Exclusive Interview: Danny Hoesen On Learning From Bergkamp & Moving To San Jose

Exclusive Interview: Danny Hoesen On Learning From Bergkamp & Moving To San Jose

James Rowe spoke to San Jose Earthquakes striker Danny Hoesen about his experiences playing for Ajax & FC Groningen in the Netherlands, signing for Fulham FC at at very young age, and adjusting to life in MLS in the United States.

You signed for San Jose Earthquakes in 2018. Are you enjoying your time at the club and in the United States? And Is MLS different to the European leagues that you have played in?

Yes I am really enjoying myself here at San Jose Earthquakes. It’s like one big family here where everybody tries to help one another.

The organization behind the scenes is also really good. MLS is a completely different league to those in Europe, and the league is still growing.

More and more players and managers from different countries are coming to the United States, which will help the level of the league to improve in the future.


You played 2 seasons for Ajax between 2012 and 2014, how do you look back on your time at the club?

I had a fantastic time at Ajax. It was a dream to play for the club.

I was lucky to play with some big names and some great players. The previous season, before I joined Ajax, I was playing for Fortuna Sittard in the first division so it was a big step up for me and I had to learn a lot in the beginning but I enjoyed every second of my time there.

My highlights were winning two Eredivisie titles and scoring the winning goal in the Champions League against FC Barcelona in Amsterdam which was fantastic.


You also spent three seasons at Fulham FC at a very young age. How do you look back on your time in England?

I felt that I was really unlucky at Fulham in terms of events during my time at the club.

In my first year I trained regularly with the first team and the following summer HJK, from Finland, wanted to take me on loan.

The then manager, Roy Hodgson, suggested that I go to build up game time and play regular matches.

I sustained a hip injury shortly afterwards which meant I was out for a year.

When I returned to Fulham Mark Hughes was the manager and I extended my contract, but he left that summer.

After that Martin Jol arrived at the club, I had not played for a year due to injury and I wanted to play again.

I instructed my agent that I wanted to return to the Netherlands on loan at Fortuna Sittard.

I got on well with Roy Hodgson during my time at Fulham. He has a lot of experience and gave me advice when I trained with the first team. He likes his players to work hard in training and on the pitch.


You also spent 3 seasons at FC Groningen between 2014 and 2017. How do you look back on your time at the club?

In the summer of 2014 I had to make a decision on my future.

I spoke to then Ajax manager Frank De Boer and he told me that I did not have to leave Ajax, and that I would remain part of the first team squad. But at my age it is important to play regular matches.

I appreciated his honesty, and I decided to sign for FC Groningen. When I arrived at the club I was injured so therefore I missed pre season, and at a new club you want to show your worth straight away.

I tried to adapt my style to my new team where I felt that I was not myself at times. When I think back to my time at Groningen, I think that both me and the club had expected it to be more of a success, me in terms of the adventure, and the club in terms of my performance.

But sometimes that happens in football and it does not click between a player and their new club, and no matter how painful that is you must try to move on in your career.


You have accrued a lot of experience in the Netherlands and Europe playing Champions League football. Could you say who is the best player that you have ever played with?

For me the best player I ever played with was Christian Eriksen at Ajax.

He has such a good technique and so much skill. He is also very quick and two footed.

What always impressed me about him was that even if he had made two or three bad passes in a match, he still wanted the ball and wanted to help the team, and I always felt that was a massive plus to his game.


Who is the most difficult opponent that you have faced so far in your career?

In the Champions League you face many difficult opponents, in particular, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, and Marcelo were the best players I have faced when Ajax played Real Madrid.

They just have another level, and they are all so intelligent and so experienced. They knew exactly what they had to do in matches and as a striker you notice that.


Finally we spoke about managers during this interview. Who is the manager that has helped you the most in your career?

I learned the most in my career from Dennis Bergkamp at Ajax, in terms of finishing and the tips that he gave me.

Bergkamp achieved so much in his career and has such a great reputation that you directly listen to what he has to say, and his advice helped me a lot.

Sometimes he would join in training and you could still see the quality that he has which was something to admire.

*featured image: San Jose Earthquakes / Hero Images