Brazilian superstars Romario and Ronaldo, Dutch greats Robin Van Persie and Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Swedish sensation Henrik Larsson share a common pathway with Burnley's Ian Maatsen
Ronaldo, Romario, Ruud Gullit, Arjen Robben, Jaap Stam, Robin Van Persie, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Henrik Larsson and many other world class operators all have something in common with Burnley's Ian Maatsen.
They have all been educated at the school of either PSV or Feyenoord. The Dutch giants have not only amassed 39 Eredivisie titles, two European Cups and three UEFA Cups between them, they’ve also nurtured a pantheon of greats throughout their illustrious history.
Chelsea defender Maatsen, 20, had the privilege of being educated in both Eindhoven and Rotterdam during his elementary years, at times when legendary Holland internationals Ronald Koeman and Phillip Cocu were imprinting their respective philosophies on the game.
The left back, who moved to Turf Moor on loan in the summer, also had a spell with Sparta Rotterdam, joining in 2013 when "De Kasteelheren" had suffered a 4-1 pre-season defeat at the hands of Burnley.
"It was quite competitive in Holland, but it wasn't the same intensity as in England," said Maatsen. "There are less games so when I came to England it was a bit difficult to adapt to it, but through stages I trained for more hours alone on the pitch.
"I played with some of them [Netherland internationals]; Cody Gakpo and those kinds of players. You see them through the stages when you're young and when you see them on the pitch now you're happy that they grew as well. Everyone has taken their own route to the finish."
Commenting on the influence of both Koeman [while at Feyenoord] and Coco [while at PSV], he added: "It's always good to have someone who knows the game and has been there, they've done what you dreamt of as a kid.
"I remember we had talent training on Wednesday with all the best talents from PSV and the best coaches and that was a really amazing experience. It was only training, but they talked us through the experience so it was really good.
"They explained everything to us, they told us that we had to take our one chance, otherwise you're one day from nothing!"