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Jurrien Timber: The Shining Star Of Dutch Football

Jurrien Timber

Jurrien Timber is a Dutch footballer who is emerging as the defensive fulcrum of Ajax Amsterdam. His rise into prominence was quite rapid. Jurrien Timber made his club debut for the Ajax senior team in March 2020. Within a year, he earned a spot on the Dutch National team as well. Jurrien Timber is from a footballing family. His twin brother Quinten Timber, and his elder brother Dylan Timber, are footballers themselves. In this post, we will find out more about Jurrien Timber. Let’s get started.

Jurrien Timber: All You Need To Know 

What are some distinctive things about Jurrien Timber’s playstyle?

How Timber intercepts the ball with his right leg, by using it as a kind of fence after Bangura plays too far in front of him. The ball lies a little below him, and with his left, he crumples it forward again. In the meantime he stands straight again, immediately switches to the attack, puts an opponent on the wrong foot in acceleration, opens with the left on Berghuis, accelerates again and shoots into Berghuis’ pass with the right. Everything is in that goal: football skills, speed, insight, technique, two-leggedness, daring to attack, pure defense.

Jurrien Timber has been consistently good during his brief pro career. Not only because he defends excellently, but also because he always thinks ahead, just dribbles between two attackers and despite his height of only 1.79 meters hardly loses duels in the air. In doing so, he rigorously breaks with defenders’ habit of turning backward forever and ever.

Timber had already joined the European Championship because Frank de Boer had recognized his talent. All that negativity about Orange slipped off him. Here was just a young footballer having a great time. He also knows what can or should be done better. Concentration sometimes, or the long ball. Perr Schuurs’ pass is better, but the rise of Timber has made the Limburger a permanent reserve at Ajax. Schuurs was allowed to fill in against Cambuur, and gave a pass so well that he could have been framed to the Rijksmuseum, but yes, Timber is much better as a defender.

How is Jurrien Timber’s relationship with his family members?

If the term ‘two hands on one belly’ had a face, it would be the twins Jurrien and Quinten Timber from Utrecht. They were born together on June 17, 2001 and developed into two wonderful guys in a warm and close family. Hardworking mother Marilyn is the mainstay and brothers Shamier, Chris and Dylan stand around them. Side by side, the Ajax twins storm the world carefree. “They have each other, that’s the most important thing.”

How did Jurrien Timber start his football career?

Twan Lenders is the very first youth trainer Jurrien and Quinten had when they started at DVSU in Utrecht as four-year-olds. Actually, that was not allowed at all, but they were simply too good when they were allowed to kick a ball with 30 children on a Wednesday afternoon. ‘At that time we had a very long waiting list because we had four associations that had to share the fields,’ says Twan. ‘Our policy was that the children who were first on the waiting list were to be served first. But that didn’t apply to Jurrien and Quinten.’

Because it was brother Dylan’s turn anyway and Chris was already walking around at the club, Jurrien and Quinten were put in their older brother’s team as five-year-old boys. However young they were, the three brothers pulled the cart in two seasons at DVSU. ‘I was always fairly honest in the substitutions, but in the decisive games I let Dylan, Jurrien and Quinten play longer. There was never a fuss about that, everyone understood that. We eventually became champions against boys of seven, eight years old. From the clay guests from the farmland.’

‘I remember’, Twan continued. ‘That we found out in the championship game. At such moments I sometimes told Jurrien or Quinten that they could do whatever they wanted. Nice ping, everything forward. They were so good that they no longer played a single ball, but we were ahead in no time. Jurrien was more of a team thinker. If you told him to defend, no one could get through. But if you’re talking about passing two or three males and then scoring with a lob; that was more Quinten. If he was there with his head, he was really terrible for the opponent.’

And that while the two still looked so sweet and innocent. Sometimes there was even talk of underestimation. ‘Jurrien and Quinten had a rather high level of cuddliness. “Look how cute those boys are”, I heard the parents say down the line. “Hey, hey, today we can finally win.” It took us a few minutes and the whole Timber family had already scored.’

How did the Timber family friends react to Jurrien Timber’s rise?

The cute faces of the Timber twins are also etched in the memory of Ankie Tukker, a good family friend. She remembers the first time she saw the two boys walking. ‘I regularly went to FC Utrecht and they walked across the square with their neighbor Erik to watch a match. I immediately asked if they were Chris’ brothers. They became shy and during the game, they sat behind me. They were way too small for the seat, so those legs were dangling in the air. The two of them sat very still and enjoyed the game. They were very focused on each other.’

Chris agrees with Ankie’s words and states that Jurrien and Quinten are two very quiet boys. “You turned on a movie – The Lion King, for example – and they sat together on the couch. When the film had already finished half an hour, they were still there, looking around a bit. Dylan always walked away after half an hour, Jurrien and Quinten were very calm. During our period at Feyenoord, we sometimes had to be at the club at eight o’clock. When we got there, all those boys started playing tag, but Jurrien and Quinten just stood there watching. Very crazy.’

Brother Dylan was in Feyenoord’s training at the same time as his smaller brothers from 2008 and was often the victim of the unbreakable tandem. “If anything, it was just the two of them and I was alone,” Dylan explains. ‘If Jurrien wanted to watch something on television, I would join in and if I wanted to see something, Quinten would join us and he made sure that we still watched what Jurrien wanted. In my second year at Feyenoord, I always traveled with them. I was always very busy and there were often fights, but Jurrien and Quinten sat together next to the driver. When we were allowed out, they grabbed their bags and quietly walked home. It took me too long, they were always chill.’

What did Dylan Timber say about Jurrien Timber?

Dylan substantiates: ‘They are so calm. We once drove through the Bokkenbuurt in Utrecht with the Feyenoord van. Suddenly some balls and food were thrown at the bus. I was shocked; all the boys around me didn’t know what to do. Jurrien and Quinten looked ahead. Nothing wrong. They didn’t care.’ The time at Feyenoord brought the two brothers closer to each other anyway. ‘They have also lost quite a lot of friends because of their time at Varkenoord. When I left Feyenoord I picked it up again, but they didn’t have time for that. It was training, school, and sleeping. They spend more time with family after all. They have each other, that’s the most important thing.’

What is the relationship between Jurrien Timber and Quinten Timber?

They eat the same thing, shop together, play FIFA together, and both love Lionel Messi and distance themselves from the same things. Still, according to brother Chris, there is one important difference: ‘Quinten has had more pepper in him since he was little. Eldest brother Shamier always says, “You think you’re good? Come on then!” Then Quinten is a good one, who often fights hard against hard. Jur, on the other hand, is calm. Where Quinten is fierce, has an opinion and if he loses and says nothing in the back seat after a defeat, Jurrien is in turn more critical. If you ask him what went well in a match, he simply says who did and did not reach the level. Quinten will sooner say that it was a good match.’

There are many more similarities. They know what they want and have enormous intrinsic motivation. ‘They got their driver’s license in three or four weeks’, Chris gives as an example. “We only had three or four weeks of vacation and asked if those guys could drive daily. So they sat in the car every day. They passed their theory and practice right away. All those guys on their team were jealous. If only they had done that. They are now with school, training and competitions. Where do you find the time to drive for an hour?’

‘They sometimes have things they don’t like to do, for example, a dirty bowl of cottage cheese in the evening during the Future Cup, but then they are serious enough to call me if I want to bring cottage cheese to the hotel’, Chris continued. ‘When we used to watch a movie with the family, they would go upstairs at 9.30 pm, as the next day they had another day from 8 am to 8 pm. They are passionate about their sport. Of course, they are stimulated, because nobody can do it alone, but I think that if you now put Jurrien with a club in Germany and Quinten with a team in England, they both make it.’

How did the life of Jurrien and Quinten Timber change after signing their first pro contract?

Football is the life of Jurrien and Quinten, although they like to spend their little free time on other hobbies in addition to their daily activities. ‘Sometimes we all go out for dinner or to the cinema. Let’s pop by Albert Heijn and empty the entire candy wall. No cottage cheese for a while, but that should be possible, right? They like music and a good laugh with the boys, but it never gets too crazy.’

After signing their first contract in Amsterdam, the Timber brothers now earn their own pocket money. “But you don’t see them with an expensive clock or Louis Vuitton scarf,” says Chris. ‘What they do find important is a good box. Then they play nice music, for example, Dutch rap or Drake. They also have an Antillean playlist and like to watch Netflix or Temptation Island. When we’re not watching TV, we get creative with board games. We play Risk, Monopoly too, and then it really is war. If you put a camera on it, I think you have Quinten in the picture a lot.’

Above all, Quinten and Jurrien had to leave a lot, even during their time at Feyenoord. Twan remembers a school football tournament from that time, in which the Timber twins showed themselves. “We reached the semi-finals two years in a row. The first year we had a good batch, in the second year, the Timber brothers ruled the roost. They already played at Feyenoord, but ran into a problem before the semi-finals because they had a tournament with their club that afternoon in Venlo, at VVV. We offered to take them to Venlo, but Feyenoord refused. We didn’t score anymore and you immediately saw how important Jurrien and Quinten were. A few even burst into tears when they heard they weren’t coming.’

How did Jurrien and Quinten Timber end up with Ajax Amsterdam?

The choice for Feyenoord came in 2008, after several scouts along the amateur fields had expressed their interest. “I’m not kidding that on a Saturday morning, in the pouring rain, three men stood by the side. It was very cliché’, says youth coach Twan, who mentions scouts from FC Utrecht, Feyenoord and Ajax. Chris agrees: ‘We didn’t have that much at home and had two choices: Quinten, Jurrien and Dylan to Feyenoord, or Quinten and Jurrien to Ajax. In Amsterdam, they could train four or five times, but we had to pick them up. I didn’t have a driver’s license yet, so that didn’t work. Feyenoord, on the other hand, had a van.’

The choice fell on Rotterdam, where Jurrien and Quinten turned out to be strong holders first as attackers and then as defenders. When it turned out that people at Varkenoord saw potential in Quinten as a central defender, the family decided to respond to advances from other clubs. ‘There were some things going on at Feyenoord, including Quinten’s position. He is thinner and not the size of Vincent Kompany or Virgil van Dijk. In addition, we struggled to pay for the travel expenses from the club to high school. Feyenoord didn’t want to think along and when other options came up, we thought: they are the best in their class, maybe it’s good to do something new.’ 

Ajax was the deciding factor, partly because of the focus on football. ‘That is not the case at Feyenoord. When Ajax comes to visit, it is mainly about working hard together. We put everything on paper and presented the choices to the boys. They soon said, “Okay, that’s good. We are going to Ajax”. I dare say that they would never have been the players they are today if they had stayed at Feyenoord.’

How did fans react to the Ajax signing?

The switch to the arch-rival was not received positively, especially on the internet. Reports about money for the family did the rounds, but according to Chris, this was by no means an issue. Ajax was actually the very first club to be interested when the boys were still very small. It then always sought contact with the Timber family during mutual matches with Feyenoord. “Hello madam, are things still going well at Feyenoord”, you would hear. Ajax was on pole position and has never let go.’

‘At Ajax, they have always been the leaders in the group. Not just because you’re the best, but also because you’re the two of you,” says Chris, who emphasizes that the first year and a half were difficult. Due to many injuries, coach Gery Vink had his hands full with them. ‘Especially mentally. They came from Feyenoord to Ajax and never had any injuries. Then they grew and struggled with injuries. Then one was fit, then the other. Vink is a hard trainer, but also a very sweet guy. In their second year, he helped them a lot. You have to learn to deal with aches and pains and he constantly presented them with that.’

How has Jurrien Timber developed as a footballer?

Timber developed rapidly in the 2020/21 season. He started the season in the Kitchen Champion Division, but eventually conquered a basic place in the first team, and was included in the European Championship selection in the summer of 2021. At the start of the season, Timber was part of the first-team squad but played most of his matches for Ajax Reserves. 

On 9 December 2020, he made his UEFA Champions League debut in stoppage time against Atalanta Bergamo. Barely four minutes later, he was injured by an opponent’s knee and a fall. In the second half of the season, in particular, he increasingly played in the first team, in which he was sometimes preferred over his competitor in the position of right central defender, Perr Schuurs. Trainer Erik ten Hag indicated that Schuurs and Timber were not inferior to each other at that time. In the end, Timber managed to conquer a permanent base place. In his first season with the first team, he immediately won the national title and the KNVB cup.

He kept his starting spot in the 2021/22 season and formed the central defense together with Lisandro Martínez. During the first fifteen games in the Eredivisie, this defense only had to allow two goals. With Ajax, he won all six group matches in the Champions League. At the end of the season, Ajax’s technical staff voted him Talent of the Year. At the start of the 2022/23 season, Timber extended his contract for another year, until mid-2025. Following Martínez’s departure, Calvin Bassey became his new central defense partner.

What does the future hold for Jurrien Timber and Quinten Timber?

The duo now have their own physio and they do exercises from Ajax at home. According to Chris, they are becoming more professional step by step. That should ultimately pay off in a common goal: playing football in the Johan Cruijff Arena. ‘The connoisseurs always call all kinds of names, but these guys will get there. They enjoy the competitions with more and more audiences, the responsibility and the training with the former. It doesn’t make them euphoric, no. They also don’t have to be photographed with Hakim Ziyech, hopefully, they will be there themselves in one or two years.’

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