With the Championship season only five games old, Huddersfield Town already face the task of searching for a new manager after the sacking of Jan Siewert, who departed after just one win out of his 19 games in charge. The John Smith’s Stadium faithful could be forgiven for not finding positives in what they have witnessed thus far.
However, there may be room for optimism in the form of a player who has passed largely under the radar since moving to West Yorkshire.
According to WhoScored.com, 25-year-old defender Terence Kongolo has performed well in comparison to his teammates so far this season, with the Dutchman so far averaging a squad high 3.4 tackles per game, 3.2 clearances and 1.4 blocks per game, putting him highest in terms of defensive performance for the Terriers.
These statistics are even more impressive given that Kongolo has played both centre back and left back in the first five games this season, showcasing the versatility which served him well during the early period of his career at Dutch giants Feyenoord.
Having progressed through Feyenoord’s famed Varkenoord academy, it will come as no surprise to followers of Dutch football that Kongolo is extremely comfortable in possession of the ball. With former Ajax coach Co Adriaanse pinpointing Kongolo’s ability to deliver the ball into midfield as one of the defender’s best traits.
As his passing stats from the 2018/2019 season show, the defender recorded an average pass success rate of 78% per game which is impressive considering Huddersfield only had an average ball possession of just 47.1% and an average pass success rate of 75.8%, which put them at the lower end of the possession table for last season’s Premier League sides.
It is clear that Huddersfield are trying to reassert their dominance when in possession of the ball this season, with the Terrier’s enjoying 61% possession of the ball in their recent defeat away at Cardiff, with Kongolo positioned in what may become his permanent position of left-back.
In addition to his statistics, Kongolo also possesses a large amount of experience at higher levels than the Championship, having appeared in European competition for Feyenoord and AS Monaco, whilst also claiming silverware in the form of the Eredivisie and Dutch cup titles during his time in Rotterdam.
It is this experience that will prove invaluable for Huddersfield in a season in which they have assembled a young squad, which has an average age of just 24.5.
It will be interesting to see where the Terriers next manager will look to deploy the four-cap Dutch international in their system of play, as he has staked a claim for being played regularly in several positions throughout his already impressive career to date.