How do you solve a problem like Kevin van Veen? Keith Curle on Scunthorpe's 'fantastic but complex' striker

Keith Curle and Kevin van Veen
Keith Curle and Kevin van Veen

Brilliant and yet frustrating, talented and yet inconsistent, Keith Curle has given an insight into what it's like to manage Scunthorpe's mercurial striker Kevin van Veen ahead of Saturday's reunion at Glanford Park.

Van Veen enjoyed his best run of form for the Cobblers following Curle's appointment 12 months ago as he scored 10 goals across all competitions during the first half of last season, six coming under Curle.

The Dutchman was described as 'complex' by his manager after scoring a brilliant individual goal during Town's 2-1 victory at Oxford United last season - Curle's first win as Cobblers manager - but he remained a regular member of the team up until his transfer back to Scunthorpe in January.

Van Veen initially struggled on his return to Glanford Park but he has four goals in his last six games and while Curle is looking forward to seeing his former striker this weekend, he knows as well as anyone the threat he will pose his side.

"I called him my princess when I first came in and when you find a princess you need to look after them," said the Town manager. "That's Kevin but undoubtedly he's got fantastic ability that's well above this division on his day.

"He could play at a lot higher level with his ability but the thing is, and I think a lot of other people have found - not just myself - is trying to get him tuned in to having those days more consistently.

"That's an issue that a lot of managers and a lot of coaches will find but, as a person and as an individual, I've got time for Kevin and I like him because I know there's a player in there.

"He can score goals and he will score goals that other players in this division can't score, but sometimes what lets Kevin down are the fundamentals that a lot of players do in this division."