Buckle up! Oranje starts again!

We had our time, for crying, for mourning, for self-obsessed analysis and for memories…

Now is the time to look forward again. As our EC2020 campaign will start now basically!

Huh? I hear you think… no, the campaign doesn’t start until the qualifiers? But Koeman is quite clear: we will take every minute moving forward serious. There will be no “friendlies”, we will not have Wesley Sneijder being carried off the pitch as a sentimental gesture.

Koeman made his intentions clear from the start: no more Hotel Oranje, no more press in the hotel, no more visits to cafes and restaurants and beach walks… We work behind closed doors now and we work.

Koeman bring a level of urgency to the job. Impatience. But the former Barca skipper also has a bit of humour. When an English reporter asked him at the press conference why his statue wasn’t among the statues in Zeist of Oranje legends (Cruyff, Michels, Bergkamp, Gullit) he responded: “Well, I wasn’t good enough clearly. But in two years I might get a statue…” Followed by a wry smile.

When players or guests walk onto the Zeist complex, they’ll see several photos. We can see the Oranje 1988 group, photos of the Big Four in South Africa 2010 (in case you forgot: Van Persie, Van der Vaart, Sneijder, Robben) and the last photo on the wall is the current generation: Memphis, Wijnaldum, De Vrij, Dost…

The world class player has left the building for now, and Koeman will have to replace these players by building a solid team. “The reality is, that team spirit and playing style will be more important than the individual quality we can muster.”

Koeman and Dwight Lodeweges

Koeman stepped into a record low situation before. He joined Feyenoord in 2011, when the proud club was number 10 in the Eredivisie and had lost 10-0 against PSV only months before. He came in and created clarity. He developed a simple playing style, he gave the youngsters his trust and he demanded one thing: sharpness. Focus. Commitment. (That’s three things, Ronald!)

At his first training session, they did a rondo (circle of players with 1 or 2 in the middle having to take the ball from the others). Koeman joined in and never spent a second in the middle. He was still the best player. Last Monday, with Oranje, he did the same thing. He joined in the rondo and showed them who he was. “Sometimes you need to demonstrate why you are the Boss.”

At Feyenoord, he said: “My door is always open. If you don’t get something, just come in and ask me.” No player ever did. Not because they were afraid, but because he was crystal clear in what he expected.

Koeman is happy with the move to Zeist. “In Noordwijk, they would take 15 mins to go from car to the lobby, due to all the media and friends. Then they’d shake hands and go to their room to come out later for dinner. Now, it’s different, we close the door behind the complex and we’re free to roam, we hang out, some players check the gym, some starting to play table tennis. Its more intimate for us. Less distractions.”

Koeman spent his weeks before the coming together of the Oranje lions with a plethora of people. Former coaches Hiddink, Blind, Van Gaal. Ex players Robben, Sneijder. Coaches Van Bronckhorst, Van de Brom, Cocu, Ten Hag and others. “I want to have a clear and broad picture. You only have one chance to prepare for your first weeks.”

One of the things he heard: Oranje needs more discipline. “I think we will work hard now and in May (Italy and Slovakia friendlies) to create clarity. Once we start with the Nations League, we need to be ready. Players need that clarity, but so do I.”

What can we expect for the England game? Koeman: “You can expect to see a team with an attitude, with a will to win. A team that will play for a good result.”

Dost, Hateboer, De Roon

Asked about the potential return of Van Persie, Koeman says this: “He never retired from international duties, like Robben and now Sneijder. And I’m not interested in age. I’m interested in quality and you can see even in his short runs in the Feyenoord team that he still has that quality. So, when he’s fit and in form, why not?”

A new system also seems to be way to go for Oranje under Koeman. New hotel, new training complex, no more dominant superstars and also a move to the 3-4-3 or 5-3-2. Hans Hateboer, the right wing back of Atalanta: “Yeah, I guess that is why I am here.” Stefan de Vrij of Lazio: “I am feeling comfortable in the 5-3-2 system and I think most players do, these days.”

A lot of smiling faces, but Bas Dost’s face predicts a storm. “Well, I came here to show my worth, dammit. I’m getting sick of being told that I’m good enough to be top scorer in Portugal but I can’t do shit in Oranje. I’m sick of it.” Dost never made a dent in Oranje. “I made my debut in a friendly, in which we played 5-3-2. After that I had some sub turns in different systems, with different players around me. I was never sure what was expected from me. After the Sweden at home game, I was done with Oranje. I had had it. But that was then. I’m feeling super fit, I’m good in my head, I really want to be part of it again, under this new coach. And I do hope we will get clarity. If Koeman tells me he wants to use another player, fine. As long as I know.”

Guus Til

Memphis is very aware of the clock ticking. The former worldclass talent is now 24 years old and still not a certain starter for Lyon. Ronald Koeman is convinced: “I wanted to sign Memphis for Everon. So I invited him to my home in England and we spent some time together. I actually think he’s a great prospect. Sometimes I see things of him in the media and I think: you should have done that differently, but he’s definitely a great kid with the potential to be our future leader on the pitch. He has above average qualities. But it’s up to him too. I’m willing to do what I must to get the best out of him, but it takes two to tango.”

The Oranje team vs England will probably look something like this:


De Vrij    Van Dijk   De ligt

Hateboer   Wijnaldum   Propper   Van Aanholt

Promes    Dost    Memphis

Strootman and Berghuis will most likely play the second friendly vs Portugal. The choice of goalie is still a question mark but I think Koeman will go for the PSV goalie, who is in good form and plays regularly, with Cillesen as #2.

The last decision to be made: the new skipper for Oranje.

Strootman was in the hierarchy before. De Vrij skippered Feyenoord under Koeman and Van Dijk seems to be a strong candidate as well, with Daley Blind on the short list as well, once he’s fit and playing regularly again.

Below, photos of the new Oranje home at Zeist.

Bookmark and Share


  1. After a long time im hearing the friendlys will be taken seriously.this is exactly where you wanna start building the team. I still remember there were some on this blog who use to say friendlys are jus friendlys and mind you look at what happened and how many teams have surpassed NT. I like koemans vibe and hopefully in the two games he will use different lineups.

    The only problem I have with the lineup above is the midfield. Wijnaldum and Propper could be to light with no creativity.

    England too most probably will deploy 3-4-3.

    Alli- Vardy- Sterling

    Young- henderson- Dier/Wilshere- walker

    Migure-Stones- tarkowski/Dier


  2. Truthfully, I think the players that are guaranteed a spot in our starting 11 shouldn’t have a big role in these two games.

    I think Ronald should be looking at which fringe players are ready to step up.

    1. good one Derek. Both England and Portgual,then Italy and Slovakia are good teams. by the end of these four games,koeman should be have a fair idea which group of players to focus on and which ones to release. for example Wijnaldum, if he doesnt step up this time around, then jus might as well let him focus on Liverpool only. same goes for strootman.

      1. @Derek, Wilson, I’m not disagreeing with either of you, but who at present would you simply pencil as a guaranteed starter?…I suppose, maybe Van Dijk?…But even if he is an automatic choice, if you are trying to build a cohesive back 3, you’d want the defenders playing together as much as possible…that is why these friendlies should be fun to watch.

        1. You’re right. I thought about it again, and van Dijk is probably the only concrete spot, with maybe Wijnaldum in there. I think Memphis should always retain a spot in the squad, even if it’s not as a winger.

          So maybe these two are to figure out starters, and then the next two you can do a little figuring out.

          1. as I said earlier this is not the time circle the name of a particular player.For me Van Dijk is also vulnerable. if he gets committed upfront, you need to have players who can cover him particular midfielders otherwise they will get pegged.then you look at Bruma, I would rate him above De Vij, but he is prone to mistakes but then again in a three man defense it could be another story. Ake and De ligt who is better. these are things that needs to be streamlined through rotation

            other very important thing I would like to reiterate here is the importance of lying a good platform for talents who are just on the horizon. you can just feel it it about to happen and even if NT doesnt qualify for EC 2020, the platform will be stepping stone the other players who will be in contention for 2022.

        2. Since its a new start, I would say rotate the players and once the best combo is identified then hit the ground rolling. remember these are four good teams and will be perfect opportunity to gauge the players in terms of their ceiling and who have the potential to step up.

          Portgual is also a good team and I wont be surprised if they are the dark horse at WC.

          1. Portugal team is pragmatic and solid…they play to win..they know how to win it..

  3. Devrij and Virgil are of almost same type…i dont think it will work…
    Vandijk should be flanked by Deligt and Mensah not Devrij…
    Propper can be deadly striker than dost and he has proven that in NT…but he too light weight for midfeild..

  4. Koeman confirms he won’t be using 4-3-3 to start for these four friendlies, meaning he’s probably going to be using 5-3-2 like he did with Feyenoord. Though with the number of wingers he called, it will probably be more of 3-4-3.

    1. the first half was ok apart from Bijlows Howler. Groeneveld was defintely the brightest of them all and again scored the only goal. Idrissi is the top goal scorer for Jong Orange and given he wasn’t substituted in shows Groenevelds authority in the game. not sure about Berwijn as centre forward.Lammerts zivokovic,Bacuna and Vlap,Eiting all came in after the break but had no impact compared Belgians who made 8 subs after the break.

    2. KNVB has been using trash coaches for U21 for so many years and never learn the lesson. Cor Pot, Koster, Langeler, ….under them we got thrashed by Belgium, lost to Austria, Israel, Czech, Macedonia, Scotland, Sweden, Slovakia,Georgia, a lot of teams that have way worse quality players, this is hard to watch

      1. Not really really.this was a very good a squad.

        First half

        Groeneveld – Bergwijn- cellment


        Ramselaar- Koopmeiners

        Van Drongelen- Hoogma- Rosario- Dumfries.

        2nd half

        Groeneveld- Lammers- Zivkovic


        Bacuna- Eiting

        Van Drongelen- Hoogma- Rosario- Dumfries


        De ligt and Kluivert are in senior squad and I dont think there is any body else who could have done any better.very soft goals, Ramseelar was builled in the midfield and there was no cohesion between the backline and midfield.

        I was also looking at some of the names in the belgian side and most of them are active in beligan pro league and have clocked up more minutes than that of the dutch and as mentioned earlier their 8 subs after the break was as good as the starting 11.

          1. are you kiddingme Oulanare (their best player on the field) was trash for Willem II, no way this Belgian U21 has more quality, they play well together, but individually I highly doubt they are better than the dutch ones, all the player in dutch team except Groeneveld,Rosario, Eiting have logged up a lot of mins in Eredivisie, and the other three plays regularly for Eerste divisie. If you look back at U21’s record, there is pattern for the dutch to lose to lesser teams, Belgium, lost to Austria, Israel, Czech, Macedonia, Scotland, Sweden, Slovakia,Georgia, it’s not happened once but multiple times, this is a coaching issue not a quality issue. I remember back when Promes was in the team we thrashed scotland by 6:1, a year later we lost to scotland 1:3.

          2. I dont wanna go into a agrument here as this was first cap for the likes of Groenevald, Vlap, Clement, Eiting.if you are saying Jong orange didnt play as a team than I cant agree with you.

            You can be talented but being experienced brings another ball game to the play and this has happened many times.when I first saw the lineup for the beligan side I only knew two players. Cools (RB-club brugge) and Dimata (CF-Wolfburg) and if I have to compare them to Dumfries, Bergwijn and Lammers who played the same position, the beligan had heavier belt.

            I remember that scotland game.if im not wrong then it was Albert stuivenberg who gave Ziyech his debut for Jong Orange. In which game they lost 3-1. I have no idea.the recent was 2-0 which was last year. But since you have talked about this than that talented squad in 2014-2015 couldnt even surpass Solvakia in qualifers and ended up lossing to portugal in playoffs.

          3. And which oulanare are you talking about. Is it obbi oluare. It doesnt mean you play in a shit team, that you are a shit player.again he is a established player with somewhat more experience(club brugge, watford, zulte, WillemII, antwerp)than lammers,Bergwijn etc .what do you expect to happen when they team up at u21 level and face off with the likes of against, Rosario Hoogma, van drongelen and others.

  5. Memphis and Promes are goal-scorer type wingers. Not a cross-the-ball type. Maybe the cross will come from Van Aanholt and Hatobeer.

    I hope it will be a great match to start a new era. A new generation.

    From what I see in the current generation is that there are no “world class” player anymore. Who knows that as a team they can beat every team in this world.

  6. Skipper decided: Van Dijk.

    Koeman says second options (with no particular order):Strootman, Wijnaldum, Blind

    Koeman stated no more 4-3-3, he didn’t say what system will be played but most believe 5-3-2 that can easily change to 3-5-2. Not confirmed however.

    Koeman said Strootman has made a very good impression and that Wijnaldum is also important for the team. Thus we might see them on the pitch (I am guessing)

    Game starts 12:45pm Pacific

      1. Was Van drongelen the number 4 (C in the second half)? Was terrible in the last three goals

        Valp seems an interesting player to follow. Do you know him? What can we expect from him?

  7. Official line up:5-3-2


    De Vrij — Van Dijk —De ligt
    Hateboer —————-Van Aanholt



    Why do you guys say that De Vrij and van Dijk should not play together?

    Strootman and Wijnaldum together. I will love to see van de Beek play in second half.

    We need a replacement for Propper…. urgently. It can be possible that he is our best creative midfield. I don´t have anything against him, just that we used to have amazing players there… and I miss that

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.