If there’s someone who is happy with the end of the practice season, it’s Theo Janssen. During his career, the midfielder, who celebrated his 30th birthday last Wednesday, has never made a secret that he’s no fan of practice matches. Janssen is eager to start doing the real work: starting with meeting his old club FC Twente on Saturday.
“I need matches with a great atmosphere and a good field, and I can’t wait for the match against FC Twente on Sunday” , the brand new Ajax player looks forward to the duel for the Johan Cruijff Plate. “Especially since there’s something at stake. Although I have to add that the Johan Cruijff Plate is the least important prize of the three. But if there’s something to win, you have to go for it. It’s stupid to leave those opportunities on the table.”
As the two Supercup matches approach, Janssen’s form gets better and better. “We’re getting closer and closer to the competition, so you’ll need to show what you can do more and more” , says the Arnhem native. That he’s crossing swords with his former club so quickly doesn’t bother the international that much. “People around me find it stranger than I do. It will be nice to see familiar faces again” , says the international, referring to, among others, Wout Brama, Sander Boschker and Peter Wisgerhof with whom he still keeps in touch.
Janssen continues: “I found it stranger to play against Vitesse, where I was for fourteen years, with Twente. Especially since I played so long with Vitesse and had a great relationship with everyone. I had good relationships at Twente also, with the supporters and everything around it, but less than with Vitesse. It will be special on Saturday, but I won’t be having chats on the field.”
Janssen is also positive about his current employer. “I’ve found my place in the group. It’s a good group anyway, open for new guys. Everyone gets welcomed.” Janssen didn’t come into a completely new environment a month ago, when he made his debut. As a rookie with Vitesse, he played with Michel Kreek and Orlando Trustfull, who are now managing Ajax’s C1 and B1 teams. “I also know the guys from the Dutch national team. If you play thirteen, fourteen years of professional football, you’ll always meet up with the same guys. You’ll click with some better than with others on the field. But if you get to know each other, it normally works out.” Janssen is also pleased with Ajax, sports wise. “Almost all of the injured guys are back, so we’re looking good. So we’re ready.”