TAKE THAT: Đoàn Văn Hậu in action for Hà Nội FC over the weekend. Photo: laodong.vn
To paraphrase the immortal words of iconic British boy band Take That, I want Đoàn Văn Hậu back for good.
The Hà Nội FC defender made his return to club action over the weekend in his side’s 2-1 home win over Hải Phòng and it sure has been a long-awaited return.
Hậu last played for his club in November 2020, while he saw action for the national team in June last year during a World Cup qualifier against the UAE.
The left back with boyish good looks (if Take That need a fourth member, look no further) has endured an injury-stricken couple of years, which made it fantastic to see him come on for the final 20 minutes or so.
However, we’ve been here before, but now it’s time Hậu was back for good.
It seems apparent now that Hậu was rushed back from injury too quickly a couple of times over the last few years and I’m hoping against hope that we aren’t about to see a repeat performance.
As he’s been out of sight and out of mind, it has been easy to forget how good Hậu can be, so maybe it’s time for a refresher.
Thanks to his rare combination of pace, power, a sweet left boot and calmness on the ball, Hậu won himself a loan move to SC Heerenveen in 2019.
While he only made a single cameo appearance for the Dutch side, Hậu even making the move over to a top European league showed his enormous potential.
There was even a point where one could argue he was Southeast Asia’s top left back, ahead of even Thailand’s great Theerathon Bunmathan.
The best ability, though, is availability, and Hậu being out of action for so long means he may not even be Việt Nam’s best left back any longer.
Why exactly has he been so plagued with injuries? It could have just been bad luck, bad management of his ailments, a loss of motivation from the player, or some combination of all those factors.
Hậu did noticeably bulk up during his time in Europe and the stresses of that transformation could be another reason why his body has deserted him in the last few years.
Regardless, Hậu’s immense potential means we should be looking to the future and not repeating any mistakes from the past.
The fact that he came on as a substitute and didn’t start is a good sign. I’m hoping we see Hậu gradually eased back into action before he cements his place in the Hà Nội FC starting XI so that we have him back for good, not just for 20 minutes at a time. VNS