The month August is a terrible month for Dutch football, usually. Our teams usually struggle so early in the quakification games for European places. We also do not have the world class players who usually would be signed the earliest in the season (Raphina, Lewandowski, Haaland), which means Dutch players/clubs usually get to know their future in the final week of the transfer period. In this season, the Eredivisie will be already 4 games in.
Lets have a look at the Dutch NT players and where they are.
The usual suspects are Cillesen, Bijlow, Pasveer, Flekken, Krul as I see them, are all doing ok, but not great. Flekken and Cillesen had some howlers already. Pasveer just got back to fitness and the coming man Bijlow also had a couple of mistakes already. But, I think we’ll find 3 goalies to come to Qatar with us.
Van Dijk is doing what he does best. Lead the defence at Anfield. Ake is getting quite some games now at City, Dumfries came of the bench to score a dramatic winner with the last touch, De Vrij is playing, Rensch is impressing, Wijndal is doing ok with Ajax, as is Blind. Malacia has yet to play a real series of matches with ill-fated Man United. Hateboer and Karsdorp are getting games in, as does Tete. Botman got his first start as well, while Pascal Struijk is a regular starter at Leeds again. Geertruida also impressed at Feyenoord.
Mathijs De Ligt is the only player yet to start from the beginning, but he’ll be fine.
Our midfield is ready for a bit of an overhaul. Wijnaldum has to find a way to get back, while Klaassen and Van de Beek are also still waiting for ample minutes. It seems Steven Berghuis might also lose out now Schreuder seems to enjoy Tadic on the #10 position. Frenkie is not a starter at Barca (yet) but every time he comes onto the pitch, he lifts the game. It feels like – like Cruyff – the midfielder is strengthened by conflict situations. We do see some exciting new names, though and we might see a changing of the guards. Xavi Simons is impressing with everything he does. He’s a real player, great touches, speed, vision, he can score and assist and off the pitch he comes across as a fun, focused and humble professional. I hope LVG takes him to the World Cup. Quinten Timber is another player to keep tabs on.
Another name that established himself in my book is Joey Veerman. In the holding role (next to Frenkie) he can be really good. I love his side-footed finishes, which gives him a lot of control and shows the icy blood in his veins. I think he’s improving positionally as well, so time to give him the nod.
Luuk de Jong does what Luuk de Jong does best, at PSV. Bergwijn is shining at Ajax, while Memphis works hard to be a factor again. He impressed me in the pre-season and if his deal with Juve comes off, he’ll be our leader of the line, as per usual in Qatar. Gakpo is going through a difficult spell, while Noa Lang is also not yet settled. These two are typically players who might find a new club late in the window. Malen is yet a bit invisible (for me) while Danjuma is injured (ankle). Weghorst is playing in Turkey and will find the net, but I think it might be a toss up with Brobbey who has been really good in his hold up play as a #9.
I think we all know by now that Ihattaren is going through a really difficult time. His connections with a gangster family is not helping and Ajax, apparently, is ready to move on. Sad. I don’t think Frenkie and Memphis are probem cases, they are too good to be stopped. Malacia though, might have some issues getting into the Man U side, as Ten Hag does well to protect the lad in this tough period.
I do believe he’s way better than Shaw and will make his mark, but is it in time for the World Cup?
My current squad of 27 would look like this:
Cillesen, Bijlow, Pasveer
Dumfries, Karsdorp, Timber, De Ligt, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Ake, Blind, Wijndal/Malacia
Frenkie, Veerman, Simons, Koopmeiners, Berghuis, Klaassen, Gravenberch
Bergwijn, Memphis, Danjuma, Luuk de Jong, Brobbey, Gakpo, Malen, Lang,
Who do I miss?