The 2012-2013 season marks the third championship season in a row. It was the year in which Viktor Fischer definitely broke through, and Daley Blind was voted Ajax Player of the Year. In the shadow of the 32nd national title, there are several players who had a harder time this year. We feature these players this week in three articles. In this edition: Davy Klaassen.
His contribution to the national title was limited to 27 minutes of play this season. Two substitutions against AZ and NAC Breda are the only concrete evidence that Klaassen was actually a part of the 2012-2013 championship team. On August 25, he played his last official match for Ajax 1. And the next one will undoubtedly not be until next season. “I’ve never gone for this long without playing before. It was tough in the beginning, but in the end, you flip a switch. Fortunately, the end is now in sight”, says Klaassen.
A lingering groin injury held Ajax’s 20 year old midfielder on the sidelines for practically the entire season. After a season full of promise (a debut in Ajax 1 and playing time in the Champions League), a year full of challenges followed. After playing his last match for Ajax 1 on August 25, a performance with Jong Ajax followed two days later. “That’s when my groin muscle really started to bother me. Fortunately I was able to train again two weeks later. That’s when the real pain started. After a mini-scan, the specialist said that recovery would probably take a long time. When it was almost healed in January, a new setback occurred. That was the sign that my injury hadn’t fully healed yet.”
After a short holiday, Klaassen resumed his rehabilitation in February. In agreement with the technical and medical staffs, the blond midfielder had already set his sights on the new season. Klaassen has also travelled to Spain on a few Fridays in the past months for extra treatments. In a clinic run by a former FC Barcelona club doctor, he worked on his recovery. Moreover, in the Netherlands, he was seen by physio therapists Frank van Deursen and Pim van Dord on an almost daily basis. “It was sort of a 9 to 5 job”, says Klaassen with a smile. “Physically, I’m going to come out of it stronger. And mentally too. That’s one certain thing. Before this, I wasn’t always able to tell if I was able to continue playing with certain injuries. Now I’m better at feeling that. Hopefully I’ll reap the benefits from that in the future.”
In contrast to Klaassen’s relegation to the side lines came the rise of Viktor Fischer, from the same generation. Both players know each other from their time together at A1. Klaassen followed the development of this team mate closely from the side lines. “He had some difficulties at the start of the season, but he came back strongly after that. That’s when I saw him doing the things that he used to do in A1. That’s when I knew that things were going well.”
Klaassen also took advantage of the opportunity to watch a match from the visitors’ stands. During the AZ – Ajax competition match, he mingled with the Ajax fans in Alkmaar. It was an example that would be followed, as Ricardo van Rhijn also blended with the fans when he was forced to miss the away match against NAC because of a suspension. “It was a special experience. I enjoyed it very much”, says Klaassen, who hopes to be among the starting players next season. “I’m hoping to close this phase soon. I’m looking forward to playing games again soon.”