Scunthorpe United fans hail him as the ‘Budget Bergkamp’ – but Kevin Van Veen says he needs to prove he’s worth that nickname every week at Motherwell.
Fir Park manager Graham Alexander said the Dutch striker was ‘unplayable’ in Motherwell’s Scottish Premiership opener against Hibs. Van Veen netted a header in the first half of the 3-2 home defeat and turned in an outstanding Man of the Match performance on his league debut.
Alexander worked with Van Veen at Scunthorpe and moved to sign the 30-year-old upon the expiry of his most recent deal at ‘the Iron’ this summer. Fans down south had a nickname for him, inspired by Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp’s excellent technical ability. Van Veen is aiming to shine in claret and amber.
He said: “I would’ve been happy with a win against Hibs and me not scoring. On the other hand it’s good to score and show myself as I did on Sunday, with Man of the Match and a goal. We’ll take positives because we played some good football and deserved a lot more than zero points out of the game.
“I felt as though I had the Hibs centre-backs in my pocket a bit, just playing around with them. I hope I can do that a lot more, that I can cause defenders a lot more trouble. They don’t really know who I am. I was quite happy with the performance but I’d rather have had the win. I’d like to think I’m different to other players, I certainly want to be.
“I don’t want to be the kind of players who just passes it sideways, I want to entertain the fans, get them off their seats from time to time, be creative. I want to be important for my team-mates. Hard work comes first and then hopefully my quality shines through and we get three points”
Van Veen says he must ‘maintain’ the levels he proved he can reach for Motherwell: “You can’t be one of those who is the Budget Bergkamp one week then the next you don’t show up. I have to maintain the level of performance, work hard, stay fit. I’m very positive about being here and about this club. I can’t wait to play every week.”
The striker had options to move abroad instead of signing up at Fir Park last month. He still has ambition to make a name for himself, which is why he’s at Motherwell: “I had a lot of opportunities this summer, a lot in England and in a few tropical places as well. There were clubs in Azerbaijan and Thailand.
“They didn’t really interest me at all – I still want to play in front of big crowds. Sunday’s game was on television and that’s something I want to do. I’m still ambitious and I want people to watch me. If I go somewhere far away nobody is going to be seeing me.
“So when the gaffer rang me, because of the connection we had from before, and because Motherwell is a very good club in the Scottish Premiership, I was very interested. I put the other interest to the side. I trained for a couple of days to see if I liked it and they liked me. Straightaway I liked it and I was happy to get the contract signed.”
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