Dutch School in India: Wim Koevermans

Wim Koevermans with young Indian talent. Rob Baan on the right, behind him…

Only 22 Dutch players ever won senior gold with the National Team. That is not much, considering the tremendous talent Holland has had through the years. The likes of Swart, Moulijn, Keizer, Cruyff, Neeskens, Van Hanegem, Peters, Krol, Bergkamp, Kluivert, Seedorf, Frank de Boer, Roy, Blind, Van Nistelrooy, Van Bommel, etc etc never won gold.

Any one on the planet can give you the names of the most famous Trio that did, back in 1988… Goeliet. Vanbastan, Ricard or whatever they make of it… Most fans can tell you Wouters, Van Breukelen, Vanenburg and Koeman too… Only the diehards will tell you Van Tiggelen, Muhren and Van Aerle while it takes a real geek to go to the bench and name Bosman, Suvrijn and Van ‘t Schip.

Wim Koevermans is probably the least known gold medal winner of the EC1988. The tall defender was never a charismatic player and basically unknown in Holland even!

Never got to play for a big team (was Fortuna Sittard’s and FC Groningen’s central defender) and hasn’t played a lot of games ( only one! ) for the Dutch team.

But Koevermans was there, that summer in Germany and got part of the victor’s spills.

And he had a nice career in coaching since. Did all the courses, and ended up working for NEC Nijmegen and MVV Maastricht before working for the Dutch Federation (KNVB) in coaching management, structuring and lecturing and youth coaching.

He took a youth coaching job for the Irish federation, after Ireland consulted with the Dutch Federation on youth development and was their High Performance Director for a while, until a bigger challenge presented itself.

Today, Wim Koevermans is National Team Manager of India. A country with 2,1 billion inhabitants (give or take a couple) and inhabiting the 169th spot on the FIFA World Ranking. Room for improvement.

So how is he fairing in a country where the biggest club in the country just has been ousted from competition for two seasons… or where you suddenly find a holy cow on your training pitch….or where the best match pitches are worse than the worst amateur training fields in Groningen…?

Koevermans: “Rule one: don’t get annoyed. It will not help in any way. I think preparation is key. A lot of people move abroad not realising the difference in culture. I have prepared myself for this and I knew this would be my reality. I have to deal with it. You want to be successful? You have to get with the culture. This is why Hiddink is so successful abroad, partly and other big name coaches have had trouble… Good know how of the culture is key to success, is my statement.”

The odds are that India oozes talent. Has to be. If it’s a simple odds game and a certain % of youngsters have the gift, than China and India are super powers in the making… But…how do you find the talents? “India has an overarching federation, but under that sits 34 Indian states with 34 sub federations. Some of these states have more than 120 mio inhabitants. More people than France and Spain together!! Some sub federations are truly professional with a good staff and some others are manned by one or two volunteers…”

He goes on: “The level of talent here is pretty good. Technical skills are definitely there. They do have similar circumstances here as in Brazil… Sand, bad pitches, bad balls…all the circumstances to really learn to have quick feet and good skills. But tactically, it’s poor. Physically, it’s poor. In Holland, they teach you from the ages of 6 upwards to make the field bigger or smaller, depending on what the situation is… Here, they don’t. This is one thing we are working on. If you have good skills, a smaller pitch is in your advantage.”

Cricket is India’s sport #1. No doubt about. Ask an Indian kid who he wants to be and it’s not Messi or Beckham or Van Persie.

Football pitches are normally lined out on cricket fields, in multifunctional stadiums.

Koef: “The development in India will be slow. But also sure. Once they commit, they do it. I don’t see India partaking in any World Cup soon, but progression is possible for sure. We recently won the Nehru Cup by beating Cameroon. Sure, it was Cameroon’s B-team but still a strong team. That was a good confirmation of what we will be capable of.”

How did you prepare for this job?

Koevermans: “I started with the culture. I talked to people from the ITIM International group, specialized in management in different cultures. I studied the Indian culture, how do people deal with each other, how can I best transfer know how, how can I best organise meetings, etc…. Rob Baan has been Technical Director here since October 2011 (the former Feyenoord, KNVB and Australian FA tech boss) and I talk to him a lot too.”

“In terms of football, a big nation is a benefit but also a challenge. Watching a couple of games is like flying through Europe or the US. I watched a lot of videos and analysed the work of my predecessor (Bob Houghton). He did really well, but molded an English style of play. Lots of high balls, aerial challenges and pace. For this reason, you see a lot of African born lads in the local competition. Which makes sense, as the Indian physiology is not for that type of game. Fleet of foot, smart, flexible, skillfull… Indian football should be more like Dutch or Spanish football.”

“For the Nehru Cup, I invited 38 players. My assistents told me an Indian player will never tell you he is injured. But I also wanted to have personal meetings with all players. And I wanted to see them all perform on a pitch. I told them my football philosophy and how we would do things. Quite a challenge as you cannot be as direct and confrontational as we are in Holland. The team doctor was an important influence for me. He is our culture guardian.”

“I also introduced video analysis. That helped a lot to get my vision across. You can pick situations and then match those with how the better teams deal with those… They hardly use wingers. It’s very 4-4-2 oriented. I introduced 4-3-3 and we are very dominantly using the flanks. And then you enter the next problem: players telling me they hear and learn things with me they never hear at club level….”

How does Koevermans involve the club coaches?

“That is a challenge. For starters, I do work and talk with them when I visit games, but it’s always limited of course. Secondly, coaches in India do not have a long use-by-date… Thirdly, the quality of their coach diploma is…not that good… We need to do some work on that….

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  1. Thank you Jan. I admitted I did not know much about this man, except everytime I looked at the 88 winning picture, then I always wonder who some of the players are (and Koevermans is one of them). India has not done well in the past, I do not know if Koevermans can help them to advance any further in WC qualification in Asia group. Japan, South Korea and Middle East team like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia dominate this region for the past 20 years.
    Van Persie is in the slump, 6 games no goal. Wonder if it is his mentality?
    Sneijder is looking toward Real’s game. Perhaps the emotion and history (Real, Inter, Mourinho) will bring out his best form?

    1. Last season he also slowed down near the end with Arsenal. also was unable to score against weaker opposition and break Shearers EPL record. He was in a damn good position, but the goals simply dried up. This time around he does almost the same, but now it will probably cost him. Last season only Rooney threatened him for the personal honers, now Bale and Suarez are running on all cylinders. He was in poll position, but has probably thrown everything away over the past month. He still wins the Premier League though, something those players can’t say and also the reason he came to United. He can also still win the FA cup.

      1. I really want to see RvP leading ManU towards FA Cup.

        Anyways, what’s up with him getting no goals towards the end of the season. Is that caused by his teammates not supplying him enough or opponent defenders figuring out how to defend agains RvP closer to the end of the season? That makes me sad.

        Btw, I know it’s a stupid question, but when does Oranje play next qualifiers against Romania/Estonia?


        1. Hurshi…
          Somehow it is not happening.he has got chances to score.bit lack of luck or may be he missed some matches as per their roation policy.
          it happens at times.But when i saw him Vs reading i felt that he was frustrated coz of lack of goals from his boot.Still he is lethal with ball and create space for others..

        2. 22-03-2013 against Estonia and 26-03-2013 against Romania. Both games are played in the Amsterdam ArenA.

          Concerning RvP, I saw him yesterday also hit idiotic balls from far off the goal. Looked like a combination of frustration and trying to get a feeling back. It’s a combination of factors. The feeling is out of the foot, the delivery from wingers and players behind him is sub par, the CL exit has done some mental damage, he maybe needs to recharge a bit as he has played almost every important game.

          Maybe he needs to be benched for Chicharito. That might give him a wake up call. There is nothing wrong with a bit of hurt or fear at times, though I would be the first one being pissed hearing he starts from the bench after I tune in to watch a United game.

          The main thing though is that RvP or at least many of his coaches never understood that he needs a shutler behind him. Kagawa is more dynamic than Sneijder, but is not vertical enough. Rooney has lost that ability to really get past other players. Giggs has also lost a lot. The players behind RvP are not vertical enough and Welbeck who has what RvP needs, is played more to the side than behind him. Such a set up can help RvP to get past a slow period, but it’s not happening. This whole season I have not seen state of the art delivery or chemistry between RvP and the rest of the team. Patterns with repetitive success that no opponent whatever their strength, had an answer to. The delivery from the wings has even been plain bad for United standards. That really needs to be sorted out for next season.

          Also before Messi (and maybe Ronaldo) people understood that no player could be consistently good all season long. RvP has been very good now for 2.5 years. We all forget that he was also the best EPL player in the last half of the 2010-2011 season after coming back from injury.

  2. I think India is up there with the biggest underperforming nations in the world if it comes to sport. Cricket I know nothing about, but surely a country with over 1 billion people can dominate in more than 1 sport. Last Olympics I looked at India again and they did win some medals, but no gold. They really need some expertise and in that regard Koevermans is doing a great job and maybe create some talent hotbeds that helps the county to move on to a higher level.

    Moving on to overperforming, I checked the Elo ranking on Wikipedia and I was pleased to learn Netherlands surpassed England over the past 50 years:


    All matches counted and weighted properly even brings us close to Italy and far ahead of Argentina, Spain and France. How impressive is that?

  3. Van Ginkel was pretty beast again today against Ado, a tough team at home. He had 2 assists and 1 excellent goal. That brings his total to 17 goal contributions (goals+assist) in Eredivisie this season. Maher is on 9 and the ones from van Ginkel also weigh heavier as they have delivered Vitesse many points (difference making goals/assists). This comparison is skewed by different team strengths both players operate in, but it does drive the point home that van Ginkel produces a lot and does that from a deep position with loads of defensive tasks also to take care of.

    To advance the discussion: What would make van Ginkel unleash his full potential for Dutch NT? Basically we need to look at the Bony-van Ginkel partnership and put a guy in front of him that can hold up a ball and make brilliant flicks in the path of his deep runs….. : RVP. I think van Ginkel and RVP will have a better click than RVP and Afellay even. Bonus: van Ginkel looks up all the time to pass, while Afellay looks down during his dribble. Would love to see this click happen in Dutch NT.

    1. “”” I think van Ginkel and RVP will have a better click than RVP and Afellay even. Bonus: van Ginkel looks up all the time to pass, while Afellay looks down during his dribble. “””””” Very accurate this is the part i hate from Afellay.thats why i consider him less intelligernt than other new guys…

          1. So… no evidence then. Thought so.

            Also, what a comeback! Real zinger there, genius 😛

        1. Dude, you don’t have to bury him every time. I would check youtube, plenty of proof that Afellay looks to the ground when he dribbles, he doesn’t look for other players. I’ve seen it too. It makes his delivery late. He does have a tendency to slow the team sometimes.

  4. Decided to check out on Ebecilio:


    Had a pretty good game recently, but not on his position. The comment section also provides some info. He is a nephew of Bruma by the way.

    Heard that Bruma made a defensive mistake with a header for Hamburg today resulting in a 1-0 loss. The thing I keep reading is how talented he is, but also how inconsistent he is within games. Going from having a bad half to a very good second half or the other way around.

    That’s called experience, something he deprived himself from. Now fans at Hamburg are losing their patience with him. No sh*t.

  5. Defenders: Gaël Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Christophe Jallet (Paris Saint-Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Newcastle United)

    I was jealous when I saw the defenders france have for spain game next week, evra, jallet varane, clichy!!
    would u guys be able to compare our defensive roster to theirs?? DRB300? opinion?

    1. Missed this question, but there is really little to analyse here.

      If I was given some kind of machine to design and build the perfect defender, Varane would probably be the result of that process. Complete comfort on the ball, great orientation of his surroundings, very fast, big and strong, good header (defensive and attacking) and most important for me: elegant. IIRC there is a stat out there that Varane did not make a foul in his first 5 or 8 games for Real Madrid. Irony that Pepe is in the same team as him. It’s good that Varane came on the scene when Messi played the game. Otherwise people would wonder how he would hold up against him. Now we know. When his girlfriend does the laundry for him, she comes asking him what Messi is doing in one of his pockets.

      Netherlands has nothing that even comes close to this guy. Does not mean that Varane does not make mistakes (tackle on Nani was a red card and the goal Madrid conceded on Old Trafford was also due to his mistake), but it’s the overall class of his game jumps out to me. Ake maybe has the awareness and football ability of Varane (still debatable), but not the speed and physique.

      As for all the others it’s a bit of a stretch to go player by player. France even has more defenders to their disposal than those you list here, however I am not impressed one bit by Jallet. I love Laurent Koscielny more than other people do. Apart from Varane, it’s only a good defense, but France has been far more impressive in the past. I think it is more a case of Dutch defense being pretty bad.

      Dutch defense is just not good enough to go deep with. The slip of de Vrij this weekend was another example of his character. De Vrij is no killer. He will always make a mistake. Against Italy he was also not free from blame for the goal. I like him for his football ability though. Janmaat is pretty much a sign that Dutch youth development is lacking. He is like the canary in the coalmine. He is the signal something is not right. If such a player is able to become first team material, then something is wrong with a country’s defender development. Janmaat can’t defend, can’t head a ball, has mediocre technique and a bad cross. He basically is a defensive, less technical Dirk Kuyt kind of player put on the back position. An energy bunny that tells us that with hard work you get into the Dutch NT. BMI remains a pretty poor footballer and is no killer either, certainly not as a left back. Van Rhijn makes too many mistakes and starts to walk back as well, just like van der Wiel after 2010. Büttner, Willems and PVA are all headless chickens at left back. Willems is very good in the small spaces and has a good technique, but will never develop a good cross. Blind is now our first choice left back probably, and though he does posses intelligence, he is simply not build for the job. The right brain in the wrong body. Mathijsen is over the hill, despite making a mini come back for Feyenoord in quality and Vlaar is far from solid for Villa. I mean there was a time people smiled away the prospect of Vlaar plying at the back for Dutch NT. He was our best defender against Romania. For me that tells a story about lowered standards.

      I can’t remember a time of us being this fragile at the back.


  7. Indian football is on the rise! They currently have a few gems who would become global names if only they had the physical strength to compete with the big boys! Yes am talking about one Sunil Chhetri. He is a brilliant forward currently on loan from Sporting Lisbon and playing for Churchill Brothers. It’s tough for him to compete with van Wolfswinkel and co. at Lisbon but he his real skillful. Other players with real Potential from the Indian Squad is listed below…

    GK Subrata Pal – 26
    DF Raju Gaikwad – 22
    FW Jeje Lalpekhlua – 22
    FW Robin Singh – 22
    FW Sunil Chhetri (c) – 28

    Add to these the PIO’s (Players of Indian origin) still eligible to play for India…and we have a decent team in the making

  8. other players from India that could play….

    Michael Chopra – Ipswich Town
    Rajiv van la Parra – SC Heerenveen
    Harmeet Singh – Feyenoord
    Furdjel Narsignh – FC Volendam
    Diego Biseswar – Kayserispor
    Netan Sansara – FC Vestsjælland
    Kiran Bechan – FC Atyrau
    Rewien Ramlal – RKC Waalwijk
    Ricardo Kishna –
    Harpal Singh – Guiseley
    Jasbir Singh – Moors
    etc etc etc

      1. Yes he has indian heritage…Be frank as an indian i will always support Narsingh but ,dutch has better players in his spot…if all forgin based players play for india they would get a spot in WC.they would get more populairty if they do that.they will become closer to even Messi and CR7 interms of popularity.If india refrain from cricket,populairty will reduce by minimum of 60 %..kovermans is doing better than houghton..key jay to kovermans.

  9. I want Sneijder and Gala to go through but I think its going to be a Bundeliga versus La Liga semii-final UCL. Madrid, Barca, Dortmund, Bayern to advance!

  10. Solid Ajax at Alkmaar. It’s important for us (Ajax fans) to head to the Philips Stadion as Eredivisie leaders. Blind is getting better in his offensive play. Maher a bit sub par today.

  11. Luciano Narsingh and Aron Winter both were from India and both will have long succesful careers for ORANJE..even wijnaldum is part Indian :O

  12. Alberto, totally agree with you. The game today was a hard fought win. We should have scored at least 5 and put the game beyond doubt but still great win. AZ are way better than the rankings indicate. They will give PSV a hard time as well especially because they need points to stay up. As long as we keep winning we are in control of our destiny.

  13. Here is my suggestion: the old impressive netherlands national teams were almost Ajax plus three or 4 good players from outside the Netherlands: I remember our qualifier in 1995 against Ireland it was a playoff game to qualify for the euro 1996, and who hiddink starts that day? I remember van der sar-f.deboer-dani blind-reizeger-davids-seedorf-r.deboer-overmars-bergkamp-kulivert-and there was a right winger I can’t remember his name now! There were 8 players from Ajax that day plus bergkamp plus seedorf plus that wing who played at arsenal(bergkamp was at inter I guess and seedorf at sampdoria) all the other guys were still at Ajax. Coming back to our current time and thinking how the national teams that had mainly one club in their team did well last year in the euros, take Italy they had 6 starting from Juve, Spain 7 from barca, Germany had 7 from bayern. So yesterday when I was watching feyenoord line up against Utrecht I noticed the orange could be pretty much them, look at this: Steklenburg-blind-de vrij-martins indi-janmaat-clasie-vilhena-sneijder-boetiu-van persie-robben, this way u have ur team very well mixed and u have players who know each other by heart, I would love to see something like that ! Ur defense plus defensive midfield is feyenoord plus Daley blind or someone in his place!! Isn’t that nice?

    1. would be nice if it really works. let’s hope LvG try it at least for 1 game, so that we can evaluate whether the Feyenoord-centered NT doing good.

    2. Yes, this may be an important idea, and it may just be that Van Gaal has already been operating with this as a core value (it may be one reason, for example, why Ruben Schaken is chosen).

      Having a flagship club is a real advantage for some NTs. In Holland at the moment, Feyenoord is the old Ajax — the winning club with the strongest grass roots. That’s why Feyenoord looks so attractive now that you just have to pull for them, for the sake of NT voetbal. (Don’t get me wrong: I love to watch Ajax; I’d just love to watch them more if they were more Dutch.)

      Vilhena is impressing with his weekly starts, and he has something Maher right now does not: a spot at Feyenoord, working with the core of the new Dutch NT.

      We’ll see where Maher lands next season. I’ve been hoping for Ajax. But if Immers could be sold, could Maher fit with Vilhena at Feyenoord?

      1. I really like the idea of a Clasie – Maher – Vilhena midfield at Feyenoord. I just don’t see where the money would come from to afford it.

        Saying that, what if AZ were relegated and Feyenoord win the league guaranteeing Champions League football…

        1. Even if AZ fall into the relegation zone, I doubt they would lose the playoffs. And Willem II has last place locked up, so no need to worry about them coming last.

          But it’s definitely interesting to speculate what would happen if they dropped. I imagine Ajax would snap up Maher before Feyenoord, or maybe P$V would even offer him some ridiculous contract. It would also be interesting to see if Altidore stays in the Eredivisie – Maybe replace Bony at Vitesse

    3. Good idea..how many we will get from feynoord for starting 11 and in 23…???
      lets forget Deguzman,vlaar and perise,may be aged Joris..
      then it would be Devrij,janmaat,BMI,Vilhena and boetius…or may be schaken….

    4. Ireland Vs Holland – Euro ’96 Playoff – the LEGENDARY Anfield.
      I was at that game!

      Pretty sure Jack Charlton (Irish coach) had said before the match that 1 pass over the top was as good as 30 on the ground. Well, we Ajax boys showed them it wasn’t.

      Of all the nations we have beaten over the years, the Irish were the most humble and charming that evening. I traded my Oranje scarf with an Irish fan for his, which I still have in my collection. I had gotten my scarf at the Holland vs Belgium WC’94 match (we lost 1-0).
      Of course, I then promptly bought another Oranje scarf from an Anfield street trader moments later – and THAT scarf is the one I am actually wearing today, and every day over winter, and have done ever since. It has served me well over the years, and it’s one I will NEVER give away.

      That was some Ajax team back then, big stars, and a pretty good national team too.

      It does help to have a club centric national team, but I’d hate it to be those Rotterdamers… 😛

  14. i’m Ajax fan but i do not mind the idea (whatever it takes to win the WC). i’m sure jan is smiling right now reading about a Feyenoord-centered NT. i am sure some Ajax players can crack the starting lineup but Feyenoord will dominate.

  15. Me too I am a die hard Ajax fan and don’t mind one bit that Feyenoord is carrying the load. However, there is a huge difference between the Holland of 96 which was based on the then Ajax of 95 and this Holland of 2013 which is based on the current Feyenoord team; and that is Ajax won everything in 95 and was by far the best team in the world. We can hardly say that about this current Feyenoord team.

  16. @DRB 3000 …how is Virjil Van dijk ,he is been linked to EPL clubs like Newcastle etc.I have not seen him much.What i felt in short time was inexperinence and lack of concentration.What is your opinion about him.He is tall,strong and athletic ,i mean a perfect build for english football.

    1. consistency, Tiju. it’s not only assessed based on one-week performance.

      oh, and van der vaart started all HSV games except for the last one, when he got a fever. LvG isn’t dropping him yet, so perhaps he may recover just in time.

  17. For my curiosity i checked turkish league out of 17 matchs kuyt has scored 14 goals.Second scorer for Fenerbache.Fenerbache is doing very well in turkish league.I have sen him EPl many times he took more than 40 games with full 90 minutes to score 15 goals in a season.whats the reason?lack of quality in turkish league and or kuyt is in form??May be thats the reason he gets the call from Vangaal.

  18. Miguel, I think Strootman can play CB (I think LVG should try like Rinus did with Haan in 74-78 or Rijkaard in 88).
    About Kuyt, perhaps he can play there but judging from his ability to pass back or chasing the ball, I think Kuyt will do well as the defensive midfield. This will open up another spot on the wing for Boetius or Ola John or Narsingh or Depay as Robben’s backup. This way hopefully we have more balance attack in both wings (it is more difficult for opponent to focus on Robben) and trust me, Kuyt will chase the ball very well and earns Heineken like goldstone said.

  19. Hello Guys:

    I want to bring a new topic here, and it is about the need to take advantage of the next EC U-21.

    I think LVG should take this opportunity to give “big tournament experience” to the players that will be the base of the next NT for Brazil 2014. And we have to win it also!

    My argument here is that these players, who soon will be the core of the NT, need experience on a big tournament, because they will play the next WC being so young.

    Who are they? IMO:

    I will present them in this form:

    Position/Started/ Substitute/………… Notorious discarded

    RB (2): van Rhijn, Bruma
    RCB (3): De Vrij, van der Hoorn /……………. Virgil van Dijk
    LCB (4): Bruno Martins Indi, Nuytinck
    LB (5): Daley Blind/ Willems / ……. Van Aanhold
    DM (6) : Clasie / Fer …………………….. Van Oijen
    MM (8. box to box): Strootman / Van Ginkel/………… Vilenha
    OM (10): Maher / Wijnaldum
    RW (7): Narshing / Boetius
    CS (9): Luuk De Jong / Locadia/ ……… Castaignos
    LW (11): Ola John / Depay

    Now, the NT on the next WC should be form adding to that core team, big manes like: Lens, V. Persie, Huntelaar, Sneijder, Robben (for sure) and maybe Heitinga, Vlaar, VdW, Van der Vaart… and with less chance: Douglas, Viergiver, Emanuelson…

    What do you think about this selection?

  20. I also think the U-21 EC will be important for those young players but also for LVG in order to see which players are the best from that group.

  21. Anyone know who are gonna be the central forwards or strikers for U21?

    @DRB300 or can anyone give analysis who are closer to NT and to replace RVP type central forward and Hunter – poacher type striker?

    I come up with few names:
    RVP type central forward (or 9.5 to borrow FdB term)
    Anass Achahbar
    Nacer Barazite
    Davy Klaassen (currently injured?)

    Hunter – poacher type striker
    Jürgen Locadia
    Luc Castaignos
    Genero Zeefuik

    1. > The generic players (9.5 players):

      RVP started his career at the left wing when getting in the Feyenoord first team. In their youth academy he operated more behind the striker. Under Marco van Basten I remember him playing from the right wing some occasions and I think he also played on that spot for Arsenal at times, but mostly from the left. After Adebayor left Arsenal the striker position was his at Arsenal and van Marwijk followed his club position for the NT.

      Point is that RVP kind of players could play all 4 spots if necessary. IMO there are 2, maybe 3 players that show similar trades. Depay (PSV) and Kishna (Ajax) come first to mind. The last one I have to see more from to be certain, but I think he is such a player. I often get annoyed with the rigid mindset to play the fast players exclusively on the wing. I want my striker to have insane speed as well. What was wrong with Henry as striker (also former winger)? I think Boëtius is another player that could play on all 4 positions if asked. In center it’s more crowded and players need to have a good technique in the small spaces. Those three have such technique. Boëtius was actually a right winger throughout his youth and has also been striker. People see him operate now at the left side and so conclude he is a left winger, end of story. He simply is not. Koeman needs to fabricate the strongest team with little money. Schaken operates better from the right side (look at his assist lately to Pelle) and is selected for the Dutch NT on top of that. So with Cisse injured and Fernandez not being good enough, Boëtius came into the picture for the left wing. Depay’s most beautiful ball so far in his career was the one on Lens against AZ, from a deeper behind the striker position last season. He also scores a lot when getting in front of the goal. Pretty clinical. Bit of a Suarez kind of player. Depay in a recent game was played from the right wing by the way and put on 1 or 2 very nice crosses. Again, can play all 4 positions IMO.

      So in terms of RVP we have 3 guys in the making, though I am not sure they can ever reach his height. Not sure about their hold up play also, but RVP was not that strong on their age either. You only have to look at Lens to know that being build a bit smaller does not mean you can’t win a lot of duels.

      Achahbar is simply not fast enough for the wing and will only really shine in a dominating team that plays on the half of the opponent. The tighter the spaces the better he is to use, as he is the most technical gifted youngster in the Netherlands. I think that in time he could be a brilliant answer to bunker teams that Netherlands meets in qualification games in Europe (and those are very important games as well!). So even in case he does not turn out to be a big hit and a man for all seasons, in time, he could still fulfill an important role as a player with a special skill set that represents great value if used on the right moments.

      Klaasen I don’t think will ever become a pillar for the Dutch NT. He operates best behind the striker. Klaasen is for me a bit similar to Siem de Jong in that he can go missing in games as well, but can score a goal and so is a player with high return/efficiency. The point for me about RVP is that he does far more than scoring goals and shows class every time he touches the ball. I have yet to see Klaasen having that. Bit of an underwhelming player.

      Barazite has switches allegiance to Netherlands B, aka Morocco. Seriously, how many players does that country use that have been raised and educated by Netherlands and France? As many talented youngsters in the Netherlands are of Moroccan descent this will be a reoccurring theme the next decades. Ajax biggest talent is also from Moroccan descent.

      Ola John has the vision an technique as well to play more central behind the striker, but I think is not clinical enough for striker position. His cross though is a way too special to let be unused, so he really should operate from the left or right wing. If he dries up as a winger (most wingers lose their juice over time, look at Elia) I would like to see him behind the striker.

      > The poachers (pure 9 players):

      Luuk de Jong

      I know that Luuk operates a lot outside the box and even set up his own goal this last weekend but he remains a guy that depends on others creating for him and is so underwhelming in his field play. No flair. Locadia though is a player that operates more close to the box but has a real nice eye for the assist. Going wide and cross the ball into the box or tracks the ball back to and incoming player. Dost is most poacher of them all IMO. Even more than Hunter.

      In the Dutch youth NT, Walian (Ajax) and van der Moot (PSV) probably fall into this category as well. We have to wait a little longer to see them performing at an U17 Euro, so they get on TV. I have seen some clips of from van der Moot and he is very goal orientated player, taking the shot whenever he can.

      Zeefuik can be happy if Groningen wants to keep him. He has no business in the senior NT.

      Castaignos is more a counter striker. He is faster than many people think and always on the move. Very hard worker that benefits from turn over situations. A guy that should work the channels. Pretty poor technique though.

      1. “””””Dost is most poacher of them all IMO. Even more than Hunter. “””””””””””””””””
        Exactly ,he should be 2 and ricky wolf should be No3 ..Not kuyt and hunter..

      2. ‘The point for me about RVP is that he does far more than scoring goals and shows class every time he touches the ball.’

        This is where you lost me.
        I see a decent (massively over-rated) club player living on reputation and fleeting form.
        I see a talented but arrogant little boy in an Oranje shirt, choking.
        I see a trouble maker in the dressing room and a whiner on the pitch.

        He might be the best we’ve got, but let’s not start erecting statues just yet.

        Of more concern to me is the lack of anyone even remotely capable enough of replacing him, either now or when he retires.
        Who is the next Dutch Master?
        I don’t see any future world-beaters.
        They should be making names for themselves now…. the Cruyffs, the Van Bastens, the Bergkamps, the Van Persies, we all saw them coming at early ages.
        It’s not too early to judge. Talent stands out like a sore thumb. Who’s next? Our future, I fear, is not quite so bright.

        1. I understand your concern but the only thing we should concentrate on is building a solid group of players who can perform as a “team” and win some medals playing traditional Dutch attacking football..
          Our young guns are pretty talented and imho, quite underrated as well. People talk about the Goetzes, Reuses, Mullers,Lamelas, Balotellis of world football yet nobody gives a flying fuck about our talents..The reason is quite simple..The Dutch have always been underrated and underestimated. I bet players like Clasie and Strootman are as good as the Verattis or Montolivos of world football. You have to believe that success comes as a result of hard work, commitment and efficacy which these players do seem to possess. Look at Brazil…Do you see the next Ronaldo or the next Rivaldo or the next Romario coming up through their youth ranks? I don’t think so..It happens quite often..The next generation i.e the 94′ generation is an outstanding one.So chill! 🙂 .Lets keep our fingers crossed and keep cheering for those men in ‘Oranje’. HUP HOLLAND!!

          1. ‘The Dutch have always been underrated and underestimated’
            How old are you, may I ask?
            You see, I can remember a time when we were feared the world over!
            Ha! Kids these days………

            I don’t see how a comparison to Brasil is at all relevant to my initial question. My inquiry is directed at our own players – past and present. There is no international comparison to be made because the question did not merit one.

            Well, I don’t believe in crossing fingers! But yeah, I understand your enthusiasm and applaud it. I’m with you on that one!
            I’ve followed my beloved national team for over 40 years, at venues all across this planet – and this is the first time I haven’t seen the talent shining at an early age.
            I see a few average players with heads full of fast cars and new contracts.

        2. A little harsh on Van Persie, eh?

          Granted his form in an Orange shirt has never been what we wanted it to be, but let’s not take away everything he has accomplished in his career.

          And to say his form is “fleeting” because he has had a rough couple of weeks is a bit over the top.

          I don’t think you can have the season he had last year and start the way he did this season and be considered to be anything but a top world class player.

          Maybe this is the beginning of the end for him, but geez hasn’t the guy earned a little bit of a break?

          1. When he performs in an Oranje shirt like he does in his club shirt, I will change my view of him.

            Until then, no. He doesn’t earn a break.

            He’s supposed to be our best. He should step up to that mark, not hide behind it.

            I do not bleed Arsenal or Manchester United. I find those teams to be arrogant and insufferable. RVP fits right in.
            I bleed Oranje, and my main concern is that when our one-trick glass-bone show-pony finally hangs up his boots we have nothing to replace him with.

            I’ll ask again:
            Who is the next Dutch Master?

  22. Another Great article Jan! Being an Indian, I was overjoyed when Koevermans was appointed, I am sure the young lads would learn a lot from him!

    I wish to see India play at the WC at-least once but until then I shall support the Dutch with great pride!

  23. @DRB300 thanks for your great analysis.

    I don’t really follow Zeefuik or seeing him playing, it looks he was important in U21 qualification with 8 goals in 7 matches. SO I though he can be the main no9 in June U21 final. But with LdeJong, Dost and very recently Locadia also have been called, maybe he is not longer needed.

  24. Van Gaal said he would not use VDV and Sneijder both no ? +, it seems to be a very attacking midfield, Estonia isn’t Andorra, we definitly need at least Strootman or Clasie to play.

    According to AD : Stekelenburg; Janmaat, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind; De Guzman, Sneijder, Strootman; Schaken, Van Persie, Robben.

    It seems quite realistic, but I don’t get the use with Schaken, not a bad player at all, but what’s the aim to let him to play as much ? He is almost 31 and we have too many wingers who are younger and more interesting than him. No dutch material, he played against Germany in november, got past Lahm two times at first, but after, did nothing,seemed to be lost and tired.

    Robben, John, Elia, Babel, Lens, Afellay, Narsingh, Boetius…In all these wingers, only 4 would go to the World cup, what’s the goal to take Kuyt and Schaken ?

    1. Has anyone elsed noticed the dearth of options we have on the right hand side of the pitch?
      Narsingh (injured)
      Schaken( who’s already past his prime and is not getting any youger)
      Lens (there are no replacements if he gets injured/suspended)

      On the contrary, we have a plethora of options on the LW.
      Robben, John ,Boetius, Elia, Babel..
      Now, I know Robben can switch flanks and fill in as RW easily but who’s gonna be the long term replacement???

      1. Abhirup…Roben can play left and right.so we can shift Roben to right..it would be cool.Beleive me Narsingh is not a real dutch material.he lacks manythings but he is cool in finishing.Schken is also same.so it would be wise that we fix right wing with Lenz,Roben…Anas achabar doesnt have the speed for a winger but this guy will easily click with Persie and other intelligent players.So i would give him the third shot..
        Right wing.
        Left wing
        Roben>Ola john>Urby>Boetius>kuyt=Afellay..

      1. @Faraz…Deguzman is playing more steal game than Clasie as holding mid.He is a kind of Dejong with much better football.he ven can play as left winger…sothink Deguzman and strootman will start.

    2. what’s the goal to take Kuyt and Schaken ?”””””
      this is th question am asking too…why dutch always selects 4 or 5 inferrior players at every tournamnet and lose when it really counts…

      1. TEAM SPIRIT….
        you know, the gel that glues the changing room together.

        Are you suggesting that strong mental authority, leadership, intelligence, problem solving, positive attitude, desire, determination, hard work, commitment and bonding are unimportant when it comes to tournament football?
        Did any of this even cross your tiny mind?

        Or are you just taking another kick at Dirk Kuyt because, well, it’s been at least 5 minutes since your last irrational outburst? 😛

        ‘why dutch always selects 4 or 5 inferrior players at every tournamnet and lose when it really counts…’
        Why do you always post 4 or 5 disrespectful comments in every article and then cry when you get called on them?

        Can you change the channel please?

        1. I was answering to laurent.its not only against kuyt.its against inferrior players who plays for a Great national team.Persie,Wesly,Vaart,Roben,stroot and many are fighters and they have the thirst to win a trophy.when we have these players we dont need other older guys for that.
          Dutch had a great charismatic leader and player in Jaap stam.He was very important in defense till he retired and i really wished Jaap stam for 2006.if Jaap was there he would have Kicked th A@## of Maniche and co.If kuyt loves his national team he should make a way for younger and better ones so is schaken.Great Jaap didnt play for NT even in 2006 when he was needed and he was imporatnt in defense.

  25. The Dutchman’s arrival at Old Trafford was met with scepticism from some quarters last summer, but he has proven all of his doubters wrong by firing Manchester United to the title

    By Sam Lee

    A waste of money. That’s what I thought of Robin van Persie last August. “Get a midfielder instead,” I cried. Sir Alex Ferguson had said for so long that there is no value in the market, and then he goes and spends a gazillion pounds on an unneeded striker who might get injured in five minutes, never mind over the course of a four-year deal.

    “He’s only had one good season,” shouted Arsenal fans with more than a hint of bitterness. He had, though, to be fair to them.

    Sir Alex was keen to point out that he did not want Manchester United to lose the title on goal difference again. “Make the midfield and defence more stable then,” was an alternative, less sexy solution.


    ASSISTS 39

    “We knew we were getting a top player who would make a difference to the team, that’s why we went for him. Robin’s a completely rounded footballer.

    “He has international experience, he’s played for Arsenal for seven years and he came to us at the very peak of his career.”

    – Sir Alex Ferguson
    But did he listen? No. Was he right? Of course. United are probably going to win the league this season and that is thanks, almost entirely, to Van Persie.

    He started life at Old Trafford in such staggering form that United swept through the early months of the season giving their opponents at least a one-goal head start. If Sir Alex’s side were feeling extra generous, and they often were, they would concede another just to make things look fairer. Then Van Persie would win it somewhere near the end.

    This scenario was played out perfectly in December’s Manchester derby. United did that funny little thing where they threaten to completely blow it, and then the Dutch striker rode in and snatched victory late in the day.
    “Robin van Persie is an important player for them,” Roberto Mancini lamented. “It’s clear that the difference is this. He has changed the situation.

    “We wanted him in the summer because we knew he would be an important player. He is totally different from our other strikers.”

    Manchester City did not sign him, United did. United are going to win the league. It really is as simple as that.

    He has scored the decisive goal in five matches – against Southampton, Liverpool, West Ham, Reading and Manchester City. That is 15 points. If you have not seen the table recently, United are currently 15 points clear of City.

    If those basic stats are not enough to convert you (they should be), then have a look at these. Van Persie has a chance conversion rate of 23 per cent. Michu ranks at 22%, the much-vaunted Luis Suarez at 19%, Gareth Bale at 16%, and Demba Ba at 14%.

    Van Persie scores a goal every 117 minutes. Suarez 118, Bale 143, Michu 162, Ba 241.

    His shooting accuracy is 54%. Bale matches him, Suarez weighs in at 47%, Michu at 42%. Ba, to his credit, has a whopping 71%. If only he packed his scoring boots when he left Newcastle for Chelsea.

    And Van Persie is by no means a flat-track bully. Of his 19 Premier League strikes, seven have been scored against top sides in big games: Liverpool (home and away), Tottenham, Manchester City, Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea.

    Comparatively, Suarez has scored 14 of his 22 league goals against QPR, Wigan, Norwich and Sunderland.
    3/1 Robin van Persie is 3/1 to win PFA Player of the Year with Paddy Power

    The Dutchman’s presence has revolutionised United’s approach to title challenges. Traditionally slow starters that rely on blistering post-Christmas form, Sir Alex’s side flew out of the traps this time around and pretty much have the title sewn up already.

    He is, admittedly, going through a tough time in front of goal at the moment, but after playing such a major role at the start of the season, there are not too many at Old Trafford who hold it against him – and it surely will not last too much longer.

    Robin van Persie has been the best player at the best team in England. His importance speaks for itself. He must be crowned Player of the Year.

    1. Just wait until United actually play RVP as he favours.
      Give him a Song (or whoever) behind him, pass every ball to his feet (or to someone who can flick it on to him), and then you will get results. Man United almost found this by accident.
      Alternatively, play him like they have for the last two months (indulging the Giggs and Rooneys of this world) – would you care to provide some statistics for this period??? Haha! I thought not.
      Doesn’t make for good reading, does it?
      And whereas RVP banged in a few goals in the first half of the season, Suarez has been infinitely more consistent throughout.

      Ironically, Dutch arrogance forbids an ego-centric tactic at International level. The Sneijders and Robbens of this world do not pass every ball to RVP (when they can shoot from 40 yards!), and his ego remains unmassaged on this stage.
      The problem is that if you build a TEAM designed to utilise RVP, and he gets injured (AGAIN), you have no-one to step into his position.
      He is actually a victim of his own inability to adapt.
      But yeah, he’s still the best we have….

  26. i have said this before and will say it again…lens is a sub-par player…schaken outshone him despite playing 1/7 the time he got…lens just got lucky with a few finishes for holland…well guess what …narsingh and schaken have both scored consistently given chances and yes they are better!! in my books narsingh > schaken > lens

    now dont give those narsingh cant operate in tight spaces bull crap -> coz guess what…neither can lens…in fact he is worse in every aspect possible!!

  27. Daryl Janmat man of the match…official…not at all surprised…what a beast of a game…van der wiel >>> van rijn >> who???

    I still see Pieters and Janmaat as our wingbacks for Brazil

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