Football: Clyde looks to Dutch master

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The Independent Online
CLYDE WIJNHARD has been taken under the protective wing of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, his Dutch compatriot, in a bid to help Leeds soar in the Premiership.

George Graham, the Leeds manager, went double Dutch over the summer, signing Wijnhard from Willem II Tilburg for pounds 1.5m as a new strike partner for Hasselbaink.

And the duo proved an instant hit in their first Premiership game together as they combined for hotshot Hasselbaink to fire United to a 1-0 win over Blackburn at Elland Road on Monday night.

It was the perfect start for Hasselbaink - he missed the curtain-raiser at Middlesbrough through suspension - following his sensational 22-goal haul during his debut campaign last season.

Wijnhard is now hoping to follow in Hasselbaink's footsteps and blaze a goal trail himself as he learns the tricks of the Premiership trade from the Holland international.

If the pair manage to click - and the early signs are encouraging - the writing could be on the wall for defences everywhere as master and pupil lead the line.

"Jimmy's confidence is rubbing off on me," said Wijnhard. "We're talking a lot to one another before and after the game. He's teaching me and telling me what I must do to improve even more.

"He's showing me a lot of the little things you need in your game to play at this level, like what you have to do when you're about to receive the ball, using my body strength more.

"Every game he tells me what to do because he has the experience of having played in the Premiership last season, and he's passing on that experience to me.

"I'm learning more and more as time goes on, so I think I will improve with every match. But there's certainly more to come."

Wijnhard knows it will take time for the partnership to fully blossom as Hasselbaink didn't start to shine until after Christmas last year.

"It's a new team, new players and when we get to know each other we can start to get good results," added Wijnhard. "By the end of the season things should be much better.

"I saw the impact Jimmy made in the Premiership last season. I don't know whether I can achieve something similar, but I certainly hope to make a good impression.

"I had four years in Holland, having been schooled at Ajax initially, and every season I improved. I just hope I can continue that improvement."

Graham believes those years with the Dutch giants will stand Wijnhard in good stead for coping with the demands of playing in the Premiership.

"Having been brought up there, which I consider to be the proper way, he has a lot of good qualities," said Graham.

"He's got a lovely touch, but he's got to learn the intensity and the fast, furious pace of English football and that will take him a little bit of time."

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