- Netherlands forward Naci Unuvar introduces his team-mates
- Who is the team jester, DJ and leader?
- The European champions kick off their U-17 World Cup campaign against Japan on 27 October
When it comes to team spirit and togetherness, "you have to be 11 friends", as the saying goes. Success is only possible if you work together as a team, and at tournaments it is particularly important for players to understand each other and form a unit.
A great coach once said that "it’s what you do on the pitch that matters", but getting on well off the pitch is just as crucial. With this in mind, FIFA.com sat down with Naci Unuvar at the Netherlands’ team hotel in Vitoria for an interview with a difference. The forward from Ajax’s youth ranks is looking forward to the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™, which kicks off tomorrow.
While waiting for the action to start, he took a moment to give us a slightly closer and more entertaining look at the reigning European champions.
FIFA.com: 🤣 Who is the team jester?
Naci Unuvar: Without a doubt, it’s Melayro Bogarde. I crack up at everything he does! You can’t take him seriously. He doesn’t really tell many jokes, but the way he acts always makes me laugh. Of course, he’s also a great footballer and played a big part in our European Championship win.
🎶 The DJ on the team bus and in the dressing room?
That’s our two defenders Ki-Jana Hoever and Anass Salah-Eddine. Anass loves playing Dutch music, while Ki-Jana’s more into English tunes.
🎤 The best singer?
Ki-Jana! As well as picking the music, he often sings along too. Nobody can match him on that front.
🎮 The best FIFA player?
Kenneth Taylor! He practices the most and often goes up against professional FIFA players. I’m one of the best in the squad, but Kenneth is even better.
💪 The team warrior?
Ian Maatsen: He always gives everything, always more than 100 per cent, and throws himself into every tackle. Every team that wants to achieve something needs a player like that.
🛡️ The best in the air?
Ki-Jana: It’s almost impossible to beat him to a header. It’s no surprise given that he plays in defence.
⏩ The fastest?
Brian Brobbey normally, but unfortunately he’s injured and isn’t here in Brazil with us, so it would have to be Sontje Hansen. He’s definitely the quickest, especially over the first few metres. He’s got such explosive speed.
🙌 Who has the best celebrations?
Sontje Hansen! He does a backflip after he scores, which always looks spectacular. Hopefully he can show it off plenty of times here in Brazil.
⚽ The best dribbler?
Mohamed Taabouni: It’s very tough to get the ball off him in a one-on-one situation. He’s a real weapon for us.
🗣️ The leader in the squad?
Kenneth Taylor: He’s the captain and our coach Peter van der Veen’s representative out on the pitch. Everyone listens to him; he always leads by example and everyone learns from him.
😴 Who sleeps the most on planes and at the hotel?
Me! I don’t sleep very well on planes, but otherwise I’d have to say it’s me (laughs).
🥅 Who has the fiercest shot?
Our striker Jayden Braaf, followed by Ki-Jana Hoever, Sontje Hansen and me. We can all find the target and shoot from long range.
👃 The best nickname?
Anass Salah-Eddine! He has a huge nose, so we simply call him "The Nose".
🛁 Who spends the most time in the bathroom?
Devyne Rensch! Once he gets in the shower, he never wants to leave.