Oranje plays his first international game of 2013 on Feb 6 against Italy. And the classic last weekend gave Louis van Gaal a lot to think about.
The Dutch team is in a period with lots of injuries. And there are many bench roles for players in the big competitions. Ajax-Feyenoord was double interesting, due to this. Louis van Gaal saw 14 candidate internationals at work.
And what did we learn? That it’s a thin line between international top defender and flop of the match… Bruno Martins Indi made it into Oranje when LVG took the reigns but the agile Feyenoord defenderr played atrocious against Ajax. Weak in the passing, naive defending, no personality and will.
Joris Mathijsen’s problems could be seen by any one watching while Darryl Janmaat and Ricardo van Rhijn both struggled. Both very good in offensive duties but very vulnerable as real defenders.
But, some players impressed. Kenneth Vermeer is Ajax’ eleventh player in build up. Very good with his feet. And Daley Blind played like he did before the break. He deserves a call up for Italy. He was boss against Schaken and had time and air to support in offensive duties.
Vermeer could even start against Italy, as Krul is losing game after game and Stekelenburg is benched.
Amongst the midfielders and strikers it was remarkable to see that the most impressive players are Danes… The only Dutch player to impress in that area was Jean-Paul Boetius. He is only 18 years old and kept on taking the game to Ajax, with bravado and a good work ethic. Even when Feyenoord had clearly lost the game, he tried to do what he could.
It’s important that he is able to play at a higher level than Eredivisie at times, such as Europa or even Champions League. Feyenoord struggles to offer him this, while Ajax seems to have that consistency at least.
Jonathan de Guzman might make his debut for Oranje. The Swansea midfielder can finally count on wearing a Dutch jersey with the seniors. The Canadian born player did play for Jong Oranje before.
Former Feyenood man De Guzman left Rotterdam for Spain but Laudrup signed him for Swansea, where he scored twice last weekend with assistant Danny Blind in the stands.
Wesley Sneijder and Stekelenburg didn’t play for their clubs for quite some time and are left out. Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben are on their way to match fitness and won’t be part of this, while Heitinga is ignored as he hardly gets playing time at Everton. Nigel de Jong hardly is match fit while Afellay is also injured.
De Guzman was part of the pre-selection in 2008 as well, under Van Basten. He had just received his Dutch passport. Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Khalid Boulahrouz – both Sporting Lisbon – are selected too.
This Friday, LVG will present the definitive squad.
Goal: Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax), Michel Vorm (Swansea City).
Defense: Daley Blind (Ajax), Khalid Boulahrouz (Sporting), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord).
Midfield: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Leroy Fer (FC Twente), Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City), Adam Maher (AZ), Kevin Strootman (PSV).
Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Ola John (Benfica), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (PSV), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Ruben Schaken (Feyenoord), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Sporting).