Marcel Keizer and his to-do list

Peter Bosz left Ajax for Borussia Dortmund and Ajax signed youth coach Marcel Keizer for the top job. Who the F is Marcel Keizer?

Wilco van Schaik saw it all happen. The general manager of FC Utrecht (next season at NEC Nijmegen) was responsible for technical affairs at amateur club VV Nijenrodes when they had to appoint a coach back in 2002.

“Marcel sent a letter and was one of the three remaining candidates. He made a good impression from the start. Driven, knew what he wanted and a clear vision of how to play and train. He was confident and didn’t fear taking on a group of experienced ex pro footballers. He was convinced he was our man. And in the three seasons he was here, he delivered.”

Van Schaik explains Keizer’s strength. “He made the group into a team. Young and old. He was very people oriented but tough if he had to. He was patient, he was creative using the limited resources we had and he took the time to make players better. And he could inspire them to work harder.”

keizer ajax logo

Keizer left after three years to coach UVS Leiden, another top amateur club. “We still think highly of him at the club. He’s accessible, open and has that Amsterdam bravado. He is an independent thinker too but always open for other opinions. The key thing with him: he’s always close to the group, to the players. Players adore him, for his know-how and commitment but also because he’s a really empathic human being.”

Despite all this, Van Schaik also sees challenges: “He will have to battle the perception out there. He’s seen as a nobody. And he still needs to convince at that level and deal with the senior top players. Every coach can have a bad spell. Look at Cocu this season, Gio van Bronckhorst last season. And Ajax didn’t win anything this last season so the pressure will be on. But success is makeable and I think Marcel will have to work hard. But he’s good at that.”

His first job in pro football was with Telstar. “We followed him since his promotion to the top amateur league with Argon. When we met, he had this laptop to show his vision and ideas. He was very driven and quite confident. He’s a real crafstman and breathes football. And he has humor too. Marcel is constantly looking to improve, the team but also himself. And it showed at Young Ajax. He really made a difference there.”

Ajax 1988

Ajax 1988 under Kurt Linder. Marcek Keizer is at the back, second from the right (next to Frank de Boer). Other big names: Jan Wouters, John van ‘t Schip, Bryan Roy, Rob Witschge and Danny Blind.

Telstar goalie Varkevisser: “He was clear in what he wanted and direct and tough. He didn’t care whether you were a junior or an experienced veteran. If you slacked, he’d be in your face. Everyone knew the drill. I think Marcel will have it easier at Ajax to be honest. At our level, he lacked options to work with the team or change things. At Ajax, he’ll have more resources.”

Keizer had a step aside from coaching in 2014, when he became technical director at Cambuur, the club where he played most of his pro football. But that stint only took 12 months. “He missed the grass. He needed to work with a team every day.”

FC Emmen was his next station. Still Jupiler League level. Chairman Ronald Lubbers: “We wanted a coach who thought in ball possession and positioning. He would drill the team day in day out, passing, kicking, moving. But he was also a pragmatist. FC Emmen is not Barcelona. I think he did very well here but when Cambuur – his club – was in trouble he simply couldn’t resist.”

KEizer as cambuur player

Keizer in the Cambuur jersey

His first and only adventure in the Eredivisie. He took over from the assistants who had taken over from Henk de Jong, who was fired due to bad results. Cambuur manager Van der Vegt: “It was a simple solution. We knew him, he knew us, the players… He would be the only man capable of taking the team for the last games and squeeze everything out of them.”

But it wasn’t to be. Keizer signed for 2,5 seasons but got relegated with Cambuur. In 11 games, Cambuur only won 5 points and Keizer and Cambuur parted ways. Player Martijn Barto: “I look back at this period with a positive feeling. It was simply too little too late. The squad was mentally broken already. We needed more time with him, but we simply didn’t have the time.”

Ajax, his first club and big love (legend Piet Keizer is his uncle) called and Keizer went. Edwin van der Sar: “He had everything we were looking for. Right age, good experience at different levels and Ajax DNA. We want the coach of Young Ajax to be instrumental in prepping the lads for the big game. We think Marcel is the man for the job.”

Marcel Ajax

Keizer played a handful games in Ajax 1

And he delivered. Young Ajax was a swinging football machine. His predecessor Jaap Stam thought and coached as a defender. Result driven. Keizer wanted his team to play the forward press, with aggression and dynamic interplay. This led to a number of gala productions, last season and many goals. The only downside for the team that finished second (!) in the Jupiler league: too many players would go in front of the ball resulting in 54 goals conceded in 38 matches…

One of the key issues a coach of Young Ajax (or Feyenoord, PSV, etc) has: it’s like a pigeon nest. Players would have to leave to go with the first team. Or injured first team players needed to play to get match fitness. But A junior players were also supposed to be given minutes in the team so consistency is a challenge. Keizer never complained about this and when Bosz needed 33 year old Westermann to play in Young Ajax, Keizer would comply. Ajax’ management liked that aspect in him.

Keizer jong ajax

Keizer coaching Young Ajax

Of course, with Keizer Ajax does not have a lone wolf like Peter Bosz, who’d go his own way with assistant Hendrie Kruzen. Marcel will play the game within Ajax and pay respect to the different power centres within the club.

Keizer is also supposed to guide young talents like Kluivert, Nouri, Van de Beek, Eiting, De Jong, Cerny and De Ligt into the Ajax 1 team. Players he worked extensively with.

He has his work cut out for him and the following to-do items will be on his list:

– Keep Klaas Jan Huntelaar happy

When the Hunter was signed to return to Ajax, Marc Overmars was quite clear: “Dolberg is our first striker and Huntelaar his replacement.” But Huntelaar said: “My role is clear, but I didn’t come to retire!” This quote can be explained in different ways. Huntelaar will know Dolberg built up a lot of credit. We do know however, from his time at Oranje, that Huntelaar is not a very happy bench-warmer. A good job for Marcel Keizer: keeping Huntelaar happy!


Winston Bogarde and Michael Reiziger will take on Young Ajax now

– Pick a new captain

Davy Klaassen was the undisputed captain of the team. But, he’s off to Everton and Keizer will need to select a new skipper. Lasse Schone? Or will he lose his spot this season? Joel Veltman? He might be on his way out, to Crystal Palace. Nick Viergever? Well, his position is not a certainty either. So maybe Hakim Ziyech will be crowned Ajax’ new leader after playing there only for one season.

– Bring the youngsters in

The Ajax fans are drooling about the sheer possibility of seeing Nouri, Van de Beek and De Jong in the first team. Yes, they impressed in the Jupiler league but this is a big step up. It’s up to Keizer to guide the process properly.

– Be yourself, but set the tone

The first weeks are key for Keizer, as with any job. The stories about his (lack of) status are known by now (see above) but within Ajax, people are convinced. He will have to make an impression from day 1, working for the most successful club of the country. And be clear: to players, media, staff, management and the different “forces” within the club (ex-players, sponsors, amateur section, youth system).

– Keep the Bosz game going but win something

This might be a tough one. Bosz left due to clashes with Bergkamp and Carlo L’Ami but he did play adventurous and got far in Europe. But…didn’t win silverware. Keizer will be expected to improve on Bosz’ game and to win something. A tough task…


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  1. saw some pics of Ajax training session… noticed some changes of jersey numbers: vdBeek #6, deLigt #4 (!!)(Riedewald #36), Neres #7, Onana #1, Ziyech #10.

    I thought Nouri would change to smaller number… (14 maybe?)

    of course, Huntelaar gets #9. now this is getting interesting. I wonder if Huntelaar+Dolberg can play together, with Dolberg in a wider spot…

    also I’m thinking the possibility of this midfield trio: vdBeek-Sinkgraven-Ziyech. although this is impossible as long as Schone is there. and Keizer might put Riedewald instead of Sinkgraven.

    will Sinkgraven continue as LB? will Kluivert finally dismantle Younes as LW? will Nouri get more time? will Tete get the nod ahead Veltman (or will Veltman go)?

    also, re: Ake to Bournemouth. good for him! he’ll need those minutes.

        1. Sinkgraven is a pure attaking midfielder for me and if he continues to play at LB I’m afraid he will find himself more on the sidelines with niggling injures than on the field.well given the options that Ajax they could well try to rotate players and get the best combination going. also it will depend on how they wanna use huntelaar. dolberg is quite mobile compared to huntelaar and if huntelaar is used purely as Box to box then it would wise for them to play – Sinkgraven-Ziyech- Neres behind him with two holding mid. schone/Riedewald and Donny/Frankie maybe ( which ever works better. with huntelaar you just need to feed him balls anywhere in the box. a good fitter (ziyech) and two natural left and right wingers( sinkgraven and Neres). you are at more than 20 goals from huntelaar this season. younes for will not fit in system when playing with a striker like huntelaar. he holds up play a lot and likes to dribble. I would rather start with Dolberg then with huntelaar and then rotate players like Nouri, Kuilvert and Neres

          1. 20 goals from Huntelaar?
            That’d be nice for them, but maybe wishful thinking since he has not scored 20 in a season since the 2011/12 season!

            I read he has been told he is backup to Dolberg and is fine with it but the #s do suggest otherwise..

  2. Bad news for Feyenoord too. Terence Kongolo signed for AS Monaco. The young defender speaks fluent French. Kuyt, Elia, Karsdorp, Berghuis and now Kongolo.

    Don’t like this move. It’s wiser to wait until you can enter the new dressing room with some flair….

    1. I don’t understand, Jan – you don’t like Kongolo’s move? I don’t mind it, personally I’ve been interested to see him in better competition and felt he’d outgrown the eredivisie for a while now!

  3. @Jan, Have you heard whether Feyenoord intends to bring in any additional signings of note? Or that they have some younger players coming through that they are particularly high on? Given the comings and goings, they seem a weaker team than last year. Not the way they’d want to go into CL.

    1. Andrew…
      kuyt was aging so it was logical he retired,its sure they will miss his attitude i mean never say die attitude of kuyt.
      Berghuis,Elia departure wont affect them much.
      kevin diks is a well capable replacement for karsdorp…
      only issue is kongolo it seems..that would be a huge miss..
      Gio vani has found a way to assemble a winning team…So they have still hope..

    2. I believe young Amrabat is a replacement for Kuyt perhaps, in CM (but I’m not sure), then Diks for Karsdorp, Boetius for Elia, then as mentioned, for Kongolo at LB there is Woudenberg and Nelom still there, and also young Calvin Verdonk.
      Not sure about the RW spot in Berghuis’ absense.. but Toornstra played pretty good there at times this season!

    1. this team would have more better if all the players would have released from their clubs. De ligt,Kuilvert,Menash,van Drongelen etc. also Malen.last I heard he was doing very good at Arsenal.both jay roy grot and piroe are big and powerful strikers like likaku.dilsroun, narsingh when he was coming up the ranks.

      1. Were those players definitely blocked from joining this team for the tournament? Seems strange to not let their players gain this experience.. have you any references by any chance?

        1. preseason camps abroad as they are focusing on the upcoming season. Ajax is with the full contingent in Austria.other players who were eligible but are part of the first team for their clubs are also not available. sierhuis,Kuilvert, ter Avest,Van Drongelen, Hoogma, troupee all featured in the qualifiers.

          1. Deyovaisio Zeefuik is another one who featured prominently in the qualifiers but is in the pre season camp in austria. looks like he will be the backup at RB since tete is on the verge of transfer.

          2. No references for players being blocked from this tournament by their clubs then?

          3. Um ya, the Ajax ones that make sense to me, esp de Ligt and Kluivert since they’ve been playing in the senior squad, so maybe this means Keizer feels other young players will be needed in their senior squad.. but some of the others you mentioned seem strange.

          4. all the players I mentioned except for Menash are first team starters for their clubs, supposedly if you haven’t followed them. vitesse and utretch have started their pre season games with club friendlies lined up in the coming days and like Ajax are using full extended squad. mitchell van bregen Thomas Buitink (vitesse) etc.some have moved abroad like hoogma and are training with the new club.

            man united also will jet of to LA for their pre season tour in the coming days and TFM is also part of the squad.I think only in his case it’s more of club being priority as this will be only his chance to convince mourinho.

          5. Thanks yes, I’m aware preseason has begun 😂
            Anyway you’re wrong.. Malen is nowhere near Arsenals first team!

            But, you were right that I don’t follow some of these youngsters very closely, esp ones who are not on the ‘big 3’ Dutch clubs, only because it is harder to pay attention or get a chance to see them play for me – so that’s why I asked!
            (and I ask for references since wilson admits that he makes things up)

            Also curious if anyone has an answer for Andrews original question..

          6. dragging?
            um alright, probably just another insult of some kind..

            not really sure what you’re referring to with either of those comments, but if it’s not about conditions of these young players then I don’t really care, bud
            Thanks for sharing the article though!

          7. well in that case ask somebody to read and explain it to you. looks like you still need to take some extra English lessons.

    1. Good attitude, at the least!
      I would like to see him get another chance in the middle as well.

      According to Mike Verweij, de telegraaf writer who is with Ajax at training, Sinkgraven has been used as LB again (with Dankerlui backup)..

  4. Just saw that Messi is planning to sign a contract extension with Barcelona. The article notes that “Over 14 years and 583 matches Messi has scored 507 goals, led Barcelona to four Champions League titles and filled the club’s trophy case with eight La Liga crowns, five Copa del Rey trophies and a series of other trophies that most clubs would yearn to have the opportunity to win, let alone consider secondary prizes.”

    Seeing Messi’s list of accomplishments spelled out so succinctly (and comparing them to the trophy-winnings of other recent great players and clubs) caused me to wonder whether it is currently harder or easier to achieve such success at the club level in Europe than it was prior to the 1995 Bosman ruling. For those of you too young to remember, prior to that time many domestic leagues (and even UEFA) placed limits on teams including more than three foreign players in their squads for any match.

    On one hand, that decision has since allowed the assemblage of “super teams”, such as current powers Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, etc., whose squads are made up of all of the best players from around the world. I looked at the line-ups those teams used against each other in the Champions League this year – Barcelona had only 2 Spanish players starting (Pique and Iniesta) against Juventus, who in turn started only 3 Italians (Buffon, Bonucci and Chiellini). Real Madrid started 4 Spanish players (Ramos, Nacho, Carvajal and Isco) against Bayern Munich, who included only 4 Germans in their starting 11 (Neuer, Boateng, Hummels and Lahm). Note that the majority of those few domestic players who are starting are defenders. In other leagues, such as England, it is not uncommon nowadays for certain top level clubs, such as Manchester City and Arsenal, to start entirely non-English line-ups.

    Prior to the Bosman ruling, particularly in the early 90s, the world’s strongest teams often featured similar foreign attacking talent, but in much fewer numbers. The starting line-ups for many of those teams typically included 8 domestic players with 3 foreign stars (e.g., Van Basten, Gullit and Rijkaard started for AC Milan; Koeman, Laudrup and Stoichkov typically started for Barcelona). Other strong teams, such as Bayern Munich and Juventus were almost exclusively comprised of domestic starters. Further, you had many now forgotten clubs that were still considered to be among the best in Europe – Red Star Belgrade, Anderlecht, Olympique Marseille, and Sampdoria, for example, along with the top Dutch clubs.

    My point is that under the old regime, talent was never as concentrated in the hands of so few. Real Madrid and Barcelona would have to choose which 3 foreign players to start, and would need to fill out the rest of their line-ups with (typically home-grown) Spanish players. Foreign players who wanted to be regular starters thus would have to look elsewhere for playing time, or if they chose to remain at home in their domestic leagues, they would be considered just as valuable (if not more so) than good foreign players. As a result, talent was much more evenly distributed throughout Europe’s clubs, and individual teams weren’t able to stockpile in reserve young foreign players who would be playing and flourishing elsewhere.

    In summary, the natural economic effect of the Bosman ruling has been to concentrate the world’s top talent in the world’s richest, most successful clubs, while simultaneously diminishing the level of competition the rest of their opponents can offer them. So while a 2017 Real Madrid “super team” must hold off a 2017 Barcelona “super team” to win La Liga and a 2017 Juventus “super team” to win the Champions League, there is very little risk of a Red Star Belgrade, Anderlecht, Olympique Marseille, Sampdoria or whichever Dutch club is your favorite ever again challenging their supremacy. And if a smaller club / league ever develops a star, they will be quickly bought up by the highest bidder.

    And so, while it certainly may be harder, on one hand, for Messi to achieve his amazing level of success against other “super teams” like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, he has done so with as many as six other foreign star players who would previously have been more likely to play against rather than with him, and in the interim, the super teams get to beat up on the Osasunas and Granadas that lack such players.

    And for the sport as a whole, while the battles between two “super teams” truly made up of 22 of the world’s greatest players may be a spectacle to behold, I wonder if it makes up for the diminished level of competition that exists everywhere else…

    1. I agree – I think there is most definitely a diminished competition everywhere else!

      Where does it end??
      Will the top clubs in the big European domestic leagues split off and start a new super league for their super teams, where they can hog more money?

    2. As for harder or easier for Messi, than for say Maradonna, hard to say.. maybe we need to look a little deeper and check out all of his assists as well? such a complete player..

      In some ways, harder nowadays – because I think the difference is less between the best players and the weaker ones nowadays, where players train in more efficient ways, eat better etc., so then competition is more fierce and also worth mentioning with more in depth scouting and stats analysis’ etc..
      But maybe in other ways, easier – because with more concentrated talent in the players surrounding Messi benefit him also of course.

      Then there is an immeasurable coincidence factor, where we will never know how Messi would do if we dropped him into a team from the 80s – how he might gel, or not, with players playing a totally different style of football.. and the other way, would Maradonna still seem as amazing if dropped into a Barca side in place of Messi? Or maybe he seems less outstanding amongst all outstanding players?

      So I don’t know! If I had to pick, I think it is harder nowadays.
      What do you think JB?

      Anyway, great thought invoking post!

    3. I go back and forth. I certainly enjoy sitting down to watch two “super teams” go head to head in what is essentially an all-star game with real consequences. There has probably never been a greater display of what’s possible in the sport than when you have 22 players of that level all out there competing against each other. The athleticism, the reaction times, the instinctive maneuvers, combinations and touches, the creativity and the moments of individual brilliance that emerge can be breathtaking. And a player like Messi, who is clearly the primary focus of his opponent every time he laces up, has to be even better than his predecessors in order to deal with the focused defensive attention from such top level players and managers (especially considering all the cutting edge fitness training and behind-the-scenes technological analysis that is possible nowadays). That said, barring injury, he is going to be no worse than a Champions League semi-finalist for virtually his entire career. In the twelve or so years since he became a first team regular, Barcelona has won 4 Champions League trophies, reached the semi-finals 4 times, the quarter-finals 3 times (including 3 of the last 4 years) and the round of 16 once. That’s 8 finals or semis in the last 12 years. In La Liga, during the same time span, Barcelona finished first 7 times, second 4 and third once. So is that just Messi’s greatness, or is that the result of being a star player on a “super team”?

      If you look at Madrid over that same span, they finished first in La Liga 4 times, second 7 and third once. In the Champions League, they lost in the round of 16 each year from 2005 – 2010, but since then (one year into Cristiano Ronaldo’s tenure) they have made the semi-finals or the finals the last 7 straight years, winning 3 of the last 4!

      Bayern has had similar success over the same period as well – They’ve won the Bundesliga 8 times in the past 12 years, finishing second twice, third once, and fourth(!) once. In the Champions League, they’ve made the finals three times (winning once), made the semi-finals 4 times, the quarterfinals 3 times and the round of 16 twice.

      Juventus is not quite at the same level – They’ve won Serie A 8 times (including the last 6 in a row), finished second once, third once and seventh (!) twice. In the Champions League, they’ve played in two finals and one semi-final, all within the last five years. They’ve made it to 3 quarterfinals, 3 times to the round of 16 and were knocked out in the group stages three times.

      Overall, my sense is that success breeds more success. Money follows winning and players follow both. Since there are no longer any real impediments on foreign signings, the top level teams become even more top level through concentrations of elite talent from across Europe, Africa and South America, and the top European leagues themselves become top heavy as well, with only a few teams seriously able to challenge for the title each season. It ultimately becomes a vicious cycle and you may have a de facto Super League already formed.

      The problem for me is I’d like to follow my favorite team and have them have a realistic chance of winning something important. If you’re not a fan of one of these “super teams”, then you’re really just enjoying their greatness from afar — which I think impacts the sport negatively overall. They get all the fans’ attention, all the media coverage, and all of the players’ transfer interest, and the rest of the football landscape is looked down upon as really just a feeder system for these elite clubs. I can feel like a connoisseur of top notch football watching them play, but I lack the passion I would feel if my own club was participating.

      But back to your question — while it does take incredible talent and outstanding performances to compete and prevail at this modern “super team” level, when you compare the current star players’ success to their predecessors, it certainly helps to “be in the final” practically every year when counting trophies won. So while it’s certainly not easier to play in the modern game, for players on these clubs, I think it is actually a lot easier to be a champion.

        1. Haha it’s cool, I appreciate the depth.

          “So is that just Messi’s greatness, or is that the result of being a star player on a “super team”?”

          Yea good question – I think it must be a bit of both!
          Individual quality can only get you so far, hence thousands of street ballers all over the world who can juggle the ball around opponents if they want, or put a swerving ball into the top corner from 40 yards (we’ve all seen you tube clips..) – but they can’t play on a team apparently? Messi sure can – and still he has moments where he makes the super starts playing against him look plain.
          sometimes I think he must experience time slower than others’ haha

  5. @JB: That’s a very interesting issue you are talking about.

    As for whether it is currently harder or easier to achieve such success well I think it is easier. In the old days players like Maradona, Cruyff, Platini, Van Basten would’ve won many Champions League as Messi is doing if they were surrounded by also 10 world class stars.

    For sure the Bosman Law has damaged the Dutch league because as you said as soon as there is a hot talent there comes a big team and buys him for a lot of money. Fosu-Mensah, Ake, Van Ginkel, Drenthe, Babel are example of that….

    It’s a shame for Dutch footbal because if these Dutch players were playing more years together that’d help so much the national team.

      1. not sure yet
        “after a preliminary examination, did not go to the hospital, but drove after the match with the team back to the hotel”. They will assess the head injury later today

  6. 7 years ago was Gio’s amazing goal v Uruguay

    got me thinking, who is your current fave Dutch LB?

    can barely decide myself, since no one is ever fit at the same time, which is why I’m curious what others think.. of course it depends on opponent, fitness and form – but based on my impressions of our current players’ maybe if I have to pick 2 right now I’d back Kongolo to start, but keep Blind on for experience and stability – while keeping tabs on form of one of the many offensive types we’ve got to trump Blind for it.
    I do think Haps is a strong prospect as well, has some offensive quality but also strong tackler / seems sound defensively.

    I like Ake too, maybe DA sees him as a LB?
    I prefer him as CB, I like him in the middle.
    Many call out for him to play DM. maybe, is like to see it first, and it tested out at club level, not the Dutch NT.
    but either way, it would sure be nice for a player to be playing the same position for NT as club – seems to make a big difference, even with top experienced players, let alone unproven young ones..
    I rate Riedewald high as well, but really needs to be playing more.

    1. here are some others I deem worthy of a look yet if injury..
      van Aanholt

      Who else have we got?
      Sinkgraven, if he continues/ excels there?
      Can Dijks make something happen for himself?
      young Calvin Verdonk is interesting..

  7. As much as I would like to see him further up the field, I think that Blind is still our best left back for the national team.
    He doesn’t have great speed and he’s not actually that great of a defender, but he is responsible with his movement and is a great passer from a deeper position.

    I like Kongolo as well, and he’s probably a better defender than Blind, but his size and physicality might make him a better option at center back. He doesn’t have Blind’s creativity or passing accuracy. It will be interesting to see how he fares at Monaco, which is a very attacking oriented club. I think he has a bright future but he hasn’t shown a lot at the senior international level yet.

    Ridge Haps is yet another type of player. He’s more confident on the ball and has good speed and skill, but does not shy away from physicality either. I don’t think he’s as refined, however, as either Blind or Kongolo.

    I actually like Ake a lot, and while he provides a lot of versatility, I’m not certain as to his best position. We’ll see where he plays for Bournemouth this season, as that might help us decide where he fits best for us as well.

    Riedewald has a slightly different skill set but offers similar versatility to Ake. I hope he doesn’t go to Chelsea though and ride the bench like Ake did.

    I think you’re right in that our best choice may vary match by match depending on the players available to us and our opponent.

    That said, we’re certainly blessed for options at the moment, which is a far cry from where we were defensively 4 or 8 years ago.

  8. “””” he hasn’t shown a lot at the senior international level yet.”””” need to select the player and play him in that spot to see since he dispalced BMI from feynoord and a regular starter for them for last 2 years..IT IS THE FAULT OF DUTCH NT COACHES..
    Ake is so alert and play a nice pass from Deep..With Bazoer as partner we could have a great combination…
    We have enough LB
    Konglo-Blind-Annholt-Williams-Haps….thats luxuary..We dont have to waste Ake there..
    Strootman is really poor now so WE MUST BENCH HIM FOR Ake..
    Would be a balanced team…
    krul for penalty shootouts..
    stand bye
    Justin kluivert

    1. Emmanuel:

      Sybe Pals asked for thoughts on our best left back and I gave him mine. I don’t think Blind is a natural left back, but I think he’s our best option there right now, especially from an attacking standpoint.

      And overall, I think our defense has coalesced now to the point where we are capable of playing with 4 (including Blind) rather than 5 in the back against quality opponents.

      For me, Kongolo just doesn’t yet have sufficient senior international experience, and in attempting to qualify for the World Cup, I don’t know that we can afford him that right now. Later on, sure and maybe even during the tournament itself, if we make it. I think he has a bright future. But now is not the time for experimentation.

      Additionally, until just recently transferring to Monaco, Kongolo has played his entire career for Feyenoord. You mention that he beat out Martins Indi as a starter there, but I think you and I both agree on BMI’s qualities, so that is not a major accomplishment in my eyes 😉

      On the other hand, Blind has been a regular for Manchester United for the past three years, not just for Van Gaal, but for Mourinho as well (who has little tolerance for anyone who doesn’t put in a shift defensively). There can be no argument of nepotism / favoritism at this point.

      Which leads me to my next point – We are all so quick to insist that the player who is not playing should be the one to be starting. But we are not there every day in training. We lack an intimate understanding of the dynamic within the team. None of us are top level professional football managers. Yet we feel like we know best. I tend to trust those in charge to be qualified and to make the right decisions based on the information available to them. I don’t always agree on philosophy or style of play, but there is a level of expertise and complexity in these player selections that we just are not able to understand and appreciate. If Kongolo at left back gives the Netherlands a better chance to win games than Blind does, then he will play. However, although we’ve used 4 different right backs in our 6 World Cup qualifiers so far, Blind has been our left back in every single match. I doubt that anyone, including Louis van Gaal, Danny Blind, Jose Mourinho or Dick Advocaat, would continue to play him there each time if he were not their best option.

      1. @JB..BMIis still in NT and he had wonderful game vs bulgaria…He made sure that we dont qualify fir EC2016 under blind first game…So why not Kongolo??Blind is a decent LB i agree he only lacks speed which would cost us against trivkery wingers but Blind is smart and he never goes front is that case and that limits our support for LWinger player.
        kongolo is athletic player he played for NT as a solid LB,LVG picked him for WC..that means he had quality..But Blind contiously neglected him,Ake,Toonstra,Vilhena with charismatic Gullit and Advocate things are changing…As long as Depay,Promes are not playing front we can score goals…

        1. Jesus Tiju hahaha JB already answered exactly your why not Kongolo question..

          good that Blind “neglected” Kongolo probably, he was injured most of the time!
          great idea calling injured players bud 😉

          1. 1-blind is sitting in home After putting us to 32 rank in fifa…Punishment for neglection.
            2-what are the matches played by kongolo nder Blind and LVG please if u can…
            3-Blind called 47 or more players but he always allowed th crap ones to start the game like BMI,Depay,etc etc…Especially when he needed victory he started with Depay and BMI…
            4-Promes is hardworking player like Bertand traore..Promes lacks the finese like CLass players has.
            5-Depay is real shI&**T apart from 2 fluke luxumburg goals..We need Babel to beat France with Roben..Not a lethargic slow floppay..

          2. ok sure, I will humour you again with a response, even though I still believe it is pointless to do (not my intention to insult you, so I will tell you why: you are a liar and you insult people who have other opinions)

            1 – so, you think it would have been better for Blind to play injured players? I do not agree

            2 – of course I can, I usually look things up before I post (try it out!) – but, it will be easier for you to go back in time and look it up for yourself before posting your nonsense, than it would be for me to do it for you.
            That’s what your insulting me over the years gets you..

            3 4 and 5 – maybe, but your completely meaningless opinions with zero substance given lends to my assumption that it’s all probably based on more nonsense.

            Side note and friendly advice (maybe Wilson could learn something here too), when you use words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ talking about football then your statement is probably wrong!

        2. also, some interesting facts:

          Kongolo played more minutes for Blind than he did for van Gaal.

          Blind gave Vilhena his first cap.

          Blind did call up Toornstra, even though did not end up playing him.

          Memphis has 3 assists in his last 3 (all starts).

          Promes has 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 3 (2 of which from the bench).

  9. Who do you guys think will start at LW against France. Depay or Primes. And we Dabney Dos Santos make it to the senior team

    1. given Advocaats selections so far I would be surprised if he did not start with
      Memphis – Janssen – Robben
      barring injuries..

      Dos Santos probably has a lot to do to get into the NT, but ya never know since we are so short on the wings depth-wise
      he was great with Janssen at AZ but not so strong last season I believe

    1. scored 12 for Utrecht last season on loan after a falling out with Ajax management iirc, and has now transferred to Oostende in the Jupiler League..

  10. Something that appears very serious has happened to Nouri. He collapsed on the field in the 72nd minute of Ajax’s friendly with Bremen. The medical team was still working on him 15 minutes later. The cameras couldn’t get a close shot because he was surrounded by two ambulances, an umbrella and other staff members holding up blankets around him. The broadcast cut away at that point, so I have no additional information.

    If anyone hears any information, please post.

        1. Yikes cardiac arrhythmia

          Yes thanks Tomy – Ajax Twitter seems good for updates.. an hour ago

          UPDATE NOURI | #Ajax have landed in Amsterdam. Latest update on Nouri: he is on intensive care and kept asleep, but he’s out of danger.

  11. Yes terrible news re: Nouri.

    I hope he’ll be alright but we do need to worry re: his career. Evander Sno is another ex-Ajax talent who had a bright future but was suffering from similar symptoms. He did make it back to pro football but never reached his potential.

    Really sad.

      1. depending on the cause of the arrhythmia (like the news said). if it’s just caused by heatstroke and fatigue, it’ll be faster and there’ll be nothing to worry about. but if there’s an underlying heart abnormality, then it’ll be 1-3 months at the least, and we’ll never know if he’ll really be back on the pitch.

        that’s all I could tell you, based on my medical knowledge. I won’t speculate further. let’s just hope for some good or even better news from Ajax. stay strong Nouri!

          1. To be honest I just put 9 because 7 was depay7 is the best was already taken

          2. I also realized that after cross checking Depays jersey number on google. Either way I think Depay can become a lethal striker if grommed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

          3. LOL at the definition of grommed, per the urban dictionary:
            having explicitly inappropriate things done to you while being passed out

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