Maikel Kieftenbeld


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1990 (28 years old)

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English League Championship

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Maikel Kieftenbeld (Dutch pronunciation: ; born 26 June 1990) is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for English club Birmingham City.

Kieftenbeld began his football career with his hometown club, VV Lemerleveld, before joining Twente's youth system as a young teenager. Twente let him leave for Eerste Divisie (second-tier) club Go Ahead Eagles in 2007, and a year later, he made his senior debut and signed his first professional contract. He spent two seasons as a regular member of GA Eagles' first team before joining Eredivisie club Groningen in 2010. He played as a right back during his first year with Groningen, switching to midfield in his second season. Appointed vice-captain for 2013–14, he took on the captaincy during the season, and helped the club qualify for European football for the first time in seven years. He captained Groningen to victory in the 2014–15 KNVB Cup final to win the first major trophy in the club's history. Ahead of the 2015–16 season, he joined Football League Championship (second-tier) club Birmingham City.

He played for the Netherlands Beloftenelftal at the 2012 Toulon Tournament, and was capped five times for his country at under-21 level.

Kieftenbeld was born on 26 June 1990 in Lemelerveld, in the municipality of Dalfsen, Netherlands, where he attended Heilig Hartschool primary school. After leaving school he began a college course in business economics, but did not complete it. He came from a sporty family. His mother, Anja, and one of his sisters played volleyball, another sister rode horses. His father, Joop, coached in the lower reaches of Dutch amateur football, including at SV SDOL of the Vijfde Klasse and the reserve team of Tweede Klasse club VV Lemerleveld, the hometown club where Maikel began playing football at the age of five.

Dutch journalist Michiel Jongsma suggests that Kieftenbeld's position of choice is as a holding midfielder in front of the defence, where he can best use his energy in recovering the ball. He is comfortable on the ball and able to distribute it, but can be careless in possession, and "he really tries to shake up things when the play has gone dormant. In that lies his weakness as well – he can pick up silly fouls and cards from time to time." With Groningen, he averaged eight yellow cards a season. According to Groningen's technical director Henk Veldmate, speaking in 2014, his battling style and never-say-die attitude made him the sort of player with whom supporters could identify. In a 2011 interview, Kieftenbeld described himself as a perfectionist who always wanted to improve, and said that he sometimes put too much pressure on himself.

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