After a string of disappointing finals (for the Dutch), we can now safely leave the competitions behind us and focus on the Oranje Nations League campaign.
Disappointing how so little of the Dutchies found glory, this final stage in the season. Gio didn’t make it with Rangers, Feyenoord wasn’t themselves in the Conference League finals (but Rick Karsdorp got his first big trophy) and Virgil missed out on his second CL trophy. Asensio is carrying that torch for us now, being half Dutch.
In the background, Van Gaal is stirring up matters again, with his left of centre selections for the Oranje Nations League matches.
There were some positive and some negative surprises.
On the positive, the selection of Karsdorp made all the sense in the world and he could not longer be ignored. Sadly for all, he got injured (groin) in the Conference League finals and had to pass on the invite.
On the questionable side, Vincent Janssen is called up again. The once prolific AZ top scorer disappeared in relative anonymity (for us Dutchies) in the Mexican competition but Van Gaal believes – in typical Van Gaal style – that he can make it work for Janssen in his tactical set up. We will see.
The return of Bruno Martins Indi is a surprise as well. Although, it has to be said, his stats are quite good and his build up pass has demonstrated to be around the best in the bizz, in the second tier of Dutch central defenders. Obviously, when Van Dijk, De Vrij, De Ligt, Ake, Blind and Timber are available, BMI will not get a look in. There’s also Struijk, Schuurs and Sven Botman, so I can’t see BMI making it to the World Cup.
Van Gaal does need 22 players at least for his practice stages and it’s always good to add some experience to the squad, for practice purposes. BMI will not be phased to work with Van Gaal, while a newcomer like Struijk might be.
Bologna’s Jerdy Schouten has finally been called up. The controlling midfielder made an impression in the Eredivisie playing for Excelsior and that got him his transfer to the Serie A where he impresses whenever he plays. The first half of this past season was one with injuries and frustration but since February, Schouten is one of the first names on the team sheet. His performances have also triggered interest from bigger Serie A clubs but the youngster believes in a step by step development of his career and will most likely focus on this coming season with Bologna (and the World Cup), with a move in the summer of 2023, no doubt.
Gini Wijnaldum also dropped out of the squad, in what people in Holland call “a Sneijdertje”. Which means, that it’s likely that Van Gaal is trying to motivate Wijnaldum to change clubs this summer if he wants a shot at the World Cup.
Jordy Clasie is also dropped, which is a surprise, as the AZ midfielder is in top form, key in every successful AZ attack. Owen Wijndal and Arnaut Danjuma are not part of the squad as they’re recovering from injury. Luuk de Jong and Marten de Roon are not needed as Van Gaal probably knows what to expect from them.
The Oranje coach is keen to see some new faces/names at work.
Van Gaal: “We do not have a lot of time to see new players at work, so I want to use these Nations League gatherings for this. I know what I need to know from most, but it will help me to see if and how I can use some of the new lads. I want to use my time in an optimum way. We have now and we have September and that is it.”
The look on BMI’s face when he heard he was selected again…. Priceless.