‘We footballers are at risk too’

After his strong performance against the United States, Denzel Dumfries thought the time was right to speak candidly about his psychological struggles. He did it on his own, in the mixed area of ​​Khalifa International Stadium, where the media could talk to the players.

He had a goal for that. According to Dumfries, there is still a taboo about mental problems and advice that goes with footballers. He said, “It’s normal for footballers to play with each other, but they shouldn’t be open about it.” the ward from orange. “I’ll be very honest and say it wasn’t easy for me. I got a lot of criticism and I also felt like it could be better. Mentally it’s very hard to get through. Luckily I have the right people around me to help me through it.”

“I am always very critical of myself.”

In the group matches of the World Cup, Dumfries could not achieve what others expected and especially himself. He seemed to be constantly arguing with the ball. The once-important Dumfries of the Orange wasn’t so important, as was the climb again on the right-hand side. Eat the inability to face the pressure to perform it. “I’m always so critical of myself, you want things to go better.”

After the duel with Qatar, he has a Zoom conversation with Annemieke Zijerveld. She is a clinical psychologist, specializing in depression and working with athletes for years. Dumfries has been in constant contact with her since he was at Sparta, where he became a professional footballer between 2015 and 2017. “What she said, I keep it private. It’s about finding inner peace and going back to basics. She helps me with that. I’m grateful for that.” .”

In other sports, the use of a sports psychologist is no longer taboo. In football, this has started to fade in recent years. Gregory van der Wiel, who played the World Cup final in South Africa with Orange in 2010, announced two years ago that he suffered from mental disorders and panic attacks because of all the pent-up tensions. A study conducted by FIFPro in 2020 showed that 22 percent of football players suffer from mental problems.

mental toughness

“It’s not always easy being a footballer,” said Dumfries. “You want to be important to the team. That requires mental resilience. I’m glad I got my revenge today. The mental side was crucial. This is still an unexposed aspect of football. We are also part of society, we are also vulnerable. By being open to That matter, I may help others, and they, too, ask for help.”

Bonus after the Netherlands and the United States: a kiss on the right cheek from Louis van Gaal. For example, the national coach answered a question from a journalist from Curaçao, where Dumfries has its roots, about the importance of an Internazionale player for the Orange. Dumfries was at the press conference as he was named man of the match.

At a crucial moment, he himself made it 3-1. After a ready cross from the other full-back, Daley Blind, he worked the ball in with his lower left foot. Earlier in the match, so-called drawn crosses from Dumfries, from the right, resulted in two strikes. Memphis Depay was the finalist once, 2-0 was the blind.

Daley Blind jumps into Wout Weghorst’s arms after his goal. Then he went looking for his father, Danny, an assistant national coach at Orange.ANP image

For Blind personally, it was a special moment. “Releases emotions.” It was not so much because he has also received a lot of criticism in recent months, especially for his game at Ajax: too slow, too sloppy, not sharp. He has lost his base. Blind knew he still had complete confidence in Van Gaal. In the Orange system, he performed better than a left-back in the Ajax concept. On Saturday, he said he was not psychologically affected by the criticism. A bit sarcastic: “I’ve been criticized for years, so I think I can handle it better.”

The doctors gave little hope for a future career for the blind

However, Blind also shed light on the man behind the footballer when he lunged at the Dutch exit after his goal. He only wanted to fly into the arms of one man: Van Gaal’s right-hand man. The latest documentary shows how important his father Danny is to him after he developed a heart condition Never stand still againn. Blind said the doctors gave him a little hope of continuing his career because of a heart defect, but his father didn’t want to give up that way. It gave Blind, who now plays with a pacemaker, the strength not to give up.

Only, Danny had already sat in the dugout during his son Daley’s Jubilee run on Saturday. Vader continued in his assistant role. And so Blind jumped first into Wout Weghorst’s arms, and then went to look for his father. Wighurst’s hug also had a reason. “I’m going to polish your shoes, then you’ll score a goal,” Wout said recently during training. So I thought: I’ll catch Wout next. Then I went to my dad for a while. For me “.

Read also:

Orange in the spirit of Van Gaal to the quarter-finals in the World Cup

The Netherlands is in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar. Exactly in the spirit of Louis van Gaal, the USA were skillfully dismantled in the eighth final: 3-1.

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Amber Webster

 "Freelance zombie fanatic. Devoted web advocate. Analyst. Writer. Coffee fanatic. Travelaholic. Proud food aficionado."

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