Over a year ago. The only 17-year-old Mohamed Ihattaren was the absolute star in the top between PSV and Ajax that afternoon. “Well, he was good,” said Rafael van der Vaart in Studio Football. “By far the best on the field”, added Pierre van Hooijdonk.
Theo Janssen: “He plays as if hes playing outside with his friends. Nice to see.” Who was ever so good at that age? That question was asked. The comparison with Clarence Seedorf fell.
Look below for the excerpt from Studio Football of 22 September 2019.
Things went fast with 17-year-old Ihattaren, more than half a year after his first league debut for PSV. He was a bright spot in a moderate season of PSV. Nothing but praise.
He received massive compassion when his father died. PSVs subsequent match against VVV-Venlo was dedicated to support him and his family. One minutes silence in advance, applause in the 24th minute (his back number), banners and more.
“ We could not have wished for a warmer and more beautiful goodbye to my dear father,” wrote Ihattaren on Instagram. “Words fail when the loss of our most precious property is so lovingly embraced. We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the expressions of sympathy.”
His much-discussed and acclaimed choice for Orange followed. “Ihattaren is a young player who is going through a great development. He can become extremely important for the Dutch team,” said national coach Ronald Koeman in a video of the football association KNVB.
In the first international after his choice, he was still missing to cope with the loss of his father, but for the matches against Spain and the United States in March, he was likely to be in. Coronavirus threw soot into the food.
In an interview with Helden Magazine, he said he had a hard time sometimes. Not only with the loss of his father, but also the way hes looked at. “I get discriminatory words on me almost every day. On the street, in front of my mothers door, everywhere,” he said.
“ And then the police,” he said. “Since I got my license, I get arrested almost every weekend. Especially in Eindhoven. In Utrecht, thats a little less. Apparently, a young Moroccan can cant drive a nice car. Anyway, what am I supposed to do about it? Although sometimes it drives me crazy. I always try to be friendly.”
In the coronatiy there suddenly came criticism, overt criticism, of his behavior. People had an opinion about him. Even after Ihattaren had treated himself to an Audi RS6, worth 198.899 euros, and he had proudly posted a picture with his asset on Instagram.
“ A boy of 18 years old in such a car, at this time. At any time,” said Gertjan Verbeek in the Volkskrant. “Then you have no idea of this world.”
Submerged on the couch
Everything became different. He came back too hard from vacation, already visible during a photo shoot in Pumas new PSV shirt, he showed little in the preparation and his discipline and mentality was suddenly questioned.
The cameras captured his attitude on the couch at Oranje mercilessly, submerged and very dissatisfied because interim football coach Dwight Lodeweges did not give him a debut against Poland and Italy.
Its about Ihattaren again in Studio Football
Three weeks ago. Ihattaren was again the subject of conversation in Studio Football. The tone was different from 12 months ago. The PSVer had passed for the match against FC Groningen and sent earlier that week by the new trainer Roger Schmidt from the training because of a lack of commitment.
“ Have you ever been sent out of training at that age?”, asked Van Hooijdonk to Theo Janssen and Rafael van der Vaart. “No,” said Janssen. “No,” said Van der Vaart.
Van Hooijdonk had no understanding for it. “He was disappointed that he hadnt played against Poland and Italy, but then you come back to PSV and work towards the first game after a long time. And then you cant motivate yourself?”
Look below at the excerpt from Studio Football of September 13, 2020.
Van der Vaart stood up for the talent of PSV. “He learns from this. I thought I could walk on water when I was 20. Then I was put on the couch once and I thought the whole world was against me.”
There sounded more support. “We are talking about an 18-year-old boy who is just coming to see,” said Ibrahim Afellay at Good Morning Eredivisie at Fox Sports. “I dont talk it right, because I dont know what exactly is going on. But as a football enthusiast, I see such a boy sitting on the couch with pain in the heart. Its by far the best player on PSV.”
Against Heracles Almelo, Ihattaren got another chance in the base. In the rush hour he was replaced after a moderate first half. In the European duel with Rosenborg continuedHes on the couch Thursday. It is clear that PSV trainer Schmidt does not give him a preferred position and will have to comply with the system.
“ Ihattaren plays from stand, its all slow,” said Aad de Mos to Eindhovens Dagblad. “I think it is too heavy whether it is due to nutrition or strength training, I do not know, but he will have to get to work. Hes gonna have to go with Schmidt. Otherwise it will be a tricky story.”
A new post from Ihattaren last Tuesday on Instagram. “Fack those haters”, sounded out of the boxes of his car.
“ Its time someone at PSV took this boy under the arm, with his more than average football talent,” wrote Henk Spaan in Het Parool. He had to expect nothing from manager Mino Raiola in this respect, according to Spaan and not from trainer Schmidt.
That someone is Denzel Dumfries. The PSV captain sees that Ihattaren is sporty in a valley and tries to get him back on top as a kind of mentor. “Im busy with him a lot,” said Dumfries. “He doesnt bring enough at the moment, and I say that especially because I know how well he can play football. He knows himself that he can do better.”
Dumfries repeatedly appealed to Ihattaren during the PSV training camp in Germany at the beginning of August to his sometimes lax attitude. These were the first signs that Ihattaren had to get used to the demands made by Schmidt.
“ These guys are speeding up because they are uninhibited, do what comes to mind,” said Willem van Hanegem in his column in the Algemeen Dagblad. “And if so, come the wise ones who cram them into a straitjacket. At Ihattaren, there is a danger of ruining a top player.”
Look below what Dumfries said about Ihattaren.
“ I have every confidence in Mo, but he has to bring it,” said Dumfries. “I try to support him by being critical to him too.”
Tip for the new coach
Van Hanegem shared an unsolicited tip for the new national coach: “If Frank de Boer wants to start well at Oranje, he gives the guy playing time next month against Mexico. This is a great talent that will have to help you through a difficult stage in his life. Then you dont have to talk about systems or about a kilo more or less.”
The first condition for a debut against Mexico was met in any case. De Boer included the talent in the selection of Oranje. The coach had also been in contact with his colleague at PSV.
Therefore, Schmidt was not surprised that Ihattaren was called up despite his reserve role. “Ihattaren is a great talent with a great future, so for the Netherlands it would be nice if he develops well,” said Schmidt. “I hope this selection helps and motivates him. So that the best phase for Mo will come.”