Ryan Thomas - PEC Zwolle

Ryan Thomas compared to Arjen Robben

Ryan Thomas is doing well at current club PEC Zwolle in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Current club manager Rob Jans discusses the unique rise of Ryan Thomas, the former Olé Football Academy graduate, to the top ranks of European football.

“I’ve been coaching for a long time now,” Jans told the Herald on Sunday. “It’s doesn’t happen a lot that a youth player in two months is part of the first team and playing. They never do it so quickly, almost never. Ryan came – with the wind, as we say – from New Zealand and had a chance of one in a 100 to make this step. But once he played, he never went out. It’s exceptional, it’s not normal.”

Jans pauses for a long time when asked to think of a comparable ascension.

“I spent eight years at FC Groningen,” he said. “There was a young player there called Arjen Robben. He was 16 years old when he made his debut and was a regular after that.”

“But he was exceptional, not only in skill but also mentality. I think Declan [Edge] did a great job in giving Ryan a great base to go to a higher level.”

Optimism is very high for the O.F.A graduate. Ryan’s sudden rise in European football has come to the surprise of many. Now at 21 years of age, with his place firmly cemented within the Dutch Eredivisie, the challenge remains the same: to enjoy the journey, to seek opportunities to improve and to work hard each and everyday. We wish Ryan the very best.

For the full article in the NZ herald click here.