Scout Report: Terence Kongolo - the Feyenoord academy graduate signed by Huddersfield
The Dutch football fraternity is slowly losing its reputation due to the disappointing performances from the Netherlands national team in recent years. The Oranje have fallen from the upper echelons of international football after failing to qualify for the European Championships in 2016. Their inability to secure a berth in the 2018 World Cup in Russia was just a matter of rubbing salt in their already existing wounds.
The 2014 World Cup campaign under Louis van Gaal in Brazil seems like a distant memory now and the Flying Dutchmen are not exactly flying but sinking at this point of time. Perhaps, this is one reason why the Eredivise is being overlooked in terms of the home-grown players they have continued to produce in that time frame as well as over the years.
Terence Kongolo is the latest piece carved out of the infamous Varkenoord system - Feyenoord's youth academy which was voted as the best breeding ground for youngsters in Netherlands, who aspire to become professional footballers one day, in each of the last five years.
Kongolo is everything you need in a modern defender and will follow the footsteps of a remarkable set of players to come out of the academy including the likes of Robin van Persie, Stefan de Vrij, Jordy Clasie, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Bruno Martins Indi.
Born in Fribourg, Switzerland, Kongolo kickstarted his professional football career after he joined the Feyenoord football academy at the age of 15. The versatile defender quickly earned plaudits for his performances at the youth level and Ronald Koeman handed him a senior debut in 2012.
Ever since making his debut, Kongolo has been ever-present at the back for the club and went on to make more than 100 appearances. The 23-year-old's most notable contribution came during his final season in the Eredivise when he played a crucial role in guiding Feyenoord to a first league title win since the 1998/99 season (under the tutelage of Giovanni van Bronckhorst).
The player then joined Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco in the summer but could not nail down a regular place in the starting lineup, which has now resulted in the latest loan move to the Premier League with newly promoted Huddersfield Town.
Style of play
Kongolo is capable of playing at both left-back and centre-back but his natural position is playing on the left as a full-back. The youngster stands at a commanding 6'2" and is more of a team player than a standout leader. Like any modern day full-back, Kongolo is very attack minded and is not shy of taking on his opponents.
However, his defensive workrate is also very solid for someone who likes to bomb forward every now and then. Kongolo thrives in bringing the ball forward from the back and boasts of excellent close control as well as sheer pace to go with it.
The defender is always looking to make passes and has an impressive pass conversion rate. Kongolo is capable of knitting together incisive short passes and always looks up to try and find an opening.
The most stand-out strengths of his game include pace, athleticism, concentration, passing range, technique, workrate and the will to fight for every single ball. Kongolo works the channels so well throughout the games and his ability to make room for himself in advanced areas of the pitch is certainly impressive.
He reads the game well and is always composed on the ball, hardly showing any lapses in concentration for prolonged periods. Kongolo uses his body well to shield the ball as well as to win tackles and is always eager to win the ball back for his side. The youngster has also impressed with his last ditch tackling and does very well in one-vs-one situations.
For a player who is not shy of sticking his leg out while defending, Kongolo is not very reckless and commits just 1.1 fouls per game on average.
There aren't many glaring weaknesses in his game as of now but Kongolo is hardly a finished product and there is still a lot of room for improvement. Despite possessing the ability to whip in delightful crosses from the left-hand side, Kongolo does not get many assists or goal for his club.
For a player who loves getting forward on every opportunity, he fails to muster significant output in terms of goals or assists, a key area of concern that he should address while progressing over the years.
Video: The best of Kongolo
What does the future hold?
The loan move to Huddersfield is the perfect opportunity for a player like him to make a name for himself at one of the most competitive leagues in the world.
The nature of the game in England will be nothing like he has experienced before and this is surely the make-or-break period of his career.
Kongolo will become a key figure for his club and country in the future and has all the attributes to become a complete modern-day defender who would fit right in the heart of Dutch football.
A number of European clubs were keeping tabs on the youngster and it will be hard for Monaco to keep hold of him if he continues to progress steadily.