Monday 5 December 2016

Berghuis putting friendship aside

Published 22/08/2015 | 22:38

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Latest soccer news

Watford winger Steven Berghuis takes on Ronald Koeman's Southampton on Sunday in the knowledge he can extend the miserable start to the season of a family friend.

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After missing Southampton's 2-2 draw at Newcastle having ruptured his Achilles, Koeman returned to oversee his injury-stricken team's 3-0 home defeat by Everton and a disappointing 1-1 Europa League draw with FC Midtjylland.

Berghuis, a £4.6million summer signing from AZ Alkmaar, has previously encountered Koeman's teams in the Eredivisie and admires him as both a player and manager. Frank, his father, who will soon join him as a coach at Watford, played alongside him for the Holland national team.

"My dad played against him, played with him also, and I played a couple of times in Holland against his teams," said Berghuis.

"Everybody in Holland knows Ronald Koeman. Yeah [I liked him growing up] but he was also before my time, I was too young. It will be nice [facing him Sunday], the team he coaches is a good team. A little bit of Dutch influence, play the ball, keep the ball on the ground, have some creative players.

"[My dad played for Holland in 1989] against Brazil. Not bad, right? I think the score was 1-0 Brazil. Ronald Koeman played in that game as well. I think [my father] was up against a fast defender who was attacking a lot. He just enjoyed it though."

Similarly to the Koemans - Ronald's assistant at Southampton is his brother Erwin - Steven Berghuis' younger brother Tristan is also a professional with Zwolle in Holland.

The history between those involved in Sunday's Barclays Premier League fixture also extends to Watford's manager. Quique Sanchez Flores, who was succeeded at Valencia by Ronald Koeman, played against him for Real Madrid when the Dutchman was with Barcelona.

"My father was a footballer, so I started playing when I was five years old," Berghuis explained. "I was playing at amateur level until I was 17 and it was then I made the step up to be a professional.

"[My father] let me play freely. He always supported me but wasn't a critical coaching father. We talk about football but not like that, he is helping me, not mentioning Ronald Koeman.

"Tristan is more of a midfielder but in the future I think he can play on the wing. He is still developing and hopefully he can make his debut for Zwolle.

"He was really good. He was one of the biggest talents in Holland. He had a tough time at PSV and Vitesse which is why he decided to join Zwolle, he has taken a step back in order to take a bigger step forward.

"[The history between Koeman and Sanchez Flores has] not been mentioned here [at Watford].

"I think I'm ready to start a game [against Southampton, after illness] but I don't know how long I could play. Now I work hard to get in shape."

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