Forced to adapt: Second year blues not an option for Bart Schenkeveld

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When it comes to defenders, Bart Schenkeveld is about as no-nonsense as it gets.

His presence elicits reassurance for those on his team and anxiety for those brave enough to oppose him.

Starting off as an attacker in his youth, Schenkeveld was moved into defence to “make things a bit more difficult” after being “too quick for defenders.”

This was the first time Schenkeveld was forced to adapt in football and is something he would have to continue doing.

Suffering three ACL tears in his teen years resulted in three and a half years on the sidelines where he missed opportunities to perform on the national stage for the Netherlands.

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“It’s not easy but that’s life and it’s about how you bounce back from these kinds of things,” Schenkeveld said.

“For youth players it’s important to work hard and always believe in yourself as well as listening to the people around you when going through recovery.”

In addition to listening to those around him, Schenkeveld values having listened to himself as equally significant.

“Thinking independently is important because a lot of young guys listen to what others tell them but it’s also smart for your own recovery to listen to yourself,” Schenkeveld said.

Having never played outside of the Netherlands, adapting to a whole new country and style of football was always going to be a big part of the challenge.

Not only did he adapt but he made it appear as though he had been playing in the A-League for years and was named Melbourne City’s 2017/18 Player of the season.

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But like all team players, for him the award was merely consolation to an unsuccessful season for the club.

“At the end of the day [the season] was not so wonderful, for myself it was a good season but as a team we didn’t get want we wanted,” Schenkeveld said.

One of the aspects the 27-year-old identified as being unique in the A-League was having to travel via plane every second week for away games.

“Every second we travel and cover a lot of distance but this is also a beautiful thing,” Schenkeveld said.

Schenkeveld and his teammates will meet Melbourne Victory in the first round of the season which has many external viewers very excited but for Schenkeveld it remains business as usual in the lead up.

“Preparation is similar, there is a different feeling externally but there are 27 games in the season so you want to be ready,” Schenkeveld said.

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“But in these kinds of games you feel the energy and rivalry, it’s why you play football.”

Melbourne City hit the transfer window running, completing most of their signings early in the off-season to enhance the rapport within the team, something Schenkeveld believes will work in the team’s favour.

“It’s a good group, everyone’s on the same page and we all want to go in the same direction,” Schenkeveld said.

“We’ve got a really dynamic group and we really believe we can win the league this year.”

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Athos Sirianos
Athos Sirianos
RMIT Journalism | Football Nation Radio Like all football fans my general mood for the week is dictated by how my team performs over the weekend.

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