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“35.6km/hr vs 33.5km/hr” – Tottenham ace bullish about winning the pace battle with Arsenal superstar in the Euros this week

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"35.6km/hr vs 33.5km/hr" - Tottenham ace bullish about winning the pace battle with Arsenal superstar in the Euros this week

Look at the stats, says Micky van de Ven when asked about the speed battle between him and Bukayo Saka during UEFA Euro 2024

In a recent interview ahead of the Netherlands’ UEFA Euro 2024 semi-final clash against England, Spurs defender Micky van de Ven talked about a potential speed battle against Bukayo Saka on the pitch.

Saka, of course, prefers to operate on the right wing despite having had to deputise on the left-hand side occasionally this tournament due to England’s left-sided woes, while Van de Ven has operated on the left-hand side of the Dutch defence as either a left-back of a left-sided centre-back, which makes it very likely that the speedster will come up against Saka on Wednesday.

Speaking about his 1v1 speed battle with his north London rival, Van de Ven made a succinct comment about his ability to handle the 22-year-old.

“Who’s faster? Saka or me? If you look at the data, you already know the answer.”

Quote translated via Google Translate and sourced from AD.

And he’s not wrong. Despite playing just 66 minutes of Euro 2024 thus far, football, Van de Ven is the seventh-fastest player recorded on the pitch with a top speed of 35.6 km/hr. Saka, with a top speed of 33.5 km/h, did not even make the top 80 in UEFA’s records.

Speed isn’t everything, of course, and both players have much more in their respective lockers. While Saka at 22 is already an established Premier League star, the Netherlands international is also on his way to becoming one after a promising debut season for Spurs last time out.

Van de Ven for Spurs in 23/24: 29 games, 3 goals.
Van de Ven for Spurs in 23/24: 29 games, 3 goals.

The Netherlands face England at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund on Wednesday night.

Van de Ven’s speed is crucial for both club and country

Van de Ven, given his age, is a very raw talent right now despite having impressed in his first year at Spurs. His speed, much like Kyle Walker’s for Man City and England, becomes the get-out-of-jail asset for his sides in cases of high-speed counterattacks.

While his confidence in being able to take care of Saka on Wednesday is big talk, following it up will be quite the challenge given England have stars all over the pitch, regardless of how dormant or misfiring they have been thus far.

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And then, Saka can always be moved elsewhere for Van de Ven to be pitted against someone else, his pace dealt with in another way.

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