Miquel Nelom: Hibs’ style of play was key to me joining

Miquel Nelom
Miquel Nelom
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Miquel Nelom has revealed he jumped at the chance to sign for Hibs when he saw the club’s style of football flew in the face of Dutch perceptions that the Scottish game was all “kick and rush”.

And, having won the league and cup in Holland with Feyenoord, the 28-year-old insisted he has come to Edinburgh intent on winning further silverware with Neil Lennon’s side.

Nelom, capped twice by the Netherlands, signed a season-long deal after being freed by Feyenoord, Hibs fans getting their first glimpse of the talented left-back as he replaced skipper David Gray for the final few minutes of the 6-0 thrashing of Hamilton.

And he agreed he could not have asked for an easier introduction to the Premiership.

Nelom has been given time by Lennon to hone his match fitness, playing 60 minutes for the club’s development squad which preceded last weekend’s cameo appearance for the first team. And now he feels ready to play his part in helping the Capital club emulate last season’s achievements – and perhaps do even better.

He said: “In the summer, I was without a club for a long time so when the manager approached me, it was a good opportunity to go abroad; a new challenge, new adventures.

“I’m happy the team is doing well. It’s good for us to be in the top positions. I am here to make my contribution and to get more game time. Last year I heard we finished fourth so maybe we can do better than that and get another prize.

Rotterdam-born Nelom began his career with Excelsior, making his debut at 19, where former Hibs midfielder Edwin de Graaf was a team-mate having returned to his homeland on loan as his move to Easter Road turned sour.

Nelom’s deal was made permanent the following season but, he revealed, his own switch to Scotland had happened so quickly he wasn’t able to seek the advice of anyone.

He said: “I didn’t speak to him because everything went so fast when Hibs called me, I didn’t have time to talk to anyone other than the manager who gave me a good feeling.

“I’d known of him as a player and manager at Celtic and I knew there had been Dutch players in Scotland before and they had done well, so I thought it was a good chance to keep the Dutch reputation high.

“Football with Hibs is not what people in Holland think, that in Scotland you play long balls. Hibs play good football, more on the ground, the type of football that will suit me.”

Nelom accepts that few, if any, Hibs supporters would have been aware of him before he joined the club but he brings plenty of experience having clocked up nearly 150 games for Feyenoord and latterly Spartak Rotterdam. And he also played in the Champions League against Manchester City and in the Europa League against the likes of Manchester United, Fenerbahce, Seville and Standard Liege as well as playing for the Netherlands against China, and Indonesia.

Asked whether he sees Hibs as a long-term move, Nelom said his sole focus was simply on forcing his way into Lennon’s plans on a regular basis.

“I have signed for a short time so we will see in the summer. At the moment I am just enjoying my time here and hoping to make the team better.”