Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dirk Kuyt

Dirk Kuyt West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League
Dirk Kuyt, officially spelled Dirk Kuijt (born July 22, 1980, in Katwijk aan Zee) is a Dutch professional football player, who currently plays for English club Liverpool FC. He plays in the position of striker and is known for his high work-rate and team play. In his early career, and often for the Dutch national team, Kuyt has played on the wing.

Kuyt is an incredibly fit player and has only missed five games over seven seasons from 1999 until 2006, making 233 appearances.[2] Between March 2001 (playing with FC Utrecht) and April 2006 (Feyenoord) Kuyt played 179 consecutive matches.

Growing up
Kuyt is third of four children. He grew up in the small fishing village of Katwijk aan Zee (at Sea), where his father was a fisherman.[2] His football career began when he joined the local amateur team Quick Boys at age 5. He broke into the first team in March 1998, playing the last six games of the season, and catching the eye of Eredivisie team FC Utrecht.

Kuyt signed professionally for Utrecht that summer, aged 18, and immediately established himself in the first team. However he was more often than not played as a winger, as Utrecht preferred to play Serbian Igor GluÅ¡čević up front.

This continued until the 2002–03 season when Utrecht installed Foeke Booy as their new manager. Booy played Kuyt as a striker for the entire season, and Kuyt repaid him with 20 league goals. Utrecht also reached the Dutch Cup final, where they met Feyenoord. Although they were the underdogs Utrecht comfortably won the cup 4-1, with Kuyt scoring one and being given the man-of-the-match award. At the end of the season Kuyt completed a €1 million move to Feyenoord Rotterdam, where he replaced the out-going Pierre Van Hooijdonk.

At Feyenoord Kuyt immediately became a fan favourite with his continued goal scoring success. His first season saw him net another 20 league goals. The opening game of the 2004–05 season marked Kuyt's first ever hat-trick against De Graafschap. He later went on to score three in the 6-3 victory against ADO Den Haag and ended the season as the Eredivisie's top scorer with 29 goals — a career high.

In summer 2005 Kuyt was linked with moves to Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, but no transfer materialised. Kuyt was instead handed the Feyenoord club captaincy and went on to have a third successful season with the club, scoring 25 goals in all competitions.

Over the summer of 2006 Kuyt was again linked with moves to many top English clubs, most notably Liverpool and Newcastle. Rumours started in May with Kuyt stating "I am happy at Feyenoord but would like to play in the Premier League."[3] The rumours continued throughout the summer, finally coming to a head on 16 August when Kuyt was due to play for the Dutch national team against Ireland. Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder was reportedly going to watch Kuyt, and complimentary quotes from him appeared in the press. However, there were also stories saying that Liverpool were poised to sign Kuyt. Kuyt finally completed his move to Liverpool on 18 August for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be in the region of £9 million.

Liverpool Upon joining Liverpool Kuyt stated "I only wanted to leave Feyenoord for a really big club, and that is what Liverpool are. They are a fantastic, big club and it will be a real pleasure to play here."

After sitting out the first game Kuyt made his Liverpool debut as a substitute against West Ham on 26 August. His first start came against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League and he has been first choice in most games since. In his third start for the club on 20 September 2006 Kuyt scored his first goal against Newcastle United in a Premiership game at Anfield,[5] and followed up with another against Tottenham Hotspur in the next game. He scored his third goal for Liverpool with his father watching the game at Anfield, contributing to Liverpool's 3-1 win over Aston Villa. Two weeks later he bagged a brace, as the only scorer in the Reds' 2-0 victory against Premiership newcomers Reading.

Kuyt has won much praise for his early performances with The Mirror stating "The Dutch striker has the look of a cult hero in the making"[6] and The People reporting that he is "propelling himself towards iconic status."[7] One of the reasons for his early popularity is his post match courtesy to the fans. After each match he walks to every corner of the ground, and applauds the Liverpool supporters.

On the 20th January 2007 Dirk Kuyt scored against Chelsea after only 4 minutes when he headed down a Peter Crouch ball past the Chelsea defence and applied a superb finish past Goalkeeper Petr Cech, Liverpool went on to defeat the champions 2-0. It was the first time Rafa Benitez had defeated Jose Mourinho in the Premiership. It was also the first goal scored by Liverpool against a top 4 club in the league in the 2006/2007 season. Dirk Kuyt's hard work rate and desire to play for Liverpool has caught the eyes of most Liverpool fans. He is liked by most at Liverpool and he is rated as the Player of the Season (so far) by most Liverpool fans. Kuyt added to his account by scoring the 1st goal in the game against West Ham on 30th January 2007, taking him in to double figures for the season. The goal was a fantastic 25 yard strike into the top corner of the net, with West Ham goalkeeper Roy carroll left helpless.

Dirk Kuyt has become Rafa Benitez's first choice striker in recent months. His high work rate and attitude has made him a regular in Rafa's First team. Liverpool fans will be hoping he can continue doing his best for the club. Dirk Kuyt is yet to score in Europe for Liverpool.

International career
Dirk KuytWhen Marco van Basten took over as coach of the Dutch national team he dropped many established players, including strikers Roy Makaay and Patrick Kluivert. Kuyt was to benefit as in September 2004 he made his international debut in Van Basten's first game against Liechtenstein. He has been a permanent fixture in the Dutch squad ever since, making the starting line-up for eleven of the Netherlands' twelve 2006 World Cup qualification matches.

At the World Cup finals Kuyt found himself relegated to the substitutes bench. Although he made an appearance as a 69th minute replacement in the first game against Serbia and Montenegro, he sat the entire second game out. With the team already qualified for the next round Van Basten decided to rest many of his first choice players for the final group game against Argentina, and Kuyt was handed a start in the right wing position.

For the Netherlands' Round of 16 tie against Portugal, Kuyt was given a surprise start ahead of star-striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. However, Kuyt did not have a successful game and the Netherlands eventually lost 1-0 in a game that was more reputable for its record breaking diciplinary record (4 red cards and 16 yellow cards).

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