Patience is not something that is very common in football nowadays and that often leads to people having these illogical standards that are impossible to reach or let alone maintain. This is something that was quite common with Barcelona’s big time signing of the previous season, Dutch starlet Frenkie de Jong, who had a hard time adapting to the league and to the team, but now he is finally having the influence and performances that people expected.
It hasn’t been an easy season for Barcelona for many different reasons, both on and off the pitch, and ahead of the clash against Paris Saint Germain in the coming weeks, it doesn’t look very optimistic. But if there is a big bright spot so far this season is the rise of midfield talent Frenkie de Jong.
The Dutchman arrived last season as a big signing and there were logical expectations of him becoming a key element in the Barcelona team, and while he did play a lot, he tended to struggle, not only because of the natural process of adapting to a new environment, but also because he usually paired up in a double pivot with Sergio Busquets, which was a really big problem for all parties involved.
This season, though, while de Jong has had to play in a pivot from time to time, by and large he has improved in a massive manner, often providing the kind of quality, vision, passing and positional awareness that made him such a coveted player in his Ajax years. He has looked like one of the most consistent performers in this Barcelona side and that is something the Catalan club really needed in such dire circumstances.
An even more impressive accomplishment is the fact that is already his best season in terms of goalscoring production, having 6 goals in 31 games. This is particularly impressive when you consider his role as a defensive-minded midfielder and the fact he is still a young player developing in a new country in an uneven team.
This is yet another reminder to people that have this tendency in modern football about writing off young players the second they don’t hit the ground running. Football is not linear: every player has his own way to reach his potential and sometimes a bit of patience is required in order to get the most out of them. Not everything has to be done now and that is a great example when you consider de Jong’s impressive performances this season.
The former Ajax midfielder has everything at his disposal to be the best in the world in his position and it is going to be very exciting to watch him reach his full potential.