IMScouting’s player to watch: Piet Velthuizen

IMScouting’s latest Player to Watch is “the future Oranje number one” Piet Velthuizen.

Piet Velthuizen has emerged as one of the major Dutch talents in the last two years and undoubtedly the hottest young goalkeeper in Holland.

The 22-year-old, 6.2ft custodian, joined Vitesse Arnhem in 1999 and made his breakthrough into the first team during the 2006/2007 season. Vitesse were quick to tie him down to a long contract as soon as he established himself as the club’s number one and he has a contract until 2010/2011.

According to IMScouting, Velthuizen’s market value is €4,000K. Numerous scouts in the Netherlands have confirmed he is a top keeper who is tipped by many to be the future Dutch number one.

Velthuizen can appear a little slow but he has fantastic reflexes, he has been accused of making showy saves, playing to the cameras, but this can be normal for a keeper his age. Physically and mentally he’s very strong, passionate and works very hard at training as he is convinced that every detail will improve his game. He has been described as a fanatic who is always aiming to improve.

The Dutch press have been talking him up over the past few seasons but he is level headed. In response to the praise he said: “Even when folk are saying good things about me, it doesn’t matter as I still want to continually become better because I’m a perfectionist. I don’t want to be just a top keeper, I want to be the world’s best. And if you want to achieve that then you should never be content.”

This season, he is being worked extremely hard as Vitesse Arnhem are second bottom of the Eredivisie, Velthuizen has been offered very little protection and on a number of occasions this season he has kept his team in games or limited the damage.

The overriding sentiment from scouts in Dutch football is that Velthuizen is certainly good enough to become the national keeper. Like many Dutch goalkeepers, for example Edwin Van der Sar, Velthuizen is also good with the ball at his feet. He has not been afflicted by a major injury in his career so far and has great confidence in his own abilities which can be a crucial virtue for a goalkeeper.

Last season he really announced himself to Dutch football and he was voted the goalkeeper of the year in the Eredivisie. This has of course led to interest from a number of major clubs. Feyenoord have been linked with this promising goalkeeper and scouts from Arsenal reportedly watched the custodian in Vitesse’s 2-2 draw with Ajax in January 2008.

Velthuizen has received international recognition for his performances at club level. He played four times for the Under-23 Dutch national team, letting in just one goal. The young custodian has also come close to full international recognition as he sat on the bench for the friendly in Austria in March 2008. And he was included in the Holland B squad for the recent game against Sweden.

This week, Edwin Van der Sar pinpointed Velthuizen as one of the young Dutch goalkeepers who can cement their place as the Dutch number one. National team coach Bert van Marwijk has a number of keepers to choose from including Maarten Stekelenburg and Kenneth Vermeer.

The competition may be fierce, but Piet Velthuizen seems ready to claim Holland’s number one shirt, if he can keep Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie this season and continue his consistent form he can look forward to playing abroad and representing his country on a regular basis.

Video evidence of Piet Velthuizen in action can be seen here.