Birger Verstraete plays for KV Mechelen for a few days. The midfielder should be able to become an important force at KV.
Those are the expectations in Mechelen regarding the Antwerp mercenary. “He immediately left a very good impression in the first days,” confirms trainer Danny Buijs. “I knew him from the beginning of this season, because of the preparation for the game against Antwerp. Steven Defour already knew him well. Of course he has a resume that speaks for itself. It is not for nothing that you end up with those kinds of teams with that playing time.”
A reference to Verstraete’s passages at Club, Antwerp and Ghent. Will he also turn out to be a leader at KV Mechelen? “That could be. He certainly has the qualities for that. It is a new environment for him, a different club. He may also need time to adapt. You can see that he is fully committed to it.” He will certainly become a very important player for KV Mechelen in the long run.”
Being the boss in midfield
If Verstraete can make his mark and KV win more duels in midfield, then that defensive vulnerability may also be limited. “That can certainly contribute to it. Although it is not the case that we concede so many finished chances that it is logical that we swallow two-three-four goals per match. It is always details that are decisive. can be in midfield, that can help.”
Verstraeten told the club media that Mechelen may have to ‘go back to basics’. Buijs tried to explain what his new player means by that. “Football is a team sport where individuals can make a difference. The transfer window is now over. Now we can work with the same core on our vulnerabilities for a period of time, I think that’s what he means.”
Hoping for an empty infirmary
Now it is also hoped that the infirmary will remain fairly empty. The physical backlogs and injuries meant that KV Mechelen had to work with a different selection almost every week at the start of the season. “If you’re on 12 weeks and a vast majority of the core has missed some of that, it’s almost impossible to grow to your top level.”