Mike van der Hoorn: Swansea defender unsure of future

Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn
Mike van der Hoorn has featured in all 39 Swansea league games this season.

Mike van der Hoorn is convinced there are good times ahead at Swansea City - but is unsure if he will be involved.

The 26-year-old defender, who is out of contract this summer, believes manager Graham Potter will deliver success "if he gets support".

Van der Hoorn accepts he may not be involved after contract talks stalled when long-serving chairman Huw Jenkins left the club in February.

"I don't know my future yet," he told BBC Sport Wales.

Van der Hoorn will be a free agent this summer unless Swansea activate the one-year extension which was part of the deal agreed when he signed from Ajax in 2016.

"When Huw was here there were talks about a two-year extension," van der Hoorn adds.

"But he went and that has gone away.

"That's one thing, but I also know what I have here and that's a real value to me. I am playing every game here. I have to think this summer."

Appointed vice-captain by Potter last August, van der Hoorn has worn the armband for much of the campaign as a result of club skipper Leroy Fer's injury problems.

Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn
Mike van der Hoorn spent three seasons at Ajax before joining Swansea.

He has been a star performer in a season which has seen Swansea dealing with the pain and financial implications of losing Premier League status.

A raft of senior players have left in the last two transfer windows, and more could go this summer.

As well as van der Hoorn, Fer, Wayne Routledge, Luciano Narsingh and Martin Olsson see their contracts expire in June.

The form of young players like Connor Roberts, Matt Grimes, Bersant Celina, Oli McBurnie and Dan James has suggested they may be targeted by rivals.

However, van der Hoorn believes Potter has the core of a squad capable of regaining Premier League status - if that core is retained.

Swansea manager Graham Potter
Graham Potter has made a big impression since taking over at Swansea City last June.

"There is an opportunity - we have to keep this group. You have to keep building also. I think the gaffer sees that," adds van der Hoorn.

"With him I think there's no doubt there is a bright future. If he gets support, it will be better and better."

A frustration for Swansea this season is that they have not always taken the points their performances have merited.

That has not been the case in their last two games, with Brentford and Middlesbrough seen off to keep slim play-off hopes alive.

Stoke City come next, on Tuesday night, with Swansea knowing there is almost no margin for error if they are to push for the top six.

Whatever happens, Swansea look a much stronger proposition now than they did in the early months of the campaign.

Academy influx

"Now we have one style of play. We have a formation that fits us - we are used to it," van der Hoorn says.

"A lot of the young guys have played together. You could see they have a good connection off the pitch and on it. That helps us."

The influx of academy products means van der Hoorn is now one of Swansea's more experienced figures.

Wayne Routledge celebrates
Wayne Routledge scored as Swansea beat Middlesbrough 3-1 on Saturday.

"I feel like an old man in this team," he says with a smile.

"I have played games where I was the oldest outfield player."

The emergence of so many youngsters has been a major plus this season alongside the impact of Potter and the attractive style of football Swansea are producing.

Inexperience can bring drawbacks, though, and van der Hoorn feels the next step is to develop a more ruthless streak.

"You look at teams like Norwich who are up there, Sheffield United and Leeds - you couldn't see much difference in our games against them," he says.

"But I think our mentality needs to change if we want to achieve something. We are just a little bit too nice.

Daniel James
Daniel James is one of a host of young players who have thrived at Swansea City this season.

"That's also to do with being young. You get in the team and think 'okay I am there', but then you need to take another step.

"When you get in the box you need to have that feeling that you have to score for the team.

"At the same time for defenders, you have to clear that ball."

Leading the way

An increasingly confident leader, van der Hoorn feels Swansea's mentality is already moving in the right direction.

He is more comfortable as skipper now than he was early on this season, when he led a team out for the first time since his days in Utrecht's youth ranks.

The former Netherlands Under-21 international is also happy in South Wales, where free time is spent walking his dog on Gower Peninsula.

Swansea defender Mike van der Hoorn
Mike van der Hoorn has scored twice this season.

"I know my way round now and that makes it much easier," he says. "My family love it as well."

At home off the pitch and flourishing on it, van der Hoorn is aware that there is a lot to be said for staying at Swansea.

But he cannot say for sure what comes next.

There is "a good journey" ahead for Potter's Swansea in the eyes of van der Hoorn.

It remains to be seen whether he is on board.

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