When you think of PSV, you think of their vast association with nourishing stars for the future or giving players the platform to showcase their talent. Recent export of this has been Steven Bergwijn who now plays his trade at Tottenham Hotspurs.
While many fans may have been upset at Bergwijn’s departure, they can take solace in the fact that they have someone who’s got the capability to become one of the most talked-about stars in the Eredivisie.
The young dutchman has forced himself into the first-team picture at PSV recently giving his current coach Faber a headache through his performances in the U23’s and the chances he got in the senior side.
Rest assured there is alot more to come from him so here’s our scouting report on Ihattaren and why we believe that he is well on his way to becoming one of the most talked about youngsters in world football.
Let’s get into it
Mohamed Ihattaren was born to Moroccan immigrants in Utrecht in 2002. Although being brought up in Utrecht, Ihattaren and his family moved to Eindhoven where he was identified by the PSV scouts for his talent. This is where his journey as a footballer began.
He signed for PSV Eindhoven as an 8 year old and hasn’t looked back since. His love for the game itself was there for all to see as he mentioned this to Goal.
“I never really wanted to do anything else; I just wanted to play football”Mohamed Ihattaren to Goal
Ihattaren came under the spotlight at the UEFA European U-17 Championship 2018, where he helped the Netherlands become three time champion and was mentioned in the Team of the Tournament. His performances didn’t go unnoticed as a host of clubs became interested in attaining his services.
But the teenager chose to sign his first professional contract with PSV, rejecting clubs such as Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter among others.
Ihattaren went on to become the youngest player to represent PSV in the Eredivisie at 16 years of age in a 2-1 win against FC Groningen. He hasn’t looked back since and has cemented himself as a first-team regular with the coach at the time, van Bommel, the same manager he won the U19 Dutch Championship with at PSV U19’s.
It’s not just us who are infatuated with the kid’s development, Ruud van Nistelrooy who now coaches the PSV U19’s has nothing but praise for the teenager.
“He joined us from the U17 team in the U19s but he was younger than everyone, so I thought he’s going to need at least a season to develop and get used to things, but he developed like a rocket really.
“He joined the winter break training camp with the first team last season and he just blew everybody away. That’s not normal with a player who is 16 years of age, of course.Ruud van Nistelrooy to Goal on Mohamed Ihattaren
Ihattaren has played 27 games for PSV this season, overtaking the €6 million summer signing Gutiérrez in the pecking order. This shows how much faith the club has in him to develop.
Now we’ll look into how he plays and the areas that he operates in
Style of Play
Ihattaren has played as a central attacking midfielder and on the right half space acting as both a midfielder and a forward depending on the opposition and what the manager requires from him.
You’d normally find the dutchman affecting these positions on the pitch when PSV is attacking the final third of the opposition. With his quick feet and an eye for a pass, the midfielder is able to be an extremely potent option in attack. Let’s take a look into some phases of play.
Ihattaren has a wand of a left foot, and he creates dangerous situations and shots for himself alot of the time. Below is him taking the ball on the edge of the box, creating space for himself and literally passing it into the top corner.
What really impressed us about him was his mature decision making in the final third. Kids his age would rush a shot or a pass to impress but he thinks differently. He uses his dribbling ability to create opportunities for his team mates out of thin air and sets them up really well.
Let’s put this into perspective, this is Tagliafico that Ihattaren skipped pass with ease. Not only that he sits another defender down on the ground to create a fantastic goal scoring chance only for Malen to miss.
His style of play comprises of him using the runs of his team mates on the outside, to drive with the ball towards the penalty box. His inclination to cut inside and look for opportunities to create dangerous situations is what makes him incredibly difficult to deal with at times.
He uses his fullback partner well if he is deployed wide right, using his decoy runs to create space for himself or for him by drawing players towards him. This allows him to get into great shooting situations which he excels at.
This shows his maturity beyond his years and his developing partnership with Denzel Dumfries at RB as well. He had also formed a great understanding with Donyell Malen until the former Arsenal man injured his knee earlier in the season.
We took the liberty of providing you with the following statistical model on his debut season for PSV. The radar reads as follows:
|xG (Expected Goals)||0.7|
|xA (Expected Assists)||0.8|
|SoT (Shots on target)||1.16|
|Gls (Goals-per 90)||0.16|
|Ast (Assists per 90)||0.24|
|GSh (Goals per shot)||0.04|
|GShoT (Goals per shot on target)||0.10|
From these statistics we can draw out the following conclusions; PSV have a wide midfielder with creative nouse, an eye for goals and someone whos creating chances for himself, and for others. He falls into the modern attacking midfielder category.
Him being adept at dribbling out of tight spaces and his ability to take set pieces (he has taken that responsibility fully this season) makes him very difficult to play against.
He’s also a very hard worker, willing to do the dirty work as well if his team needs. In 24 games, Ihattaren has won 0.50 tackles per 90
One of the weaknesses we’ve identified when it comes to Ihattaren is his reliance on his left foot. The midfielder has played 111 crosses this season in the Eredivisie with the majority of them coming from his left foot. He’s attempted around 221 passes with his left foot while only 33 with his right
Over-reliance can make him predictable going forward and may result in him being easily read by defenders if he doesn’t bring more variety into his football.
Although his tackling has been a bright spot with him working hard, we’ve seen him lose his man on a few occasions whenever PSV are on the backfoot. His defensive work tends to come in bursts, and not consistently. He’s fantastic in one game, and lacking in another which is something the young man has acknowledged himself.
“I have to become more efficient and become more consistent when it comes to the defensive side of my game. I can’t let it happen that I track back one time and then slack off the next. I consistently have to play at a high level.”Ihattaren on his defending
We are excited by his immense potential to become one of the best midfielders of his generation. His versatility, drive and determination to be the best makes him stand out from his peers and makes his seniors look at him with admiration.
We have no doubt he’ll be one of the most talked about names in world football. Look out world, Mohamed Ihattaren is coming.