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One to watch: Zakaria Labyad

PSV Eindhoven are known as being one of the super clubs in Dutch football.

They have produced and nurtured quality players from all over the world, seeing them go on to have successful careers in the world game. Arjen Robben, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ji-Sung Park and the Brazilian Ronaldo have all come through the system at PSV.

The players previously mentioned went on to play for top clubs in Europe winning major honours in the process. Teenager Zakaria Labyad looks set to follow suit. The midfielder, of Moroccan decent, joined PSV as a 12-year-old and has come up through the youth system at the Eindhoven club.

There are a lot of similarities between Labyad and former PSV favourite Ibrahim Afellay. Both players started their careers at amateur club Elinkwijk and Afellay, who was club captain up until he left for Barcelona in January, wore the number 20 shirt which is now the squad number of Labyad.

Zakaria Labyad

D.O.B: 9.03.1993 (18)
Nationality: Dutch
Club: PSV (Holland)
Position: Midfielder

Labyad signed a new contract last year before making his full debut for the club. Upon signing, the midfielder said: "I still have a long way to go and will keep working hard to reach my goals."

His first game came in a Europa League game in February 2010. After coming on as a substitute in that game, the 18-year-old was a bit-part player for the remainder of the 2009/10 season. He went on to make six appearances in the league and managed to score two goals.

Last term, Labyad made 13 appearances and scored one goal. It was a season that allowed the young midfielder to show what he was capable of and when given the opportunity, he did impress.

This season, the young Dutchman has been ever present in Fred Rutten's team. He has already played 10 times in the league and cup and looks set to play the most football he has ever played so far in his fledgling career.

All great modern day players can play in more than just one position, Labyad is no different. He is comfortable across the whole of the midfield and is most effective behind the frontman or in an advanced position in a midfield diamond.

Standing at just over five feet tall, he is tricky on the ball and doesn't need a second invitation to take a player on. Yet to make his full debut for the national team, that looks set to change as Labyad continues to make impressive strides at club level.

By Eugene Allen

 



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