The debate on the identity of the best player in Ligue 2 will quickly be over this season. Branco van den Boomen, the Beckham from the banks of the Garonne – or Juninho, it depends – really stepped into the championship with his remote-controlled right foot. Monday evening again, during the match against Niort, the middle of Toulouse cooked a small caviar rolled up without control from the sideline to offer Ado Onaiwu the goal of the break in the last quarter of an hour. Great art.
“Frankly, I envied Onaiwu, says with a smile ex-striker Robert Malm, who commented on the match for the broadcaster beIN Sports. Receiving this kind of ball is a pleasure, nothing but love. He doesn’t even have to look for power, the ball is strong, in the right area, he just has to put his head in opposition to the ball. The trajectory is perfect, a real cake. »
“He puts them where he wants”
Of like that, the Dutchman has delivered a good package this season. Author of 20 assists (L2 record equaled with three games left to play), he delighted his attackers, in particular the Englishman Rhys Healy, top scorer in the championship (20 goals). But not only. His defenders also took advantage of his sniper accuracy from set pieces.
“He puts them where he wants. He has a really magnificent right foot, ”said central Anthony Rouault a few weeks ago, who owes him three of his four goals of the season. Himself author of 12 achievements, including a few free kicks to get you out of your seat (the one against Dunkirk… yum yum), van den Boomen, unearthed in 2020 in Dutch D2 thanks to performance indicators entered into an algorithm, is well the number 1 offensive weapon of this Téfécé which is heading towards the title.
But where does this science of the pass come from? Already, he has completed his training at Ajax Amsterdam (from 16 to 18 years old), which is always a good basis when talking about football. But in fact, he had identified this field of expression before, aware of its qualities and its defects. “I have never been fast, so I had to learn to think quickly, he explained in a great interview granted to SoFoot last month. If I want to perform well on the pitch, I have no other choice. »
In this very instructive interview, the midfielder describes in particular what characterizes according to the perfect pass: “the one that breaks the opposing defensive balance. The best pass is the one that makes the opponent can no longer defend. Simple, said like that. But terribly complicated to achieve. Because you have to already see it, this pass that will break the lines, and then be able to do it correctly. A double competence which ultimately concerns few elected officials.
“There are players who are above the rest, that’s how it is. You can’t improvise as a smuggler, ”said Robert Malm. For the former Lorient and Toulousain, who has observed him well over the past two years, Van den Boomen is part of the gratin:
“He sees before he receives. Then, what he does is technically clean, and above all it’s simple. This is his art, and this is what must be made clear to the youngest. Technique is not doing roulette and going around the world. It’s good control, oriented, it’s mastering the ball and giving it at the right tempo so that your partner is in the best possible situation. »
An assumed variation of what the great thinker Johan Cruyff said. Malm cites Platini among the former, Verratti or Pogba among current players. “These players excel in everything that is simplest to do, he continues. It’s the hardest part! The Parisian and the Mancunian are also good examples in this area. Outstanding passers, they are regularly caught by the collar for having played in three touches of the ball when only one was enough. These two are never as good as when they erase the superfluous.
Branco van den Boomen is not yet evolving at these heights, but he will be able to find himself in a much more competitive environment, next season in Ligue 1. “We can’t wait to see him, projects the consultant beIN Sports. His performance will also be linked to the players with whom he will play. A setter always depends on the movement around him. “We imagine that all the relevant data is already filled in the miracle algorithm of the Toulouse recruiters.