Brian Broby (20) is preparing with the Dutch Juniors for two crucial matches in the European Championship, against Bulgaria on Friday evening at 6.45 pm and on Tuesday against Switzerland. The strong Ajax striker aspires to a final tournament. The role of the Joker under the leadership of national coach Louis van Gaal? “I can, if I do my best.”
In the courtyard of the Old London Hotel, tucked between Zeister woods, Brian Brobbey moves from one chair to another on Thursdays. A teammate regularly hangs around his neck and his roar of laughter rises above all interviews. Mitchell Packer, who joined Ajax’s youth academy in 2010 at the same time as Probie, can’t get enough of the dolls. “I love being here,” says Brobby. “It’s nice to see all the guys again. There are important games coming up. Especially Tuesday against Switzerland.”
Proby missed the second part of the European Junior Championships in Hungary last year. “I would like to be there now. But if I do my best and the first team comes, of course I want to be there too.” National coach Louis van Gaal previously bombed the youngster at “Joker” during the final tournaments. Joker? An open-minded striker who has the ability to score to help the Orange team hit a dead point when necessary, as Memphis Depay did in 2014.
If you are now looking for Jong Oranje, you will find quite a few candidates. Maybe Joshua Zirkzee. But Probie might be closer to that profile. He has shown himself as a versatile striker in recent seasons. One that can work well as a cue point due to its power, but is also fast enough to launch into the depths.
Fortuna Sittard, Willem II and AS Roma also found out this past season. Infuriated many Ajax players, Proby moved for free to Leipzig. Once back as a temporary replacement for Haller, the African Cup player, he was instantly decisive against FC Utrecht and PSV Eindhoven. After his rehabilitation, he did not score, but was always close to goal against Campore, Benfica and Feyenoord.
Something for you, this Joker role?
“I’m just doing my best. I know it’s possible. Come to Orange.”
You have already started on your own. Does this mean you take the Dutch national team into account?
“It’s not necessarily a goal. More than a dream. Everyone wants it, you know. And hard work is often rewarded. I’m going to keep doing it anyway.”
It is also part of your role in Ajax. Or do you expect to be a key player this season?
“I had a very good conversation with the coach recently. He was very satisfied with my work ethic, my goals against Utrecht and PSV, and he told me to continue like this.”
What does it need to improve?
“A cup, man. We had to take advantage of that opportunity against Kambur. And against Feyenoord of course.”
How difficult is seven-week rehabilitation?
“You want to play football. Watching matches is not fun. The hardest part was the first leg against Benfica. There was too much space in the second half.”
I’ve already done three raids.
“That’s right, it’s delicious. Especially winning over Feyenoord at the Johan Cruyff Arena was a great experience.”
You keep your two-point lead over PSV Eindhoven. Is this enough?
“It’s exciting, but I think we’ll be champions if we keep our focus.”
So now squeaks and squeaks and Ajax no longer wins so easily?
This is what people and the media see. They don’t know how we feel. We let them talk and do what we have. We have great confidence in each other.”
Did your last months start as an Ajax player?
“I don’t know, mate. I haven’t contacted Leipzig yet about it. I often talk to the coach. He basically wants to know how I do, also because of the injury.”
what do you want?
“I don’t know. I will sit down with my agent soon and then we will see what we do.”
You know what you want, right?
“No, again: we’ll sit down soon and make a good plan. So wait and see.
Are you interested in staying at Ajax?
“That’s definitely an option. Do they want to keep me?” he laughs: “I don’t know either.”
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