Player Profile – Balazs Dzsudzsak

In what will hopefully be a long running series on 6pointer, Player Profiles intends to highlight some of Europe’s most promising talents, right across from the Faroe Islands to Russia. Freddie Shires looks at PSV and Hungary’s best product for several years, Balazs Dzsudzak.

Since the days of Puskas’ Mighty Magyars, who dominated the international football scene during the early 1950s, I doubt many would contest the argument that Hungarian football has undoubtedly failed to live up to the enormously high standards that this legendary “Golden Team “created. 1986 was the last time we were graced with Hungary’s presence at the World Cup finals, and it has largely been a downward spiral ever since.

Dzsudzsak holds the ball from another hot prospect Adam Johnson, could we see him in the Premier League soon?

Consistently poor performances throughout qualifying tournaments and a constant string of managerial changes have done nothing for the stability of the side and even some promising displays during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers against the likes of Denmark, Sweden, and Portugal, could not save Dutchman Erwin Koeman’s job. Premier League fans will be aware of the likes of Zoltan Gera and Gabor Kiraly, but it is fair to say that this once great footballing nation has failed to come even close to producing a single player capable of establishing themselves as a household name amongst fans of the global game in many a year.

This all could be about to change however with the emergence of PSV winger, Balazs Dzsudzsak. His name may be a bit of a mouthful, but one can guarantee it will not be long before everyone is attempting to master its tricky pronunciation, as Dzsudzsak is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting players in the Eredivisie and attracting interest from a number bigger clubs across Europe.

Beginning his career at local club side Debrecen, Dzsudzsak made his first team debut in 2005, at the age of 18, after spending the previous season out on loan at lower league side Letavertes, and quickly became a vital part of a team which would go on to win three straight Hungarian league titles from 2005 to 2007. A stellar season in 2006/2007, which saw him score 7 goals in 23 games, did not go unnoticed, as Dzsudzsak was voted the Hungarian League player of the year and made his senior debut for the national team.

Beginning the 2007/2008 season in similar fashion with a further 5 goals in 13 games, convinced then Dutch league champions PSV to snap up the promising Hungarian prodigy for an undisclosed fee in October 2007, and, after a slow start, Dzsudzsak soon repaid the faith shown in him by the club’s hierarchy. 2008 saw Dzsudzsak burst onto the scene, becoming a regular in the PSV side out on the left wing, exciting crowds with his raw pace, precise dribbling, tenacious attitude, and consistently accurate free kicks and long range shots, which continue to embarrass goalkeepers throughout the league.

Over the calendar year of 2009, Dzsudzsak finished behind only Luis Suarez in league goals, with an impressive 17 from midfield, and created the most assists in the entire Eredivisie, with 15 in 32 games, winning numerous league and club awards and becoming arguably the most indispensible player in a somewhat underachieving PSV side, fuelling speculation that a move to another top European side could soon be on the cards.

Observing him on the ball, one can immediately see Dzsudzsak plays with a perfect blend of supreme technique and pace, reminiscent of a player in the mould of David Ginola or younger Ryan Giggs, terrorizing fullbacks with his ability to glide past them with ease or deliver a killer ball into the box from out on either wing. He too has shown the talent to play the role of a genuine playmaker, capable of shifting inside to a more central role, effectively as a no. 10, where his accurate passing game can cut through the tightest of defences and create numerous goal scoring opportunities for his side’s strikers.

Comfortable using both feet, the Hungarian’s greatest assets however remain his ability from set pieces and powerful shooting from outside the area, both strengths which have hugely contributed to his goal tally and make him a genuine danger to opposition defenders whenever he receives the ball near the box.


Dzsudzsak recieves a red card from Mike Dean in last season's Europa League for a push on the official. (Getty Images)


Possessing a resolute attitude to the game, his gritty determination to win the ball and dogged playing style is comparable to another player who once stared in the Dutch top flight, Liverpool’s high energy striker-cum-winger Dirk Kuyt, though it too has unsurprisingly landed him in trouble with officials on more than one occasion. He has been well known during his two and a half seasons in Holland to become overly frustrated and loose his cool at times when the rub of the green is going against him and will need to learn to curb his aggression should he wish to progress and grow as a player in the near future.

Ultimately though, there is no questioning Dzsudzsak’s commitment and love for the game, which has endeared him to PSV fans and make them dread the inevitable day when he does eventually move on to pastures new. The likes of Arsenal, Juventus, and even Real Madrid were all reportedly interested in his services this summer and it will surely not be long before we see the 23 year old Hungarian winger plying his trade for a major club in England, Italy, or Spain.

As the old saying goes, one player certainly does not make a team, and as such Dzsudzsak’s emergence has not yet translated into a turnaround in fortunes for the national team, though if the country continues to produce players of his calibre, the return of Hungary to the World stage may not be too far around the corner.

Follow Freddie on Twitter @fshires for informative views on football, cycling and American football.

World Cup Preview – Clockwork Oranje

When every World Cup comes around, everyone places an outside bet on Holland. Based on their qualifying campaign, it seems a very safe bet. Their football is certainly entertaining and at times, dazzling for the spectator. But when it comes to tournaments, the Dutch will often begin with performances full of flair and vigour, but then collapse in the late stages. So can this crop of flying Dutchmen eradicate the memories of old?

For so many years, Holland have been the nearly men of international football. In the 1970’s, they were the creators of Total Football and had the maestro, Johan Cruyff as the master of that system. The 1980’s saw other great players emerge. Rijkaard, Gullit, Van Basten. All superb footballers who had an hand in Holland’s only tournament victory, Euro 1988.

The 1990’s saw Dutch club football reach its heights, with the Ajax youth system reaping dividends. Bergkamp, the De Boer brothers, Kluivert, Davids, Overmars. I could go on. But they didn’t win anything internationally either.

The point is Holland produces some of the best footballers of their respective generations. But they’ve never won the big one. The question is why?

This decade has seen the Dutch decline set in, after failing to make the World Cup in 2002 (under arguably their most successful manager Louis Van Gaal). They were arguably the most fluid side at Euro 2008, dismantling World champs and runner-ups Italy and France. These goals show the pure tactical class of the Dutch passing system and also their ability to counter attack like no other side.

But once again, Holland fell short after they were undone by their former manager and national team specialist, Guus Hiddink.

This time round, Holland possess arguably the most dynamic frontline out the European teams. Wesley Sneijder has had a sensational season at newly crowned Champions League winners Inter Milan, and was in my opinion, the best footballer in Europe this year. He was the creative engine behind that side and similarly here, he will look to link up with Robin Van Persie. Van Persie, by his own admission has had a injury-plagued season, but there’s no denying what he brings to the side: a accomplished striker. If he reaches peak fitness in time, then he can be deadly.

The wings in the adapted 4-2-3-1 formation will often blaze forward in an aid to help Van Persie. Arjen Robben, like Wesley Sneijder, has excelled after leaving Real Madrid, scoring some outrageous solo efforts. His form could well be key to Dutch success in South Africa but if reports are to be believed, he’s suffered a hamstring tear. On the right should be Rafael Van Der Vaart, who chose to stay in Madrid. He offers may options as well, and could also cut inside with devastating effect.

Oranje is the colour for these passionate fans

Bert van Marwijk has balanced his side well. The glamour up front is well supported by bruising determinism and experience behind. Mark Van Bommel and Nigel De Jong will likely be the holding midfielders, each bringing different aspects. De Jong has proved at Manchester City that he’s a superb no-nonsense tackler, which City really needed. Van Bommel is an enforcer but also a great passer as well. Tackling isn’t exactly his strongest attribute and he has  a short fuse.

The subs bench also looks good as well. Ibrahim Affelay has been a revelation for PSV, and will be a useful impact sub when called upon. Dirk Kuyt’s work ethic is often underrated and he would also easily slot into Van Marwijk’s system.

Holland’s defence however worries me. Some players are way past their prime, particularly captain Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, a superb servant over the years, but I doubt he could cope with particularly fast wingers at left back. Andre Ooijer also falls into this category, and both him and Gio are 35. They both provide vital experience and composure to the defence, but speed is lacking at the back. This could see Johnny Heitinga partnering Joris Mathijsen in the heart of defence.

If the Netherlands had a world-class centre back, like so many other nations, then they would be classed as one of the favourites. Brazil have Lucio, England have John Terry (on his day can superb, just not this season) and Spain have Gerard Pique. All 3 are great centre-backs, although I’ll gladly except one has been haphazard at times this year.

Holland need a defensive rock similar to Jaap Stam, a player who would cast fear into opponents. They don’t have that.

The goalkeeper situation is worse however. Since Edwin Van Der Sar retired from international football, Holland have struggled to find a replacement. Maaten Stekelenburg lacks the leadership qualities of predecessor and he often looks shaky at times. This could prove to be disasterous, but he’s the best option viable to Van Marwijk.

If Holland’s defence perform as well as they did in a easy qualifying group, then there won’t be a problem. Unfortunately, for them as they well know, this stage is much tougher. Injuries will be a factor as well, the side is ridden with players prone to injuries.

So, is the future bright for Holland? Certainly, but they’ll need a lot more luck on and off the field, if they are to make the final in Johannesburg on July 11th.