'How do you deal with the psychological pressure of professional football? For example, you played a draw against Cambuur the other day when you should have won. The supporters clearly showed their dissatisfaction.'
'That's the impressive thing about football; it's a rollercoaster. When you win, there is extreme euphoria, which you share with many people. But if you lose or draw when you should be winning, well, this can be a lot to take. I deal with it more easily, though, the more often I experience it. You don't experience it as much during a match because you are focused. But it's still a lot to be yelled at.'
'What fascinates me as a communications scholar is the media training that footballers receive. You always seem to give the correct answers; what do you do at that training?’
'I did expect this question, haha. And I understand it, too; an interview with a footballer is never really fun. But we honestly don't get actively trained. At most, we are given an indication that some things are not useful to say, such as publicly slagging off fellow players.
On the contrary, when I am interviewed, I notice that journalists are too intent on getting answers for articles they have already written. They ask a specific question, and they want a specific answer. Footballers are, therefore, careful about what they say so that responses are not distorted. I also think interviewers often ask the same questions, and with footballers not wanting to take a risk in their answers, this can sometimes make interviews a bit boring.'
Footballers are careful about what they say so that responses are not distorted.
'Besides football, you also have a public role. You are already a role model at 21, signing autographs on scarves, recording videos and fulfilling a social role.'
'I think being a 'role model' is not so bad. There are teammates who have been around longer and are more famous, but I try to come across as positive as possible. A lot of requests come in for recording videos or signing autographs, and we actually always do that. The team manager asks if I will come and record a video or if a shirt needs an autograph, and then everyone is expected to sign it. It's a small effort, and people love it.