Date:Thursday September 28 2006
"Fans have still not seen the best of me yet - they've not seen the half of it," just some of the words spoken by Andre Ooijer, who is starting to find his feet with Blackburn Rovers.
After a... I'll say difficult start to life at Ewood Park, Dutch International Andre Ooijer is ready to prove to the fans just how good he is, and that he is indeed worth a place in the side, ultimately being the man to form one half of a defensive double in the heart of the Rovers defence with Ryan Nelsen when fit again.
The vast majority of Vital Blackburn fans already think that Ooijer has what it takes, and following his recent performances, in particular against Middlesbrough last Saturday, Ooijer says he is ready to put his "rough start" behind him:
"After playing in the World Cup I didn't have a pre-season, and when the season started we had international matches, so it was difficult for me when I first arrived.
"But now I'm settling in. I've moved into my house, my family are here, so it is getting easier.
"The people know me at the club and I feel I'm growing every week. Every day things are improving."
He 32-year-old Dutch International, having amounted more than twenty caps since his debut against Brazil in 1999, selected in squads under four different national team managers arrived at Ewood for Ł2.1 million in August from PSV Eindhoven, whom he`d been with since 1997, following spells with FC Volendam and Roda JC having started out as a junior with Ajax twenty-years ago!
After being the culprit for most of the goals conceded by the club in his opening four games Mark Hughes and fans alike have praised his recent upturn in performances, and although the early criticism hurt him these performances and levels of praise will now only help him:
"Of course, the criticism didn't help, and I was hurt by it. But you know when you don't play well you are going to be criticised.
"It wasn't a problem because I always knew people had not seen the best of me. But the confidence has grown and against Middlesbrough I found my level.
"But even now the fans have still not seen the best of me yet - they've not seen the half of it, which is why I'm confident there is more to come as things improve every day."
So it is not just Chris (Nonda) who is talking a good talk, Ooijer is doing likewise and I have no doubt they'll both back up what they say.
Ooijer's comments in particular feel me with optimism, as it is surprising just how much confidence can improve a performance, and with the self-belief he obviously has after what he says things look promising for his future with Rovers.
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Date:Thursday September 28 2006
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