Joey van den Berg
Date of birth
Van den Berg is a Dutch-born midfielder who is a strong presence in the centre of the park and is known for his never-say-die attitude and wholeheartedness towards the game.
Born in a place called Nijeveen in Holland, his playing career began just 20 miles away from his hometown with Heerenveen. He graduated from the Friesian side’s youth set-up and debuted as a teenager.
Having opted for a move to FC Omniworld in 2005, in the years that followed he went on to represent Meppeler Sort Club, Go Ahead Eagles and MVV Alcides, all before joining PEC Zwolle in time for the 2010/11 campaign.
In his first season at Zwolle, Van den Berg narrowly missed out on promotion to the Dutch top flight, but the combative midfielder chipped in with seven goals the following season as the club steamrollered its way to the league title, securing a place in the Eredivisie for 2012/13.
Impressive performances in the top flight led to a transfer back to his former side Heerenveen, where in a second stint, Van den Berg took his tally of appearances up to 111 – including a fifth-placed finish in 2013/14.
The 30-year-old then departed Eredivisie club SC Heerenveen on a free transfer in the summer of 2016, joining the Royals on a two-year contract at Madejski stadium for the start of the 2016/17 Championship season.
He began and ended the new season at centre-back, helping the Royals to a 1-0 home win over Preston on the first day of the campaign and then earning a clean sheet for Jaap Stam's side at Wembley in the Play-Off Final against Huddersfield Town on the final day of a long season.
His first goal for the club came against Plymouth Argyle in the EFL Cup win over the Pilgrims - and he went on to make 27(+8) appearances in defence and midfield across the campaign.