Someone thought it a good idea to have our national team play 3 matches in a very short time. When the calendar was inspected some weeks ago, it was said to be “insane”, but I am thinking now that Frank de Boer might actually be grateful.
You see, Frank wants three things: he wants to see his players perform and test them, he wants to win the matches (that should be point 1) and thirdly he wants to lay the foundation of his decisions to let some players go.
Kevin Strootman and Ryan Babel were loyal soldiers of orange and both have had great impact and deserve our utmost respect. But the time has come.
We have better midfielders (Fer, Propper, Klaassen, Ihatarren, Koopmeiners, Rosario) and better forwards (Bergwijn, Gakpo, Lammers, Boadu, Dilrosun, Danjuma).
I believe Frank will use the Mexico game to test partnerships and to use some second-tier players. I think Van Dijk and De Vrij will be the central duo at the back and they have hardly had time together, so I think they might start. I think Wijndal and Koopmeiners will make their debut and Hateboer or Veltman on the right. Strootman next to Koopmeiners and up front Babel, Malen and Berghuis. Luuk de Jong up top. Cillesen in goal.
I think when the Nations League vs Bosnia Herzegovina is on, he’ll play Cillesen and the two central backs, but probably Blind as left back and Dumfries as right back. Frenkie de Jong and De Roon as holding pair and up front Wijnaldum, Van de Beek, Stengs with Malen as #9.
And then based on fitness and form he’ll pick his Italy line up, probably same back four and goalie, maybe with Berghuis or Malen for Stengs and Promes for Van de Beek. And Memphis for Malen.
Luuk de Jong would expect to play is counting on a better place in the hierarchy, as he himself said. He scored in the EL semi finals, two in the finals and twice already in La Liga. “A statue, in Seville? Hahaha no, but the last period was amazing. I want to keep this going, totally different to a year ago. I’m happy now and settled. When you’re new at a club it’s tough. I think I didn’t do badly as a player but in Spain they will always judge you for your goals, as a striker. I think I now have some status, both in Seville and with the NT.”
Gini Wijnaldum believes he should play in midfield, if he plays. The last match vs Italy, Lodeweges has put Wijnaldum as right winger on the sheet. “I haven’t spoken with the new coach, one on one. That will come. I will play wherever the coach wants me to play, of course, but I have a preference and that is midfield.” De Boer met the players Monday afternoon and presented his ideas to the group. “He told us how he thinks about football, he told us where he believes we can grow and what is going really well now. It was very positive.”
The ex- Feyenoord player was almost on a plane to Barcelona, or so the rumour mill went. “It wasn’t that serious, I don’t think. I think if it was, more would have happened. I’m with Liverpool now and I am very happy here. Even after the 7-2 loss. I mean… that hurt. But we need to take the lessons and go on.”
Frank de Boer is disappointed that Mo Ihattaren couldn’t make. He had a role for Wijnaldum in mind. “Mo is not having a top time now and it would have been nice to have him here. We only read what the media tell us, and I would have loved to have a talk with him. I have met him last time around and he’s a good kid. I may have been able to help him a bit, but sadly he’s not here.”
I believe De Boer will have a close look at Bizot, who will feel the hot breath of Feyenoord’s Justin Bijlow in his neck. Bijlow is calm, cool and collected, where Bizot comes across stressed and edgy.
I think Strootman will lose his spot after this get together, with Propper, Rosario, Koopmeiners, Klaassen all candidates. Gravenberch might be an option soon too. Babel will have to make way next time when Bergwijn is back, while Cody Gakpo is the perfect player for the left wing.
I believe the Mexico game will be a goal fest: 4-4. I think we will play 0-0 against a boring Bosnia Herzegovina and we win 0-2 versus Italy with Memphis on song and a goal from midfield.
Frank will be on his way to win 3 thropies in 1 year and some… Nations Cup, Euros and World Cup ;-).
Below the first training under De Boer. An hour! Back in my days, you weren’t sure if games were broadcast! Today, you can see every boring training…