By Stefan Coerts | Dutch Football Editor
The general consensus at the start of the 2011-12 campaign was that Feyenoord awaited a difficult season following the departure of star players Leroy Fer, Luc Castaignos and Georginio Wijnaldum. Nevertheless, the Rotterdam giants have beaten PSV, Twente and Ajax at De Kuip, and are one of the revelations of this term. They are only five points off the pace after 20 Eredivisie games and are their good performances so far make them serious title candidates.
Teenage sensation John Guidetti has taken much of the credit for the Stadionclub's resurgence following his impressive goalscoring form, already netting 14 times in the league, while head coach Ronald Koeman has received his fair share of praise, too. However, promising youngster Jordy Clasie has been at least as important for Feyenoord this season, as the 20-year-old has developed into one of the Eredivisie's best midfielders in the past six months.
Clasie was born and raised in Haarlem, and started his footballing career at local amateur side EDO. His talent was quickly spotted by bigger clubs, though, and the midfielder joined the Feyenoord youth academy at the age of nine.
Nevertheless, although there was little doubt about his immense potential, Clasie's future at the Eredivisie giants was a talking point at more than one meeting over the years. The Netherlands Under-21 star was generally the smallest player in every team he was part of, and several youth coaches at the club considered him to be physically too weak to succeed at the very top level.
|CAREER STATISTICS | Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord & Netherlands Under-21)
Attributes: Passing, positioning, creativity, vision
|Height||Club||Weight||Place of Birth||Former clubs|
Clasie never stopped believing in himself, though, and continued to work hard to improve. The youngster realised that his stature can occasionally be a disadvantage, but the performances of players such as Barcelona star Xavi and Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder strengthened his belief that an impressive physique is not a requisite to succeed.
"I am only 1-metre-69, so I have little chance when it comes down to sheer physical strength. However, players such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sneijder prove week after week that you are never too small to become world-class," the Feyenoord star recently observed.
Indeed, his tender physique does not seem to hold the young playmaker back. After spending the 2010-11 campaign on loan at Excelsior in order to gain valuable first-team experience, Clasie returned to his beloved De Kuip at the start of the season, and has not wasted any time in making a name for himself.
Clasie hasn't missed a single Eredivisie game so far this season, and has become one of the driving forces behind Feyenoord's successful year to date.
Off the ball, he makes up for his lack of strength with his superb positioning, and wins more balls than most midfielders in his position at other clubs.
Nevertheless, it's in possession that the 20-year-old has impressed the most. Clasie is always available, and nearly every Feyenoord attack starts at the feet of the former Excelsior starlet. His accurate passing in combination with his excellent vision and creativity are at the heart of the majority of the chances that the Rotterdam giants create, and the midfielder has rapidly become indispensable for the 2002 Uefa Cup winners.
|I am closely following a number of players who are interesting options for Oranje ahead of Euro 2012, and Jordy Clasie is one of those players
- Bert van Marwijk
His rise to prominence has not only earned him comparisons to his idol Xavi, but Clasie has also caught the attention of national team coach Bert van Marwijk. The Oranje boss is keeping tabs on a number of players who could potentially make the squad for Euro 2012, and the Feyenoord man's good performances haven't gone unnoticed.
"I am closely following a number of players who are interesting options for Oranje ahead of Euro 2012. I have a list with about 15 players on it who could make the team. Jordy Clasie is one of those players," Van Marwijk told Voetbal International.
Although Euro 2012 might come just too soon for Clasie, Van Marwijk's comments perfectly illustrate just how much progress that the playmaker has made in the past few months.
At the start of the season, there were plenty of question marks as to whether he had what it takes to succeed at Feyenoord; right now it appears to be only a matter of time before Clasie makes his Oranje debut. A bright future undoubtedly lies in store for the midfield maestro.
Follow Stefan Coerts on