Speaking to Chris Meijer of voetbalzone.nl, Red Bull Salzburg’s summer acquisition from St. Gallen Jasper van der Werff opened up about joining Die Roten Bullen, his life-long love for Ajax, the possibility of representing Holland or Switzerland at international level, and his dream of playing in Germany or Spain.
So you progressed very fast in the last year, how did you experience that?
“I was added to the squad very fast I tried to get a place in the summer but I didn’t succeed that time, I was called up again in January and fitted right into the playing style/system. That lead me to the ability to take responsibility in the form of asking for the ball a lot more, the coach trusted me, I played a few good games and that just started the major interest from multiple clubs. Eventually, Red Bull Salzburg came along and I held talks with the club and they left a good impression on me.”
Did you choose Red Bull Salzburg specifically?
“Yeah, I did, they have a good track record when it comes to youth I can develop well here and play on an international level at a successful club. They really convinced me during the talks I had with them and they offered me a solid plan for the future. It looked good for both sides so I decided to sign for Salzburg”
You are leaving your native country so soon, did you ever think of staying longer in Switzerland?
“There was a real option of me staying here but Red Bull Salzburg just left a great impression on me that’s why I decided to leave. My early days here have been not so hard I am a type of human that just likes to do new things I guess.”
Was it tough to leave St. Gallen after ten years?
“In the beginning, it was certainly a tough decision to make. I just became a regular in the first squad (six months) and the club really wanted to keep me but they also did say that I had to look out for myself and if this really was a good option for me than I had to take it. They realized and said that it would be best for me to leave for my development and they were relaxed about it. They really helped during the negotiations. The team is very good and the training is of high quality I have the feeling that I can adapt without any major problems. You do have to adapt to this new team though. In the first few training days, I saw the playing style of Salzburg and realize why the signed me up. I adapt very fast and although the training exercises are tough they are mostly with the ball and that’s much more fun for a youngster. I am convinced that this move is the right one for me.”
Well, we have to ask the inevitable question. Does Ronald Koeman have to visit Salzburg to take a look at you?
“I would really like it of course. I never heard anything from the national FA in Holland But most of my family does live there and I do feel like a Dutch citizen. Koeman is very much invited to come. But this doesn’t mean that I automatically choose Holland. It’s a hard choice to make I feel both Dutch and Swiss. I grew up in Switzerland but my family lives in Holland I haven’t made a choice just yet, thank god I don’t have to just yet.”
Your room was filled with Ajax posters, how important is that club for you?
“I am a ginormous Ajax fan. If I am able to watch a match I will absolutely do it every time. Ajax play with their own youth and have been very successful so I am a major fan. I always dreamed of playing for them but I really don’t know if I ever will to be honest.”
Do you have other goals/dreams right now?
“My first goal is to become a regular at Salzburg but my dream is to play in the Bundesliga or La Liga. But my focus is totally on Red Bull Salzburg right now.”