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Fri Apr 25 10:08:49 SAST 2014

Europe still beckons United star Erasmus

Marc Strydom | 03 June, 2012 10:160 Comments
KERMIT ERASMUS

KERMIT Erasmus's biggest regret was coming back to play in South Africa after beginning to make headway in Europe - and he would gladly head back north if the opportunity arose.

SuperSport United forward Erasmus said it was poor management that resulted in his return to the Absa Premiership. The winger had a strong finish to the past season that culminated in a starring role - including a goal - to earn a Nedbank Cup winner's medal in last weekend's 2-0 final win against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The 21-year-old was disappointed when SuperSport turned down an offer from Hungarian club Videoton before last season.

"I know SuperSport also look at the financial side, but for me it's more about my career. People might not know who Videoton are, but I can tell you they're on a higher level than SA," Erasmus said on holiday in his native Port Elizabeth.

"They are coached by former Portugal and Juventus player Paolo Sousa. He said he wanted me to come there because he believed he could improve my game."

The 1.71m striker-cum-winger said the perception in SA that he returned from Holland because he did not make the grade mentally was incorrect.

Erasmus, spotted by the SuperSport/Feyenoord academy playing for the Eastern Cape at an interregional tournament in Cape Town, joined Feyenoord as a 17-year-old after some eye-catching performances for the SuperSport first team. He was loaned to satellite club Excelsior Rotterdam, where he played 30 out of 36 games in 2009/10, scoring 11 goals.

Erasmus disputed he went to Europe too young. "I think the younger you go the better. My biggest regret was to come back. It's difficult to get to Europe but once you do, it's easier to stay there."

The striker scored four goals in three games in the 2009 U20 World Cup in Egypt before his promising season at Excelsior.

"I think I played my best football in my career at Excelsior. I just felt the people managing me at the time weren't doing enough to find me a team.

"On holiday in PE, my agent told me Feyenoord wanted to end my contract because they were in financial trouble, and there had been an offer from SuperSport. Excelsior coach Alex Pastoor was furious because he didn't know I was going."

Should Erasmus stay at SuperSport, who can exercise a two-year option on his contract, he will look to build on an impressive finish to the season, where his and Sibusiso Zuma's creative skills helped Gavin Hunt's team rediscover a touch in front of goal that had deserted them after Christmas.

Erasmus said Hunt struggled to identify the correct role for him at the start of the season, before a switch to left wing.

"To play on the left was difficult at first, with the tracking back and defending. It's a role I haven't yet fully mastered. But the positive is I'm not with my back to defenders and they're not marking tight as they would when I'm at striker. It's a free role to enjoy having the ball at my feet."

SuperSport showed with a strong finish to 2011/12 that they could be a force next season.

"The coach can mould players into becoming good players for the country, like Morgan Gould and Bongani Khumalo.

"He moulds people to have the right mentality and character to become a top player. I have no doubt that with the new players he's looking to sign, in a season or two they'll be the next big thing."

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Europe still beckons United star Erasmus

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