Calm' Doekhi excels in the sidelines: 'A great player for Vitesse'.

"Danilho is extremely important. He is one of the best centre defenders in the premier league." Vitesse coach Thomas Letsch leaves no room for misunderstanding: Danilho Doekhi is a crucial building block of his success team.

With 22-year-old Doekhi one of two 'pure' central defenders - Riechedly Bazoer frequently shifts to midfield - it's raining clean sheets in Arnhem this season: seven in the Eredivisie, including against Feyenoord. "Eight, including the KNVB Cup," says Letsch. "Of course there is more talk about Oussama Tannane, Riechedly Bazoer and the attacking players," continued Letsch. "But it is very important for the team that you are stable and prevent goals. Everyone is responsible for that, but Doekhi, Jacob Rasmussen and also Tomas Hajek are doing a super job."

Letsch already indicated that in his eyes Doekhi is not inferior to Perr Schuurs, who is under contract at Ajax. At Amsterdam in mid-2018, Doekhi was deemed too light for the big time.

The German coach now: "Danilho is a class player, a great player, for us."

"He already played fantastic last year and this season he has performed every game at the highest level. Danilho makes almost no mistakes and is an absolute team player, a very calm player. Although he can be emotional, but he has developed in that area as well."


Relaxed Doekhi is also a person. As praiseworthy as Letsch is about him, sprinkling superlatives like 'great' and 'super', the defender himself is subdued. Give him a role in the lee, behind tall trees like the oft-praised Tannane and Bazoer.

"That has its advantages. If things are going less well, they're also the first to hear about it," Doekhi knows.

Breast beating

No, you don't have to expect chest thumping from Doekhi. He attributes his excellent season - he hasn't been carded yet and after Feyenoord's Marcos Senesi he has the most tackles per game - to "a concurrence of circumstances".

"I get a lot of confidence from the coach and this is my third season at Vitesse," said Doekhi. "I'm a bit more experienced, have a certain number of matches in the legs."

Back to his coach, who is clearly not afraid that a flood of compliments will go to Doekhi's head. Letsch: "Again, it's a fantastic player and we need a type like him. That's why I'm very happy with him."

"He coaches other players very well. He's calmer than other players and maybe that's why he doesn't stand out as much, but he's reserve captain for a reason."

Meet the top

And Vitesse are playing their rivals this month.

And the competition all play against each other this month, with Vitesse facing FC Utrecht, FC Emmen, FC Groningen, VVV and RKC. So it could be a nice January month.


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