Joey Veerman: The Eredivisie Player of the Season

Peter Bosz’s tenure at PSV Eindhoven has been seemingly flawless. In his first season back managing in his home nation since 2017, the 60-year-old has led the Rood-witten to the Eredivisie title in some style, with his side amassing the highest points tally (91) in the league’s history. The numbers behind this include 111 goals scored and 21 conceded (the best records in Europe’s top seven leagues), and just one loss in 34 games.



One man Bosz has relied heavily upon is Joey Veerman. The Dutchman has proved to be a vital cog in the season’s success, contributing 21 goal involvements while forming the bedrock of PSV’s midfield. His standout performances have earned high praise, and the midfielder has been touted as the Eredivisie’s Player of the Season by many.



While he has earned deserved domestic plaudits, his appraisal has extended to the international stage, too. National team manager Ronald Koeman has awarded Veerman with a place in the Dutch squad for this summer’s European Championship, and with the fitness of Frenkie de Jong still unclear, he could replicate his club form in one of the continent’s most prestigious football tournaments.


Life under Peter Bosz


After falling short in the Eredivisie for a fifth consecutive season, it was clear that Bosz would have to make wholesale changes on and off the pitch to restore PSV’s position at the summit of the Netherlands.


Ruud van Nistelrooy led the Rood-witten to a respectable second-place finish in the 2022/23 season, but the control being established by Arne Slot’s Feyenoord sent a clear message that the club’s standards would have to be raised to knock them off their perch. Even though they failed to win the league this season, Feyenoord accumulated more points than their title-winning campaign.



Bosz managed to successfully select aspects from van Nistelrooy’s tenure that worked well, and combine them with characteristics to make them a more attractive and efficient side. Under the legendary Dutch striker’s management, PSV were a very direct side, with 96 direct attacks recorded in the Eredivisie and 89 league goals to show for it. However, Bosz was able to push the attacking outlets left at the club to another level, while making them a more dominant side in possession, and a relentless pressing machine out of possession.


Naturally, Veerman has been integral to how well Bosz’s system has functioned. His role, tactically, varies depending on the personnel surrounding him, but he has shown he is capable of playing in a single and double pivot throughout the season. When playing with Ismael Saibari and Malik Tillman, two more naturally advanced midfielders, Veerman acts as the single pivot. He is, however, aided by the likes of Jordan Teze and Sergino Dest, who invert during the first phase of buildup to form a 2–3 shape.



As such, Veerman is allowed to utilise his strengths of receiving with his back to play and on the half turn, whilst being offered both horizontal and vertical passing angles with the midfielders ahead of him to progress play.


The signing of Jerdy Schouten from Bologna in 2023 has also added another dimension to Veerman’s role. The two are often used in a more conventional double pivot, often with one full back tucking in to form a 3–2 shape, and create central overloads to thematically dominate the first phase. With the absence of de Jong in recent international camps, Koeman has, on occasion, used a pivot of Veerman and Schouten, spearheaded by the attacking excellence of Teun Koopmeiners.



However, playing next to Schouten has allowed Veerman to be more than a midfield metronome, and afforded him the freedom to demonstrate his creativity. Of his 21 league goal involvements, 17 came while playing with Schouten. Yes, Veerman is an accomplished holding midfielder, but Schouten provides elite defensive stability, and has his own case for starting at the Euros.


Veerman is able to occupy the often vacated left half-space, with his congruent winger holding width and stretching the opposition — this is an area from which five of his goal contributions came from. While his high number of set-piece assists (eight, to be exact) may be used as an argument against his creativity, his metrics in chances created nullify any such argument. The midfielder created the most chances (130) of any player in Europe’s top seven leagues this season, with 25 of them being big chances.


Not only has he been Europe’s most creative player this season; he has also shown a knack for scoring goals, despite his numbers not reflecting this. Diffused throughout the season, his goals have displayed his shooting ability from range, but also when arriving late into the box. In particular, his goal against former club Heerenveen (which earned him a standing ovation, despite putting PSV 5–0 up), for which he arrived late to the edge of the box and slammed a bouncing ball home.



The systems put in place by Bosz have allowed Veerman to truly shine this season, and he is undoubtedly the deserving candidate for the Eredivisie Player of the Season. With Sofascore valuing the Dutch maestro at £28.1 million, he would be a bargain buy for any elite club looking to bolster their midfield’s creativity, or control during games.


By: Callum Townsend / @callumjt1

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / BSR Agency / Getty Images