Jonathan de Guzman: What Swansea Fans Can Expect From Their Dutch Pass Master

Swansea City have signed Jonathan de Guzman on a season-long loan. Here's what fans should know about their newest signing...
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Swansea City have signed Jonathan de Guzman on a season-long loan. Here's what fans should know about their newest signing...

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Swansea City have signed Jonathan de Guzman on a season-long loan. Here's what fans should know about their newest signing...

Jonathan de Guzman’s story is a complicated one.  His parents came to Canada from the Philippines and Jamaica when they were ten years old. De Guzman was born on September 13th, 1987 in Scarborough, a little town near Toronto, as the youngest of three. He has an older sister, Jenelle, and an older brother, Julian, who’s playing for Toronto FC.

De Guzman’s childhood was completely focused on playing football, despite his father wanting his sons to play basketball. “After school, all we did was play football”, De Guzman once said in an interview. His youth career started at North Scarborough S.C. Football isn’t a very popular sport in Canada, so the teaching of young talented players can’t be compared to Europe. For that reason, De Guzman trained with three different teams, including one with his older brother, and trained six times a week. When his brother joined Olympique Marseille’s academy, De Guzman’s urge to also pursue his career in Europe grew strongly. At the age of 12, he joined the Feyenoord academy in Holland.

The Netherlands, especially Feyenoord, nurtured his football side in ways Canada was not equipped to and made him the player he is today.

The Netherlands, especially Feyenoord, nurtured his football side in ways Canada was not equipped to and made him the player he is today. Jonathan de Guzman was not allowed to play for Feyenoord’s first team before he was 18 years old. On September 18, five days after his 18th birthday, he made his official debut for Feyenoord against Heerenveen in the Eredivisie. After his debut he quickly became a first team regular. The season that followed wasn’t a very successful one for de Guzman.  It was hard for him to live up to the high expectations. Feyenoord missed out on European football for the first time in sixteen years. "I was only 19 years old, I couldn't just tell everyone what to do. It was really a disappointing season. I didn't make progress as a football player, but I did grow mentally because of all the problems we had. It was a very tough season for me personally."

Between 2008 and 2010 he suffered many injuries, such as torn cartilage in his right and left knees, a serious meniscus injury and more. At the end of 2009-10 he was finally fully fit again and left Feyenoord that summer to join Real Mallorca, despite interest from Espanyol, Eindhoven, Villareal and Newcastle United.

Jonathan de Guzman’s first season in Spain was a very strong one. He made 33 league appearances while scoring five goals. A year later he continued living his Spanish dream but at another club, Villareal, who signed him for an undisclosed fee (believed to be around €8.5M).  After receiving consistent playing time after joining the club in both league and domestic play, De Guzman began to struggle to find playing time under newly hired manager José Francisco Molina in early 2012. Swansea came in just in time to save him out of this position.

He's already a seasoned veteran who has had to carry the burden of expectation and responsibility from a young age.

It’s commonly known Jonathan de Guzman is a very good footballer. His pedigree cannot be questioned. He was schooled at one of Europe's top academies and proved his potential after being fast tracked into the professional ranks. He's already a seasoned veteran who has had to carry the burden of expectation and responsibility from a young age. At 24, and finally free of injury, de Guzman has some years to reach his peak.

He is an attacking midfielder who likes to play in the middle, direct the operation, and support the attack. At his best he’s a creative player who’s been gifted with the skill of a brilliant passer. Goals he has scored have not only come from open play. He’s a set-piece expert.

Like every player, Jonathan de Guzman has his weaknesses. He’s at his worst when his team plays badly. De Guzman becomes one-dimensional, can’t find the creativity in himself and it becomes hard for him to surprise defenders. This all happens due to a lack of concentration. When things are going wrong, he’s the least likely to get you out of trouble. Most of the time, the creative players are the ones to bring you out of trouble, but de Guzman isn’t one of them. Everything has to be right for him to sign like at Feyenoord and Mallorca.

Jonathan de Guzman adds to the team with experience in one of Europe’s biggest leagues, combined with the talent he has.

Swansea might be an ideal solution for the born Canadian with Dutch citizenship to show the world he’s still a very talented player who’s capable of doing beautiful things. Swansea has proven last season they’re a great environment for young, talented players with little experience in the English Premier League. Jonathan de Guzman adds to the team with experience in one of Europe’s biggest leagues, combined with the talent he has. I hope this one turns out to be a successful story for the 24-year old.

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