“If I go back to Holland I only go to Den Haag or Feyenoord’’, the 28-year old reiterates.
“But I would never go to Ajax. I want to end my career at Feyenoord“.
Former Holland teammate Robin Van Persie has done just that last month as he rejoined the Rotterdam-based outfit after a successful career spanning over a decade in England and a not-so-glorious time in Turkey.
Many fans and pundits say that Van Persie is over the hill. Janmaat however, does not agree and plays down those suggestions.
Sure, the 2013 Premier League champion no longer has the legs to dominate games as he did when he was at the peak of his powers at Arsenal or Manchester United, but nevertheless Janmaat believes that his countryman can still win games. There is still some fuel in the tank.
“Van Persie can still do something in the Dutch league. He is an amazing player.
“He is not like seven years ago but that’s normal. He is older now.
“But he has a lot of experience and is a great player so he can still do something at Feyenoord.
Something, which he is keen on doing himself in a few years’ time when he will no longer have the legs to cope with the physicality and pace of the Premier League.
“Feyenoord is the club I supported when I was young and I still always follow the club, even from England“, he carried on.
“If I can go back one day that would be nice’’.
Returning to where it exactly all began for him. Twelve years in the youth academy where he honed his skills and two years playing for the A squad aside starlets such as Stefan De Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi and Graziano Pelle’.
When talking about the latter and his much-maligned money-driven move to the Chinese league after Euro 2016, Janmaat admits that he would probably have done the same in his shoes.
“If I took his money, maybe.
“It is easy for people to say don’t do it but if you can earn so much money in two years’ time, you can save your whole family, a few generations.
“So yeah I would have done the same.’’
Sports Gazette visited FC Watford’s training ground the day after his Hornets brilliantly played Chelsea 4-1 off the park at Vicarage Road.
Although goals have come in short supply since he joined the club in 2016 following Newcastle’s relegation, the right-back had stolen the show with a great strike against Chelsea the day before we spoke.
He was in such high spirits that facing the thorny subject of Dutch football’s gloomy demise was anything but a topic he did not want to talk about.
From Total Football to the presence in three of the last eleven World Cup finals via the emergence of superstars such as Yohan Cruyff, Piet Keizer, Marco Van Basten, Dennis Bergkamp and Arjen Robben. Dutch football was once the dictionary from which to learn in order to enhance your skills and knowledge.
The great Dutch teams in the past scored goals for fun and entertained their fans. Now they would give an arm and a leg just to start winning again.Incredibly, things have looked very different of late though, as the Netherlands’ influence has gradually receded since reaching the World Cup final in South Africa in 2014.
“It’s true, there has been a small dip in Dutch football“, Janmaat admits.
“We did not reach the World Cup and the Euros last year.
“But there are big talents coming through.
“So there is no need to worry about that.
“In my position for instance we have Karsdorp from AS Roma, Tete from Lyon and Fosu-Mensah from Palace.
“Hopefully now with Koeman as a new coach we can do a bit more“
You can only wonder whether, when alone with his thoughts in his apartment in London, Janmaat thinks about his biggest regrets in football, like the lost World Cup final to Argentina in 2014. His first and probably last participation at the greatest show on earth.
“The best memories from 2014 involve the last game when we finished third and the first game against Spain“, Janmaat reflects.
“Sure, I also have a few regrets about that semi-final against Argentina because we wanted to finish as high as possible and we played well the whole tournament.
“In the final against Germany you never know what would have happened. Two good teams, it would have been fifty, fifty.
“But we could have won, yes“.
Perhaps the glory days of Feyenoord winning a Europa League, Ajax wrapping up the Champions League or Holland going all the way at a big tournament will return.
Janmaat would not mind if it was Ajax that spearheaded a Dutch renaissance yet again, but one thing is certain : given his loyalty to Feyenoord he will never be part of that.