Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink urges players to learn the native language when making the move to international clubs

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

England U17s World Cup win topped off a brilliant year for the national junior teams and as the star players attract attention from big overseas clubs, former player Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has a warning for anyone considering a move, writes Charlotte Duncker.

Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink played in four different countries over his 18 year career and has sent a big message to the likes of Jadon Sancho, who has just moved to Borussia Dortmund: you must learn the native language.

Hasselbaink was 24-years-old and had just become a father when he signed for Portuguese side Campomaiorense.

Despite not speaking any Portuguese he made it his mission to teach himself as soon as he arrived. With young England stars being linked with moves abroad and as the Premier League records the highest percentage of foreign players of any European league the former Leeds striker has encouraged others to make the effor to learn the native language as he did.

Speaking to The Offside Rule Exclusives Hasselbaink explained: “When I moved to Portugal I didn’t have a tutor I didn’t speak one word of Portuguese but you have to respect the country you’re in.

“I needed to learn quickly so I could speak to my teammates.


“The same when I went to Atletico, the decision was made by me to not be afraid to go to another country and take your opportunity there.

“Now as a manager I make sure that whichever player I bring into the club they have to speak the language.

“If they can’t I make them pay for an English teacher, they have to learn as quickly as possible.”

Moving to England

Hasselbaink did the same when he moved to Leeds in 1997 and it wasn’t any issues with the language that led to his departure just two years later.

David O’Leary’s criticism of the former Dutch international has been well documented with the ex-Leeds manager accusing Hasselbaink of demanding too much money and not trying hard enough. But the Northampton manager has explained that’s far from the truth.

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“My time at Leeds was actually very very good it just ended in a way that I wish and hope it could have ended better,” he said.

“I wanted to stay at Leeds but the package was not related to what the market was.

“He just said certain things in the paper to make him look better, he just lied and made stories up.”

Heading for the top

Despite the sour end to a magnificent two years at Elland Road, Hasselbaink still holds the club in high regard and was linked with managing them earlier this year.

But the 45-year-old has no plans to return there just yet:

“I always say crawl first then we walk then we run, then we sprint at the end which is the Premiership.

“At the moment I’m walking so let’s continue walking and then try to walk a little bit faster.”

Follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharDuncker

Launched in 2017, The Offside Rule Exclusives is our Webby-nominated monthly podcast hosted by Lynsey HooperKait Borsay, and Hayley McQueen. It features in-depth interviews with some of the biggest names in football like Phil NevilleJermaine Defoe, and Casey Stoney.


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