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Jaap delighted to sign ‘winner’ Joey

29 June 2016

Royals boss discusses new signing Joey van den Berg and what he can bring to the team

Royals boss Jaap Stam had a glittering playing career - and he knows a winner when he sees one.

And it is for that reason he made Joey van den Berg his first signing of the summer when he put pen to paper at Madejski Stadium on Tuesday evening.

“Joey is a winner and he’s got the mentality to do so,” said the gaffer.

“He is a left footed player, he’s got the physique to play in the Championship, he’s got the technical capability to bring something extra to the team.  He’s very active with his own teammates on the pitch and he can be aggressive towards the opponents as well, and that’s what we need.

“A lot of people hold the opinion that players in Holland are technically skilled, but their physique is not too good. But Joey is one of the few players who can do well in the Championship."

Stam can count the likes of Dino Baggio, Gennaro Gattuso and Roy Keane amongst the midfield generals that he played alongside in an illustrious career.  And he hopes that Van den Berg can add that kind of grit and quality to the Reading midfield.

“In a certain way you could compare Joey to Roy Keane," continued Jaap.  "He plays simple football; he can do nice things on the pitch, but he knows what to do at the right time.

"He’s aggressive to his own players, he can score goals, his passing is good, he’s good at reading the game as well - those are the kind of players you need in the squad.

“We’ve got a lot of quality players in the squad and midfield already but he’s the type of person that we can use very well at the club."

It will be Joey's first foray into English football - his path to Reading has certainly been less than conventional.

After leaving Heerenveen as a teenager, the midfielder played at an amateur level for a few years - before reigniting his professional career alongside Jaap at PEC Zwolle, and then eventually moving back to Dutch top-tier club Heerenveen.  Joey left the Friesian club this summer and will be taking on a new challenge here in Berkshire.

“Joey has been playing for a quite a while in Holland and I think he’s experienced the league over there," said Stam.  "For certain players you need to have a new challenge. I think for him, this league and this club are a very good match.”

“Joey has had an interesting time in his playing career; he went back to the amateur leagues for a while. But at the time when I was at PEC Zwolle we needed a player like him - all the teams need a player like that. We asked him to join in with training and we could already see he was one of the best players in the squad.  So the year after we signed him and reignited his career as a professional footballer - and now he’s over here with us at Reading.”

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