South Shields make double January swoop including ex-PSV Eindhoven youngster

Versatile Dutch defender Wouter Verstraaten has joined South Shields.

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 1:09 pm
Versatile Dutch defender Wouter Verstraaten has joined South Shields. Picture by Kevin Wilson.

The 23-year-old, who came through the ranks of Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven, can play anywhere across the back line and in midfield.

He has also played for FC Eindhoven, Pacific Tigers and Portland Timbers' Under-23s, and played several times for Northern League side Consett earlier this season after moving to England to study at Durham University.

His performances caught the eye of the Mariners, who have now moved to sign him.

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Verstraaten could make his debut for the club in Saturday's BetVictor Northern Premier Division fixture at Ashton United.

Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: "We're delighted to welcome Wouter to the club.

"He's someone we've been keeping an eye on for a few months now.

"He had an extremely good football upbringing at PSV Eindhoven as a young man and then moved onto Portland Timbers for a couple of seasons.

"More recently he moved to study for a degree at Durham University, while also playing a few games for Consett.

"Myself, Lee Picton, Brian Smith and Wess Brown have all watched him on a number of occasions and been extremely impressed with his technical ability and athleticism, which we feel will compliment our squad extremely well.

"He is a hugely versatile player as he can play anywhere across the back and anywhere across the midfield.

"We have high hopes that he is going to make a big impact on this season."

Meanwhile, South Shields Football Club has also confirmed the signing of Callum Ross.

The Newcastle-born midfielder has been training with the club for several weeks and international clearance has now been granted.

The 25-year-old had most recently been playing for Oklahoma City Energy in the United Soccer League, which is one tier below Major League Soccer.

He spent two seasons with Energy, having previously played for Charlotte Independence and Wingate University, with whom he won the NCAA national title in 2016.

Ross is well-known to Shields joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton, who helped to develop him during his time in Monkseaton High School's football academy.

Picton is excited about the prospect of working with the player again.

He said: "We're delighted to bring Callum Ross to the club.

"He is someone both myself and Graham know very well from our time at Monkseaton.

"He has developed into a real top class all-round midfield player who can also play just as comfortably at the back.

"Signing Callum gives us extra options in those areas.

"He was offered a new contract at Oklahoma but through the discussions we had with him, he has made the decision to come home and help us in our quest for promotion, and also hopefully help us achieve our longer-term aims at the club.

"As well as his skill set as a player, his personality and character are completely aligned with what we are looking for in all our players and we know with absolute certainty he will be a good asset to the club."