talents are in spades; clubs are bound to come sooner or later for him. The best course for now would be to continue his growth at Groningen and become an undisputed starter for the team.
#Groningens #Young #Defender #Underrated #Gem