Chiefs coach Middendorp says Ekstein is special despite inconsistency
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp has discussed the qualities of Hendrick Ekstein, while also being honest about the player’s inconsistencies.
The 28-year-old forward was cleary ineffective in the Soweto Derby last weekend, and has in fact dropped his match influences since having a superb month of January.
"Look at the games of a player like Hendrick Ekstein before December 9. It was a game here‚ then 20 minutes there‚ then 60 minutes here‚ and then nothing for three weeks‚" Middendorp told Times Live.
“And I think if you are in this area then players‚ to grow and to really be at 90 minutes consistency‚ responsible‚ accountable‚ expressing their whole talent and skills sets‚ need games.
"And you need games over a longer period. Not only over two months‚ or whatever.
"You need the training in the week to get it right‚ to get the information‚ to get soccer-related knowledge and tools‚ and then to find the solution.
The player nicknamed Pule after Amakhosi’s legendary attacking wizard Jabu Pule, has always been a fan favourite since making his debut in 2014, but is yet to truly set the Absa Premiership alight.
"Hendrick is an outstanding player. And he's not a youngster any more - that's the next point. He's 28.
"And this is definitely somebody who can carry a team forward‚ with his ideas‚ with his stuff that he is regularly doing.
"It happens [mistakes]‚ unfortunately. But what can we do? We could have corrected it [after the mistake happened]‚ but that's part of the team's work.
"We could have corrected it‚ closed the space‚ then nothing would have happened.
"So OK. It's unfortunate when it happens. But for me he's an outstanding player. He's one of the best players I have worked with,” concluded the German.