And it needs it! In order to really have a go and reach the World Cup, we need good potency. I always felt Advocaat is a big of a dick, with his greed-oriented behaviour. He disappointed so many clubs and nations (PSV, Australia, Belgium, Sunderland, KNVB) and all for a bigger pay-check.
But, he does get things done and we do not have many highly experienced and willing coaches left in Dick’s age-category. Van Gaal isn’t interested, Van Marwijk is happy in the sandbag, Van Hanegem and Jansen not willing, Stevens not willing, Michels is dead… Time for a new generation (Ten Hag, Bosz, Cocu, Gio, De Boer) but all these guys are happy to work with players on a day by day basis.
Big Dick will join the squad later, with assistant Ruud Gullit. Until he does, Fred Grim and Frans Hoek will keep the reigns and manage Oranje past the two upcoming friendlies… Morocco first. Ivory Coast on Sunday.
The Dutch squad is becoming complete today. Wesley Sneijder traveled late from Turkey, directly to Agadir. Grim already stated that he’ll give the 32 year old captain playing time. Wes only needs two more games to topple Van der Sar as the most capped Dutch player ever. He’ll get that record, with two friendlies on the roster. The Ivory Coast game is actually on his 33rd birthday. What an accomplishment for the little playmaker!
Jesper Cillesen came late to the camp too, as he had to play (and win) the Spanish Copa Del Rey with Barca. A look at three players who had an exciting but not necessarily good first season at greener pastures…
Nathan Ake – Chelsea:
“It’s fun to be part of the Dutch team for the first time. I’ve played in all Oranje rep teams as off under-15 and now it’s an honour to be part of the big Oranje. Marc Wilmots is the team manager of Ivory Coast, who called me as well. He wanted to know if I was happy to think about playing for the country where my dad is born. And I said, yes I will. But Holland is my first choice and I think Wilmots understood. I still have family in Ivory Coast, by the way, but I’ve never visited. My mum is Dutch, we’d go to Ivory Coast when I was 18 years old but I’m 22 years old now and it hasn’t happened. Should I get official playing time versus Luxembourg, the decision will be made. My parents support me fully.
This was a good and interesting year. I was loaned out to Bournemouth. I didn’t play a minute in the first months but I got my chance and took it. Coach Conte called me personally to say he wanted to get me back in the winter. I think I can now determine myself, what will happen. Next season, I will get my chance and I want to play as much as possible. I can play on several positions but my favorite spot is the left central position. But we’ll see whether Chelsea will offer me playing time… Time will tell.”
Vincent Janssen – Spurs
“My first season at Tottenham is behind me now. I don’t think it was what I hoped for, in terms of playing time. That is quite clear I suppose. But I do notice I have grown as a player. Last year around this time we had an Oranje camp in Portugal as well, and I can feel I’m much stronger and quicker in my handling the ball. The last few months I was much more settled at Spurs but hey, we won 12 out of 13 games in the EPL and were in good form, so the coach didn’t have much reasons to give me more time. The team was doing so well. What will happen the next season? I am not sure. It’s not just me who determines this of course. The coach didn’t do a personal assessment with all the players, he basically just thanked the group. Individual talks is more a Dutch thing I suppose.
I hoped the KNVB would have gone on with Danny Blind. This is the first time in career I deal with the sacking of a coach. And I still owe a lot of gratitude to Danny Blind for his confidence. He allowed me my debut and he let me play ten international games. I spoke to him after he was let go. I haven’t spoken to Mr Advocaat yet, but i worked with him earlier, when he was assistant and he’s very present, dominant and had numerous tips for me.”
Jesper Cillesen – Barcelona
“I’m happy that I could finish the season with Barca winning a prize I actually contributed to. The cup tournament became my tournament. And I do like some more of that taste. It will be an interesting summer, you never know what to expect in the summer. Anything can happen now, with Valverde coming in as the new coach. It’s been really intense. The step from Ajax to Barcelona is quite big. On the pitch, but also off the pitch. In terms of tactics, mentally… I had times where I hit a wall.
But I have become a better goalie. I’m dealing with the best forwards on the planet. When I first started in practice, Messi would hit the target with a venom and precision I didn’t get at Ajax. In those first weeks I felt like I was in 2011, when I became part of the Dutch squad while still at NEC! But, I do stop shots by Neymar, Messi, Suarez on training. I am used to the pace now. I’m ambitious though, I want to become the #1 goalie here. Even though Ter Stegen has just renewed his contract, I’ll will go head to had with him. I feel good about it.”
Frans Hoek (right) amazed by Martins Indi’s haircut
Daley Blind, Davy Klaassen, Jeremain Lens, Arjen Robben, Kevin Strootman, Stefan de Vrij and Gini Wijnaldum also made it later to the squad due to obligations elsewhere.
In total, Oranje has 28 in the group to prepare for the friendlies. Dick Advocaat: “We decided on a bigger group as some players will come to the training camp later due to obligations. We don’t know how fit they will be. We need to prepare for the worst and at this stage it won’t be harmful to have a bigger group with some younger, fresher players as Oranje is in transition.”
By the way, Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) will not be part of the Moroccan squad. The playmaker who could be so potent for Oranje decided to go for Morocco but the relationship between him and the French coach of Morocco is troubled. Renard first ignored the former Heerenveen talent for the Africa Cup, now Ziyech decided to sit the NT out until Renard is removed…
New boys Jens Toornstra and Sergio Padt (goalie Groningen)
Other “Dutchies” in the Moroccan squad: King Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Nordin Amrabat (Watford), Mimoun Mahi (FC Groningen), Sofyan Amrabat and Yassin Ayoub (both with FC Utrecht).
There is one player not selected who did make some headlines. Ryan Babel (ex-Ajax, ex-Liverpool) is now 30 years old and found his second wind, winning the title in Turkey (under Big Dick’s nose!) with Besiktas. The former Oranje winger tweeted: “Disappointed that Oranje doesn’t seem to need my services”. He said later: “Somehow in Holland people think my career is over. I’ve been under the radar too much probably, but I’m back at my best now. I think I am able to support Oranje in these crucial times.”
Ryan Babel screams “Whyyyy Dick???”