Oranje adds character to its armour

For years, the Dutch national team was synonymous with class. The passing of Sneijder, the dribbles of Robben, the trickery of Van der Vaart and the wonderful goals of Van Persie… In a somewhat more distant past: the guile of Van Basten, the touch of Bergkamp, the elegance of Rijkaard… Or maybe the magic of Cruyff, the intelligence of Van Hanegem and the unfathomable solos of Rob Rensenbrink…

And sure, we had grit. And fight. In midfield or defence, there was always a Johan Neeskens, Edgar Davids, Jaap Stam or a Nigel de Jong. But these players would be in service of the protected prodigal sons.


Jaap Gladiator Stam

We still develop great talents, but all nations around us have developed their technical and tactical skills while keeping hold of their specific national “traits”. Defensive strength of the Italians, the mental strength of the Germans, the physical strength of the English and of course the all round athleticism of the French… Playing shrewd can also be seen as a quality aspect, as the Portuguese have taught us many times over.

Holland needs to add some character, some intent to their game and at times we have been able to. Van Marwijk used 6 players in service of the Big Four, with Van Bommel and De Jong offering grit. Van Gaal did it with his tactics and bravado.

Under Danny Blind, a new chapter seems to be in production, trying to incorporate the best of all worlds… Technical skills (Promes, Sneijder, Wijnaldum, Blind), tactical smarts (Blind, Strootman, Sneijder), guile (Janssen, Karsdorp, Van Dijk) and…character…

Rick Karsdorp, Vincent Janssen, Kevin Strootman… They had to acknowledge that beating France at this stage was basically a bridge too far, but with courage and character thrown into the mix, we can go a long way. Again.


Johan El Torro Neeskens

Let me take you back: it was an icecold wintery Monday evening in March 2015 when a livid Karsdorp pressed his forehead against the face of referee Stieler. The German ref gave Young France a third penalty for a foul on super talent Benzia. Young Oranje is being taken to the cleaners and Karsdorp loses it. He would tell the Dutch media days later “never to have been played off the pitch in his young career as on that day, by the frickin’ French (4-1)”.

We’re 1,5 years down the track. The impatient Benzia decided to play for Algeria, as the French coaches overlooked the youngster for the senior team (hello Hakim Ziyech). And Rick Karsdorp? He was one of Holland’s best players in the senior game vs France in Amsterdam.

Karsdorp’s story is one of falling and getting back up again. Showing character when things turn bad. Biting your lip, instead of giving in. In that Young Oranje match, there was another youngster who doesn’t know the words “giving up”. Vincent Janssen, striker of Almere City, was a sub on that night in North France. He was looking to stake his claim after Feyenoord told him he didn’t have what it took to make it at Feyenoord.



And Janssen was also impressive, against the French at the highest level. Every time, people would say he was too light for the top. Karsdorp and Janssen are currently the role models for technical director Hans van Breukelen, who keeps on emphasizing the fact that Dutch football “might have the best technical skills, but is lacking the winning mentality”.

After Karsdorp’s clash with Laurent Koscielny, the medical staff of Oranje urged the Feyenoord back to come off. Joel Veltman was warming up already. But Karsdorp wouldn’t think about it. “I couldn’t even lift my arm up, but leaving the pitch? Never! I really wanted to finish the game.”

“Of course I know Dimitri Payet. I saw him play for France at the Euros and when he was subbed, I felt even stronger. Against Belarus, I felt my legs cramping up, 20 minutes before the end. But now, I could have played three more matches. Despite my shoulder.”

This month, it’s actually two years ago when Karsdorp was in tears in the Feyenoord dressing room. His first sub turn at Feyenoord and his mistake led to Rijeka’s goal in Croatia in the Europa League. It seemed his career for Feyenoord was over before it began. Fred Rutten, then coach of Feyenoord, was responsible for taking Karsdorp from Feyenoord 2 – the playmaker! – and putting him on right back in Feyenoord 1. Not only that, Rutten predicted that Rick would be the next right back for Oranje! A day after the match, Rutten talked with Karsdorp: “It is up to you. If you now succumb, yes… you career is over. But if you stand up and straighten your back, you will have a big future ahead of you.”

Karsdorp grows when others run for the exit. “After two years since that situation, I know what I have in me”.

janssen boos

Janssen doesn’t take shit from nobody

Vincent Janssen will be able to empathise: “I can find the positive in everything. Like this match. Yes we lost. That is a disappointment but we are a team again. All noses point in the right direction. We can build on this!”.

In recent months, apart from the likes of Janssen, Karsdorp and Berghuis, Quincy Promes emerged. Developed at Ajax, sent away by Ajax, back in the lime-light at FC Twente and after one year transferred to Spartak Moscow. Where he is a star. Since last week, he now also is a man to reckoned with in the orange jersey.

He had the misfortune of flipping his ankle early in the France game, but Promes lives up to his promise, finally (apologies for the pun).

When talking to Promes (24) you know there won’t be a silence in the conversation. The Spartak forward talks as fast as he takes on Russian defenders. He renewed his deal this summer and will be with Spartak until 2021. “It was a conscious decision. I’m not ready for a step up. I’m developing well in Moscow and there is more to come. Making the right move is not going to be easy. In terms of price tag, I’m expensive now. The mid-tier clubs in the bigger leagues won’t just buy me like that. Should I go to a big club, I run the risk of coming for the bench. I rather make more of a name here at Spartak.”

promes work

Promes vs France earlier on

This career path is remarkable for a lad who left Holland after one season at Twente. For an adventure in Russia? “I never wanted to leave Twente. But they were in financial dire straits. They called me in and said there was a massive deal on the table for me. They needed to sell me. I was pushed out.”

Scoring 18 goals in his first season, he did have to take a hurdle before scoring in Oranje. “I’m simply not the key man in Oranje. I play in the number 10 role for Spartak, protected, and the ball comes to me a lot. In Oranje, I’m more a winger. But listen, I know I can score. I wasn’t in doubt. The key thing is not me scoring, though. It’s Holland winning. Who ever scores. It’s not about me, it’s about Oranje making it to the World Cup.”

And the fact that the World Cup is in Russia is special for Promes. “Sure, it is. I’m happy to be on the team sheet always in Moscow. That makes it easy for the coach to select me. And I’m super proud to play for Oranje. Whenever I pull on my jersey, I get goosebumps. And I want to go to the World Cup.”

You are a very proud lad. And there is always that line in interviews or articles saying “sent away at Ajax”…

“I was a very difficult lad when I was young. I won’t lie about that. Super selfish. I played in Ajax youth and the arrogance comes with that. You think you are da man. But in all honesty, you’re not. You only sniff at the opportunity. At Ajax, at some stage, they had enough. And I could leave. I am grateful to them though. It changed my life. It opened my eyes. I should not be praised, I should always be pushed to fight. Then, I’m able to give my best.”

quincy interview

So what happened after Ajax? “I went to Haarlem but they went bankrupt almost immediately. FC Twente came and Patrick Kluivert was my coach in Twente 2. That man did something to me. They loaned me to Go Ahead Eagles and (current FC Utrecht coach) Erik ten Hag was there. He gave me the key to success. He was super strict. I didn’t get that at all. Until I suddenly realised he did it to help me. He turned me from a piece of coal into a diamond. I started to score goals at the Eagles and I was off. Next season, it all happened at Twente and now I’m with Spartak.”

So Kluivert and Ten Hag made you what you are now? “And Alfred Schreuder at Twente. I also became a dad at Go Ahead. Seeing that little one changed me tremendously. For the first time I realised I had responsibilities. I stopped living just for myself, I now work and live for my wife, my daughter. Well, daughters, we have two now.”

promes ten hag

Quincy at Go Ahead Eagles with mentor Erik ten Hag

How is life in Moscow? “I don’t live in an apartment anymore. Moscow is really a cool city, just very cold in winter. I will never get used to that. But Russians are typical people. They’re not very open or social, but once you break through that veneer, they will do everything for you. It’s not like in Amsterdam, where you can just borrow a cup of sugar from the neighbours. In Moscow, they won’t open the door even.

Would Spartak Moscow win the title in the Eredivisie? “Hmm, don’t know. PSV and Ajax are strong teams. But I don’t think Spartak would finish lower than 3rd or 4th. We are no Utrecht or PEC Zwolle, with all due respect.”

Speaking about Ajax, it was always your dream club. How is that now? “I’m from Amsterdam. Which means you want to play for Ajax. But, I’m not sure whether that’s ever possible. Probably not. But…you never know.”

And to finalise our portrait of winners… Kevin Strootman is renowned for his mentality. And in typical Strootman form, he was very angry at the player who made the mistake against Sweden, allowing them to score. This player was Strootman himself.

“The will to win is strong in me. Very deep. Fighting for the team. I have always done that. Friendlies, practice games… I find it hard to deal with mistakes that cost us points. And when I’m the one making the mistake, well….”

protest ref

Strootman came in front of the cameras after the Sweden game and was super critical on himself. He came to the Oranje camp for Belarus and France with a thigh injury but played a decent game vs Belarus. In the France game, he was again partly at fault for the goal conceded.

Did the Sweden mistake play around in your head? “Well, yes, for a couple of days. Sure. But once you’re at the club, there is that rollercoaster ride of games and you can put it aside. But when I came back to the Oranje camp, it immediately popped up again. We looked back at the Sweden game of course and that blunder was on the big screen again. I looked away. This simply cannot happen.”

This self criticism is part of your personality. Did you have this in the Sparta youth as well? “For sure. But listen, you have a job. If you make a crucial mistake in your job, you’d take it home with you. I think every player has this, but maybe not all players show it.”

Really? I doubt it. “No, I am telling you. This was an obvious howler. A pro player who’d try to talk his way out of this would be ridiculed for days. I made a decision against France. The Pogba goal. It was the wrong decision in hindsight. But it was calculated. I didn’t think that was a blunder. We were out of position. If I bite, and Pogba goes past me, he’s in on goal. I rather have him take a shot from 30 meters than from 15 meters. I forced him to go to Maarten’s right, which is his strong side. Sadly for all of us, the ball was too good. In hindsight, yes, I might have done better to close him down, but that’s all irrelevant now. You make a quick decision and sometimes you’re wrong. With the Sweden mistake, I could live with that better if Bas Dost’s goal would have been allowed. Making a mistake but winning is not that dramatic.”


Strootman is skipper in the absence of Sneijder and Robben. He was positive about Oranje’s development. “We controlled the game versus Sweden and Belarus, bar 20 minutes. The France game, we knew it would be tough to control them. But overal, it’s more stable than – say – 5 months ago. We seem to be able to execute all the tasks the coach puts on us. We don’t give a lot away, we coach each other and work hard. The way we defend dead balls is also much better. Everyone is focused. These are key moments in top football. You got to “stand right” as they say. I remember the Iceland away game. Two moments of loss of focus and we’re 2-0 down.”

The only way is up. “We can play much better even. I think the vibe in the group is excellent. We are a team, we fight for each other. I am sure the rewards will come. And you know what, I think it’s a good thing that we can’t be certain to beat Sweden or Belarus, like we did in the past. We now know we have to give everything against so-called smaller nations. Holland used to qualify with ease. That is behind us. I actually think it’s a good thing. Sneijder said recently, “There was a time when we got out of the bus and said to each other: let’s win this 3-0. That time is over.””

Louis van Gaal allowed Strootman his debut four years ago, against Andorra. He got the skippers band at 22 years old. And everyone thought: Strootman will have 50 or 60 caps when he’s 26 years old and will have played three or four big tournaments. The 2018 World Cup will be his first big tournament, should Oranje get there.


Edgar Pitbull Davids

“Well, I was at the EC2012, but I didn’t play a single minute. The World Cup 2014, I watched on TV as a result of my injury. And we missed the last Euros. I really want to experience a World Cup now and play. It’s a huge motivation. I’m 28 years in two years time. It’s about time I start to present myself on that stage.”

Strootman’s massive injury problems started with a game vs France. Did this play in his head? “Well, I did get a slight knee injury in that game and was subbed. But the real injury happened in a game vs Napoli a week later. So, no. It didn’t cross my mind. I now was troubled with a muscle injury, but the knee will always demand attention, for the rest of my career. I need to work through a schedule constantly, but when I do I am free in my head to play the match. And the more I play, the stronger the knee will get. Your whole body, basically. And the more confidence you build.”

training poland 2

Do you experience the game differently now, post injury? Do you look differently at your career? “With regards to the game, no. And it’s not so that I am less serious about my game, or less frustrated from mistakes. I don’t think I’ll look at my career until it’s over. No time to do that now, hahaha. And football life in Italy doesn’t allow it. You need a top mentality in Italy. In Holland, when you’re injured or a sub, you still get guidance and attention from the coach and the club. In Italy, if you don’t play, you need to make sure you stay fit and that the coach keeps seeing you. It’s tough.”

Is Kevin Strootman the leader of this new Oranje? He shuffles on his seat uncomfortably. “I am one of the players. I’m not bigger or better or more important. I’m a player in service of the artists. I won’t dribble past 5 players to hit the ball in the top corner. Sadly. My qualities are to keep the balance. Fill the gaps. I will lead by example, not with words. I will fight and battle and go into challenges with all I have. I want to win. That is deeply engrained in me.”

But, there is a chance that in a year or so you are the first captain of Oranje? That surely is an honour?

“But do you know what that means? That Arjen is still not fit. That Wesley isn’t available. That is not something that would make me happy at all! It wouldn’t be good for Oranje, nor for me. No no, please let me be the third skipper for  a while, behind these two. All good!”


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  1. Jan once again I ask this question to you? Do you think Karsdorp would have gotten the nod if Janmaat wasnt injured and ahead of Veltman whom you said was getting ready to come on after he was suffering from cramps.?

    Karsdorp has jus after two games has grabbed the balls of Danny.what makes you think there aren’t others who can’t do the same. Karsdorp,don’t think he has been a consistent performer for feyenoord. He jus jumped on the blocks last season.please don’t say jus because feyenoord beat man united,Danny decided to start.

    1. yes if janmaat was not injured we wont see karsdorp…to take such decision Blind needs balls which he doesnt have..
      Terence kongolo is better LCB and LB than his son Daley Blind..NO offense to Daley Blind as he is better than Narsingh,afellay,Depay,klassen etc..but this is how injustice works in NT..Cannt help it..

    2. I am sure Janmaat would have started. And why not? Janmaat is not worse than Karsdorp.

      Janmaat has heaps of assists and has more experience than Rick, with similar drive.

      Veltman is a different right back. Lacks speed. Will change the make up of the team. Who else do we have? Diks? Brenet? Not playing…. Tete? Not playing.

      Karsdorp has been very consisten for Feyenoord I think, but the step from Feyenoord to Oranje is huge.

      Rick clearly impressed Danny at practice. Coaches see these lads on a daily basis, don’t forget.

      And with Sneijder as false LW and Daley not the quickest, the right wing is ideal for a player like Karsdorp/Janmaat.

      Can you explain why this question is so important?

      1. berhguis got the nod under the same circumstance and again he delivered an above average performance. Berhguis never started a single game for watford but yet Danny was convinced jus from his cameo in game vs Aston Villa where he got some assist and decided to give him a late call. this only after Ramselaar got injured.

        it seems like Danny is only prepared to take risk if there is injury or if there is no another viable option.

        it jus makes you wonder how many injuries it will take for him to give other players the nod. why cant he baldy make up his mind in the first place.

        brenet has playing regular for PSV.

      2. Janmaat crosses are not good as karsdorp or kevin diks..but his combination play is excellent.but so is Kevin and karsdorp..
        I would take 3 of them with Roben as right wingers come right backs..plenty of luxuary..

      3. Berghuis was part of the squad earlier on with Oranje, and impressed Hiddink and Blind.

        I do not agree re: Janmaat’s crosses. I watched most of his games at Newcastle and his crosses are very very good. He got some criticism for the Sweden game and his crosses but I think that was unfair. We have no real header in the box with Janssen and Klaassen’s timing was a bigger problem than Janmaat’s crosses.

  2. I love this article, thank you very much jan, it makes me feel more positive, I can’t wait until the next qualification games against Sweden and France, I have a good feeling about the team in the coming few months.
    By the way today is my last day in Amsterdam, I leave at midnight to Beirut and I am planning to enjoy the day in this lovely city and I am going to buy anything that has an oranje color plus some cheese too:)
    One day I will move from the USA to the Netherlands for good so that I can watch every oranje game in person!! That’s a dream that will come true hopefully!!

  3. Massive overhaul coming for u21 as most of the players will be ineligible come next qualifiers.
    The only players who have played and can be eligible are Riechedly Bazoer and Jairo Riedewald, along with Bart Ramselaar. Kevin Diks, Jerry st. Juste, Steven Bergwijn, Donny van de Beek, Timothy Fosu-Mensah ,Dabney Dos Santos, Oussama Idrissi and Patrick Joosten
    Some of the up coming talents from U20 and U 19 could make the transition to the jong orange especially after their on going performance in eredivisie. This includes Abdelhak Nouri, Sam Lammers, Guus Til,Rick van Drongelen,Hidde ter Avest.

  4. @Jan i think Strootman started under bert(that is the only one player bert brought in that dark era of dutch football)he kept him on bench for bommel who was crap at 2012..

  5. Like everybody I’m also ambitious and this is what I’m hoping should happen.

    Buttner finds a new club in January and he breaks into the NT squad. No question on his experience and abilities.

    Nathan Ake,surely has to quit Bournemouth if he really wants to play more and have any chance of making NT squad.

    The new on Afellay is,he his still in rehab at Barcelona and could make a return around December for Stoke.

    Van Ginkel also has recovered from his knee surgery and should be ready for loan in January.

    Tjaronn Chery moves to epl in Jan jus to shut up the critics .

  6. I like it Wilson. I don’t think Afellay will return to form though. Too hard. He lost 3 years or so.

    Van Ginkel might return to PSV.

    Chery should make a move yes.

    Buttner…not sure about him…. He did well for Vitesse and Man U but why is he not performing recently?

  7. Yeah I also think janmaat and karsdorp are very similar in qualities both very good driving forward and both are speedy with skills but they lack a little bit in defense, but we need that kind from the right side because on ur left wing u don’t have that push and speed!! And janmaat played very well against Sweden and he was the one pushing forward all the time!! So this is good to have both as our right backs.
    this is when u start having depth in ur time, when one is injured or suspended u have the other one ready!!!

  8. Karsdorp can become a monster of a player. Regarding Strootman I think he is the future leader of this team (even though I would like Van Dijk to be that one) but at the moment he is having mental lapses that are costing us points. I believe he dared Pogba to shoot which he scored and then Pogba stared him down etc which later led to their altercation. Pogba got into his head.
    Van Dijk also can be huge for years to come and maybe bigger than any defensive player we’ve ever had.
    Janssen is the only hope in attack.
    The sooner we get away from Sneijder/Robben shadow the better. These kids need to learn to be independent of the old men. They need their own confidence and pride.
    I want to add I would rather have us not play great than rely on imports from other countries like Ziyech etc. I want this to be a dutch team not an international conglomerate.

  9. Kevin diks is equally good as karsdorp…may be slightly better too…he was in last year eredivise 11..Blind should not be BLIND to this…but its sad part that,Tete and diks getting spoiled due to lack of playing time by coaches in both clubs…
    At least brenet is getting time some times…
    Our new best talents are in defense and mdifeild…Apart fro janssen and nauri do have any one with real quality up front???

  10. Blind is not blind to Diks. He’s part of the U21 squad. Rest assured: Danny knows who he is.

    But, he was never tested at top level. Played well for Vitesse. And isn’t playing now. End of story.

    I will write a post on this to explain to the ones who don’t get it, how these things work.

    1. I dont think he will get games any time soon under the current setup at Fiorentina. they are currently deploying 3-5-2 and Federico Bernardeschi who has already started for Italy is in front of him.

      but if Danny can give Berghuis the nod jus from one game then…..you be my guest here.

  11. Dropping Bazoer,Kevin diks,Abadhelak nauri,Mensah and kongolo is ULTIMATE sin as of current status…Considering the players selecetd ahead of them
    Veltman RB,klassen for bazoer,Depay over nauri.Blind over kongolo…
    its sin and you get punished for you sin…even if u play well..Coz u r better team with these dropped players..Who can score and take you to WC with janssen,stroot,wijnaldum,Zoet,virgil arround them…

    1. Tiju, you won’t like my coming post my main man.

      Dropping Bazoer is totally logical. The guy lacks form and doesn’t play + we have several options for midfield.

      Diks, Nouri, Mensah, Kongolo were not dropped. They simply weren’t part of the squad.

      Nouri has played 20 minutes in Ajax 1. WTF!

      If you think picking Blind over Kongolo is a sin and Depay over Nouri is a sin, you either don’t know what the word sin means or you are delusional or you are a Portugal fan, or all of the above.

      For crying out loud.

      1. how many minutes depay played?12 minutes in EPL i think..
        kongolo Vs Blind
        pace=kongolo wins by marjins
        Strength=kongolo wins by marjins
        aerial abilty=kongolo wins by marjins.
        tackle=Kongolo yet again wins it.
        Vision for pass=Blind wins it
        over all Kongolo wins it marjins..

        1. nauri Vs Depay
          nauri is faster
          nauri is better dribbler
          Nauri has better accuracy
          Nauri has better vision
          so why not nauri over a flop??i will give him benefit of doubt over experimented flop..

        2. I think you forget about a couple of things: leadership, tactical awareness, experience.

          Memphis played half a game in EL and 70 minutes in League cup too. Which other left winger who demonstrated that he can play at this level do you have in mind?

          1. i thought of leaderhsip skill,tactical awraeness,experince…i dont think Kongolo is inferior to blind in first 2 aspects of game than Blind..Both are really good at it equally..Then comes Experience Blind has it more agree but a Good talent can humiliate expereinced one..i have seen it so why to take risk for experience alone??

          2. Memphis played only due to injury and in only 3 games total less than 12 minutes…thats not the crietria for NT..He has given ample chances by LVG and he let LVG down.he let us down in ECQ2016.he will let us down again if we give chance..He is not in to kuyt catagory like promes or neither he is in to Roben,Robin catagory..He is mix of both and good for nothing..

  12. I have now had a chance to see some highlights and read a lot of comments on our last game, and thanks Jan (and all of you lot) for keeping us informed and uptodate!
    Now – that was as clear a penalty as I’ve ever seen!
    He went down with his arms outstretched , as soon as you do that you are subject to handball, no different to standing on your feet and having your arm away from your body, if the ball hits it then it’s handball. I’m sure it was unintentional but most handball’s are!
    Sure France was a better side, no question in that, but I did see enough to think that we had chances to create something and to score goals, so all is not lost, in fact we are on the up.
    Some of you have said that we must move on from Robben anD Snjieder and I agree, as much as it hurts me to say this.
    I feel Robben will never be the Robben we want and same for Wes they are greats for Dutch football but they are not our future.
    @Tiju I’m glad to see that you have come on board with Virgil, he still may make some mistakes but he is “The Man” ATM. We just need Stroot to find that something extra, something special that great players of the past have in their DNA, for he will Captain this side going forward.
    I’m very happy with Janssen up front, and I love how he fights for every last scrap on the pitch, it is that mentality which has been lacking in years gone by and the reason our trophy cabinet has lots of space. Promes too, I like what I’ve seen, he is future star for us, IMO .
    We are a solid team, we just need that little piece of magic to make us great again, I’ve been critical of Blind snr and jnr but I hope he can unlock the shackles of this team and get us to the WC.

    1. Vanbanger…Virgil is doing better than Bruma and Blind as CB.Still i am not 100 percent convinced though he might be our best LCB choice..
      Infact we are lacking a good reliable LB
      Good left winger(Depay is not the man for that)
      Good understudy for janssen
      Good destroyer…

      1. I hope there will be a change for De Vrij and Van Dijk to work together. They’re both left sided CB’s?

        I believe Elia might well be the left winger. He was in shit hot form before his injury and is back in training.

        We have enough Left full backs. Blind played really well (for Man U and Oranje), Van Aanholt is exciting, Pieters is solid defensively, Kongolo is very decent and there is another youngster on his way at Feyenoord, the White Kenyan, they call him. Woudenberg. Super fast and tall.

        Understudies for Janssen: Dost, Luuk de Jong.

        As for destroyers: we have Strootman, De Roon, Clasie, Bazoer, Hendrix, Fer, Ramselaar…

        Van Ginkel will return at some stage.

        I’m not fussed.

        And Arjen Robben can be the ideal eminence grise in our team. His mentality, his gifted left foot, his experience. Never rule someone like him out. Same with Sneijder.

        1. It’s funny transfermark defines our these players with main position is defensive midfielder:

          Fosu, Hendrix, de Roon, Classie, Anita

          Other players: such as Strootman, Fer, Bazoer, Nouri their main position is Central midfielder but yes somehow they can also play as a side position at defensive midfielder.

          These players: Klassen, Sneijder, Ramselaar they call offensive midfielder


        2. Jan u really mean Claise,ramseelar as destroyers??its shocking for me.at maximum they should be at box to box.rest i agree with..
          Fer,Stroot and De roon can destroy.Especially Fer and De roon..hendrix and stroot not bad either.

          1. Fer destroyer.are you serious, he is very poor in defending and yet you wanna call him destroyer. He is best at CM.

          2. For starters, the difference between playmaker, destroyer and box-to-box is fading fast. Nowadays, modern midfielders need to be all of these things.

            Like Pogba, Kroos, Carzola, Ramsey. Strootman comes close.

            Clasie is a lot but NOT box to box. Fer is not a playmaker.

  13. I still reckon that no 6 position will be Akes. He will grow into a Bosquets type of player. Looking at klaassen on the wing, propper at 10,why not Ake at DM when he has so much top level experience. If Ake has to return to eredivisie like others jus so that the he can be selected in the NT.it will be a total disgrace. When Van Ginkel arrived at PSV hendrix hardly received any minutes but yet when it came to U21s still Grim preferred Hendrix ahead of Ake.
    Fair enough Ake was getting a lot of time at LB for Watford but grim should have used him as competition for Hendrix to get the best out of them.this is what I feel is the biggest downfall of NT and including jong orange.they never create that environment where it all about breathing on each others neck.

    If Ake and Hendrix would have been groomed at u21 level at DM,I’m sure we could have seen the fruit of it.fingers crossed some positive outcome will eventuate in the next transfer window.

  14. Its a pity looking at the transition of u21s,especially those who will not be eligible to play,most probably they will end up in the pecking order based on where they play.sadly they wont be able to make it to NT with the on going club preferences and the selection process of current management.

  15. Fer is a strong player who can play anywhere in the front third, I rate him better than Klassen for starters, he is big strong and mobile and I like that type of player.
    Jan is correct when he say’s that midfielders need to do everything theses days, attack, defend and create this is exactly the reason we need to move on from our past champions as they will not have the legs to do this.
    Remember the basic ethos of “total football” every player is an attacker and defender and the formation should be fluid so that it adapts to the game situation. We invented this (RIP Crujff) yet we don’t play it anymore , as a coach it is easy to plan against structure , it is very difficult to plan against a fluid set up. That is what made the rest of the world take notice of us, that is what made us great, that is what made us the footballing nation that every one admired!
    It’s difficult for Blind, I know, he has only what he has, no Van Basten, Gullit, Ryjkaard, Bergkamp, Overmars, Staam, etc,etc, but he does have a good enough group to qualify for WC 18.

    1. Badly researched article. The writer is criticising Blind for overlooking Fer, Lens and Elia. All players who were injured and would have been in the squad. Waste of time.

  16. Jan i completly agree with you on the point that our current generation lacks character on the off the pitch!

    Me too i was dissappointed that we lost against France and i also felt like lots of others here, that the difference was not that big against France we should have at least drawed against them! We were once again unlucky with injuries and ref decisions! But i am still angry at Blind for not seeing that Bruma is a much weaker in almost all aspects in comparison to De Vrij i would even prefer to see Blind Jr there! Janssen was a machine but again failed to score this weekend for Totenham though he played full 90 min. I am not worried about the talent we have currently and the talent coming through from U19 and U21! But we lack the right structure in the KNVB and the right Coaches/Staff to bring out the best out of our talents, and as long as we dont get that we will struggle.

  17. But i dont complety agree that Midfielders must be able to be playmaker, destroyer and box-to-box in one player! There are still lots of Specialist out there that do great for their squads and with the right balance in the Midfield i dont believe u need 3 Midfielders who can do it all! If u have one genious playmaker with the killerpass and one perfect destroyer like de Jong was for us and one great box-to box player for me that is a balanced and strong Midfield! Strootman for me is not a destroyer rather a box to box player with the ability to defend well same goes for Wijnaldum! Yes Clasie, Hendrix and De Roon are perfect as destroyers/defensive Midfielders! I believe if de Roon manages to be a hit in PL then he should be our defensive Midfielder! And I actually believe that Blind Jr would be our best choice at the moment in that position! In attack i just dont wanna see berghuis again as we have way more talented and proliforic players there! The best game from Promes was on the right side i just dont see him as left winger, perhpas when robben is fit i can see him as number 10 he does play that position in Russia!

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