Really prescient article on David back in March. His former coaches quoted in the article said they felt he had a chance to be really good but probably didn't anticipate he'd become elite so quickly. Also, wondering if Herdman will considering changing the formation to have David play CAM or false 10 like his current role with Gent.
Canadian on a roller coaster
From Sports / Football magazine of 20/03/2019
03/19/19 at 9:00 PM
Updated at 14:26
The goals that Jonathan David (19) made last year in August now appear to be decisive for KAA Gent, which only got certainty about participating in play-off 1 on the final match day. keeping Roman Bezoes on the couch.
Rewind to the end of April 2017. Then it became known that Jonathan David, attacker at Ottawa Int. SC, after the CONCACAF Cup for the U17 would come to Ghent for a new test period. In 2016, the Canadian youth international also passed through the East Flemish capital once, after he was discovered by Luc Dhaenens , via a tip from a broker. David, who was born in Brooklyn (New York City), but grew up in Haiti and finally moved to Canada when he was six, was offered by Nikos Mavromaras in the middle of that year . The broker showed images of the party against the US to Gunther Schepens, then head of scouting at KAA Ghent. He also screened with interest from VfB Stuttgart. The former international, who now serves as a team manager at the Buffalos, gave his approval for this potential opportunity due to the excellent experiences with Bryan Ruiz and Roberto Rosales
"Only from his eighteenth birthday, that is on January 14 last year, could we offer him a contract," says Dhaenens. As head of social support, he took David in and placed him in Hotel Lepelbed. 'We had already invited him four times for that, to train with us during school holidays and to complete practice duels with our promises. He stayed for more than a month and a half during the summer. His Haitian dad came as an assistant. That certainly promoted integration. "
David was initially placed in the B-team of Bart Van Renterghem . The current coach of Eendracht Aalst was immediately impressed by David's potential. 'I especially remember the big smileand full enthusiasm, "says the physical education degree that is affiliated with the Topsportschool in Ghent. "I quickly saw a purebred horse with a lot of hunger. But there was an obstacle. From three training sessions a week in Canada, often only indoor during the winter, Jonathan came to us with a calm regime of daily practice sessions. In the first week, and that is really exceptional, I already told Luc Dhaenens that we were not allowed to let Jonathan go. He was extraordinary in some areas. In a minority situation, such as 3 to 8, ten balls had to be processed in the sixteen meters. Jonathan immediately scored 3. That high return was striking. An average player, who gives up so to speak from the beginning. With that type of resistance exercise you immediately see the perseverance, the ball treatment and protection of a striker. Really top class level. "
"Mentally it was not always easy to have to test," says the affable David, who was raised in French but also speaks English fluently. "That happened before at RB Salzburg. However, German was constantly spoken there. So I limited myself to watching and following. Sometimes I had to guess what was meant because direct feedback was impossible there. At Ghent, that language barrier did not exist at all. I immediately felt at home here, because a tire was quickly forged. They also consistently followed everything. Luc Dhaenens was constantly in the area to help and advise. The ultimate goal of every Canadian football player will of course continue to build a great professional career in Europe.
Father David, himself a former footballer who apparently is even cooler in terms of thinking and acting than his son, wanted to be sure. He asked for a conversation with Van Renterghem at the youth complex. "It was more than two hours of maintenance," says the coach. 'For example, he wanted to know if there was also psychological support from club work. A necessary condition for him. Fortunately, we could immediately put the name of Eva Maenhout forward. Father and son strived for an optimal professional climate. "
The Davids wanted to avoid twice falling into the same trap. "The reality can be harsh," Jonathan realizes. "That failed attempt in Salzburg and that temporary return to Canada, that was mentally demanding. Certainly because you are young and because of your ambition you are always positive about your chances of success. More than ever, I was determined to seize that opportunity at KAA Ghent. Getting to the first team, that had to and would happen. Bart had me to learn to think along in his football philosophy. Together with Ward Diricks he constantly stimulated me. To reach a higher level and to improve tactically. ' ( laughs )
Van Renterghem laughs at David's words. "I always felt that the boy was having fun," he says. 'Jonathan, that is a lot of drive and a lot of game intelligence. With the promises, he always did exactly what you wanted him to do. Just like back then at Eendracht Aalst with Laurent Depoitre, you quickly notice that he has a surplus. Nothing is too much for him. That is of course fantastic for a coach. "
Van Renterghem rated David's versatility as an incredible asset. Initially the Canadian started as a left front, later he played as the deepest striker or the most advanced pawn in the back of a target man. "We thought that Jonathan had a lot to offer, he recognizes - just like Depoitre - many situations," says his former trainer. 'That is why he was not allowed to stand at the front as a typical' buteur 'and wait for the opportunities. Jonathan is far too valuable for that. As number ten he looked at no effort. His surplus comes through his overview, bouncing, walking ability and opportunism for purpose. With the head Jonathan is slightly less, that remains a point of work. "
In Canada, David always worked with the same coach with the Ottawa youth. "He wanted me to be constantly in the middle of the position games as an attacker," the player says. "Since most people were there, he wanted me to learn how to use and assess the short space. I had to be the flexible factor in all its attacking options. The physical aspect of Belgian football required the greatest adaptation, because the defenders here like to play their duel power. But you will not get me mad. I try to stay sober and think rationally under all circumstances. You can see that from my playing style: I learned to use my body to shield the ball. It could be even better, but I notice an increased efficiency. That is a pleasant finding. "
Van Renterghem shares that view. "Jonathan scores particularly easily," he confirms. "A gift from nature. The most striking thing about David is the tranquility that comes with it. It makes its movements unpredictable. Probably that has to do with his education. His return as a cool killer for purpose will only increase. David already has that sense of finish. In the jargon they call it a ' deliberate play ', can play freely. If you allow that in your training, you will be more likely to join street football. So you can stimulate it, that gift. Not programming too much in advance, but allowing yourself to judge, decide and feel. "
David himself is surprised by the speed with which he took certain stages, even though he was already dealing with the (logical) setback. "I never had the courage to suspect that things would go so smoothly," says the Canadian. "It's a real roller coaster for me."
Despite his young age, the international is especially strict to himself. "I still miss too many opportunities and I have to deal with pressure better," he says. 'I strive for the highest attainable during competitions. Perfectionism does not exist on a soccer field. Everything starts with pleasure, which I used to admire at Ronaldinho, for example . But it is also important that you are good support for your teammates. Vadis is an excellent guide. He sends me and calls if I have to make an individual action or keep the ball in the team. Thanks to my mobility and great walking ability, I can provide added value. "
The lookalike of NBA basketball pro Jimmy Butler , at least according to teammate Brecht Dejaegere , looks a lot at FC Barcelona. "I especially keep a close eye on Lionel Messi , Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé ," continues David. 'And also the cold-bloodedness of attackers such as Sergio Agüero , Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette . How top strikers place themselves for goals in the Bundesliga, combining quickly or ensuring depth, I try to follow it all up. Always interesting study material, huh. You must want to learn. "
Van Renterghem believes that this is a healthy starting point. "Jonathan now has to stay focused. Growing body to increase his duel power. He is also a bit sharper in terms of weight, "he continues. "Jonathan needs to work well on that real perfection. Just like Tsjakvetadze , more are trying to make its mark. I'm curious where his limits are. "
David once grins after this remark, even when we serve him that team mate Birger Verstraete his phenomenal story with " wa ne zot !" summarize. "I am currently very satisfied as a person and a player," concludes the talent. "Because I have faith. And I know the best is yet to come. This is an exceptional dream come true. I play a lot and make important goals. Against KRC Genk in December, dad - who watches or follows every match on the radio and who I call every time I come home - was there at the stadium. We are looking for a suitable moment for play-off 1. Hopefully I can score in his presence. But God will decide on that gift. Every day I pray to be able to realize a beautiful trail.
KAA Gent brought Jonathan David to the Ghelamco Arena for 0 euros according to general manager Michel Louwagie . After three raids as a joker - four goals in 55 minutes - and a hit in the EL against the Polish Jagiellonia Bialystok, his contract was extended to 2022. According to the specialized Transfermarkt website , David would meanwhile have a market value of at least 5 million euros.
So for Vanderhaeghe, David was often a lifesaver. "Because of his technical baggage, because perfectly biped and uncomplicated professional behavior, he was a unique profile for me," says the current KV Kortrijk coach. 'On the field, as a barely eighteen year old, he often made the right decisions, combined with high efficiency for purpose. He shoots the ball in like a routine. During the preparation I had already noticed that he could provide a lot of ball strength, showed more experience and maturity than some other players, and felt the right moments. The only thing I had to take into account was the succession of heavy training sessions and competitions. Jonathan often gave the impression of being a bit heavy or unwieldy, but that turned out to be a wrong estimate. He does everything to be in top shape. He never disappointed me, even though we initially wanted to protect him. Rarely did he skip training. His action radius and walking ability are better than what everyone initially estimated. In the beep test and exercise tests, convincing results emerged. Rest assured: Jonathan can walk well. It was also always perfect mentally and in terms of intelligence. "
The former international got to know a quiet but very self-assured talent, who often had fun with the more extroverted Stallone Limbombe . Someone with their own will, but also a lot of work. His goals in the early months turned out to be gold. "In August, Jonathan was the only one who found the way to the goal a little easier," Vanderhaeghe says. 'I now consider him rather the number one motor of the team, who can make the difference with an action around sixteen meters from the opponent. You have to cherish such a football player as a club. "
As a false nine, according to Vanderhaeghe, David is someone who still has a huge margin of progress. "That he is now in the base at KAA Ghent, he forced himself," judges the former controlling midfielder. 'I'm not surprised. As the deepest striker constantly dueling with the big bears, perhaps a little too much was asked because he prefers to walk between the lines at the right moments and likes to infiltrate. His speed of execution is high and he also lets others play better football. It is therefore not surprising that the interaction with Vadisruns so nice. Two boys who need more from the combination than from the power. Responding in time, moving on, provoking the one-two incentives and a speed acceleration between the lines, sometimes freeing someone up with a single deviation, that distinguishes such profiles. That is why it is also football players that you want to keep an eye on. '
In late August last year Jonathan David by John Herdman called, the English coach of Canada, for the match against the US Virgin Islands in the CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying Round, after previous selections for the U17 and U23. The attacker also achieves an extraordinary average there. Against St. Kitts & Nevis and Dominica his report is on three goals in as many international matches. Canada will play a decisive meeting against French Guiana on March 24 in Vancouver to secure its place for the Gold Cup.
"In Toronto, I once met Tomasz Radzinski with the national team ," says David. "We spoke briefly. It makes little sense to put him forward as the example. I want to go my own way in my own way. I strive for maximum return. ( laughs ) I also want to add a few chapters to the story of the national team. In Ottawa I am not a hero at all, rather a promising talented professional. Of course I would like to become one of the best players in the world and with Canada the strongest team in the CONCACAF zone. But for that I will have to make a lot of efforts. The coming assignment will also be a great challenge to see exactly where I stand in my development process. "