Micky van de Ven on path to becoming the world's most overpowered player

  • Tottenham beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 on Sunday largely thanks to heroics of Micky van de Ven
  • Dutch centre-back swept up with trademark pace and scored outrageous goal at other end
  • Analysis of what makes him so good plus thoughts of teammate James Maddison
Micky is proving to be so fine
Micky is proving to be so fine / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM - The left-footed centre-back is treated like an ultra-rare trading card in the footballing world.

Clubs desperately search far and wide to find one capable of bringing balance and an equilibrium to their backline. Sure, there are plenty of decent right-footed centre-backs out there - just like there are flair midfielders who need a tough-tackling partner in order to be 'unlocked', or right-footed left-wingers who average around six or seven goals a season, or fans in stadiums with obnoxious signs asking for a player's shirt - but potentially elite lefties are tougher to find.

Tottenham struck gold last summer with the signing of Micky van de Ven from Wolfsburg, bringing him in at the end of a month-long saga in which they were also in negotiations for Bayer Leverkusen's Edmond Tapsoba (who is, notably, right-footed).

The need for Spurs to bring in a defender was pretty evident after a 2022/23 season in which they conceded 63 Premier League goals and their marquee centre-back signing the previous summer had been Clement Lenglet on loan.

During his relatively short time in north London so far, Van de Ven has proved an almost perfect signing. In his 20 Premier League games, Tottenham have lost only twice - and one was that ludicrous 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in which he was substituted early on with a hamstring injury.

The full range of Van de Ven's capabilities were on show in Sunday's 3-1 win at home to Nottingham Forest, cementing his status as one of football's only centre-backs to be a headline act for something other than tackling, someone worth the price admission for his utterly freakish abilities.

Van de Ven's recovery pace has been the key to Spurs playing with a high line this season, and here he brought fans to their feet before earning generous applause and cheers for sweeping up when Forest looked to counter. With the scores level at 1-1 in the second half, Van de Ven came up with a thunderbolt to put the hosts back in front, rattling the net's stanchion with such ferocity you'd be desperate to hear it back again and again in ASMR format.

Pedro Porro clinched the win for good with a delectable half-volley soon after, but the evening belonged to Van de Ven, who was serenaded by Tottenham fans and players alike at full-time with a rendition of Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band - a song formerly reserved for former Dutch favourite Rafael van der Vaart.

Van de Ven is an absurdly gifted footballer an athlete. Earlier this season, he clocked the fastest sprint time in the entire Premier League, coming in at 37.38 km/h, a new record since such data started being collected in 2020/21. But he also has the footballing brain to ensure his tackles are timed - he is yet to be at fault for a goal in Tottenham colours nor has he been anywhere near as careless in possession as some of his more erratic colleagues - and is just as confident galloping away with the ball at his feet out from the back.

Speaking to 90min post-match, James Maddison gushed over his 22-year-old teammate, admitting he's been taken by surprise in part because he hadn't heard of him until last summer.

"Micky is a top, top player. He is unique in the fact that he is the quickest thing I've ever seen and he's a good defender and he's good on the ball," he began.

"Shooting is not his forte if you see him in training every day but we'll take them ones that go flying into the top corner! He is a special player.

"To be fair, he is top level and credit to the recruitment team because I had never heard of him before we signed him. The joke is on me really because a player of that calibre I should probably have heard of in Europe.

"A brilliant player, a brilliant trainer, a brilliant lad and a really good guy, which is just as important as the player. Maybe not to the people from the outside but when you are with them day to day, it is just as important and he's very humble.

"I love him to be fair, he's a great lad."