Strapping centre-back Darryl Lachman has thanked legendary Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert for helping him get his career back on track.
The 25-year-old was frozen out at FC Twente last season, featuring just 15 times in the Eredivisie.
He reportedly fell out with coach Alfred Schreuder and, although he had two years left to run of his contract, recognised he had reached the “end of the road” with the club.
But throughout that rocky period in his career, Lachman had the support of Kluivert. The former Ajax, AC Milan and Barcelona star, who worked alongside Louis van Gaal as Netherlands finished third at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is currently cutting his managerial teeth at international level.
Earlier this year, Kluivert was named boss of Curaçao, where his mother is from. The Caribbean island is best known for its blue seas and white beaches but Kluivert is bidding to help them qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Lachman has so far won four caps for Curaçao, with two of his outings for the national team coming prior to his move to Hillsborough.
He told The Star: “A lot of things happened to me at FC Twente and he [Kluivert] called me up for the national team and put a hand on my shoulder and said I was going to play no matter what which gave me a lot of confidence.”
Lachman, a graduate of Ajax’s youth system, added: “I never expected Patrick to coach our national team as we are not a big country. It was a surprise for everybody when he was appointed. With his experience, hopefully we can go really far.”
During his playing days, Kluivert was regarded as one of the best centre forwards in the world. He starred at domestic and international level, claiming 40 goals in 79 appearances for Holland.
“There’s a lot of respect for him because of the career he had,” said Lachman. “He was a great player and people look up to him.
“When he’s on the training pitch, everybody knows what he wants. People have a lot of respect for him due to the face he conducts himself in such a professional manner.
“He is a good coach and I hope he goes on to manage a top club in the future.”
Lachman, formerly of FC Groningen and PEC Zwolle, is expected to take part in Wednesday’s penultimate pre-season friendly against Scunthorpe United tonight.
He said he is enjoying working under Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal but stressed his new-look squad are still gelling together as they prepare to take on Bristol City in their Championship curtain-raiser next week.
“We are still a new team and are getting used to the manager’s strategy,” added Lachman.