Oranje Lessons for Louis van Gaal

This is LVG’s third stint. 8 years ago, we celebrated a tremendous win over World Cup holders Spain, with the 1-5 in Brazil, while earlier on – during his first stint – Louis was tarred and feathered.

How does Louis deal with lessons learned?

It was a rare situation, back in 2001. The players came out of the change rooms after the match and had to ask the journalists whether they knew what the plans of Van Gaal were, with his weird substitutions. Irish midfielder Jason McAteer had just scored for the hosts and Van Gaal took man of the match Marc Overmars off and put Gio van Bronckhorst on. Central striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was already on the pitch, but this time as a winger. No one could understand it, and the players the least! What was Louis thinking?

Overmars himself wondered… “Do you know why was subbed?” Patrick Kluivert actively asked several jounalists. “Do you know what Van Gaal was wanting? I have no clue!” Jaap Stam asked whether Van Gaal had had his press conference already. And Frank Stapleton, former striker for Man United, Ajax and the Irish National Team said: “We want to thank the Netherlands for the substitutions made by coach Van Gaal”.

In 1998 and 2000, Oranje was kicked out of the tournaments due to bad penalty series. The golden generation of Kluivert, Davids, Seedorf, Overmars and Stam was keen to get some revenge. The qualification series started in a positive way. The buoyancy was palpable with the former success coach of Ajax and Barca at the helm.

Under Rijkaard, Oranje beat Yugoslavia 6-1. According to Van Gaal, that match was going to be the norm for Oranje. But under Van Gaal, the Oranje stars never reached that level. While they did manage to get to the semi finals with a similar squad in 2004, under Dick Advocaat.

The dramatic first LVG stint was all the fault of the players, so said Van Gaal. The lads were not open to LVG’s serious, professional and intense approach. Which puzzled him, as he worked with most of them at Ajax and Barcelona before. The players used this exact stance as the reason why it didn’t work. The youngsters from 1995 had grown, developed. They won trophies and went from talents to leaders on the pitch. Players like Stam, Van Bronckhorst, Overmars, Davids had a different status. None of them were going to accept the police man’s approach by Van Gaal. No fines when the laces weren’t done properly. No reprimandes needed for when a player didn’t tuck his shirt in. The players were used to the friendly vibe of Hiddink and the laissez-fair mentality of Frank Rijkaard. These coaches could crack the whip alright, but only when they really needed to. Van Gaal approached the NT role as a club coach, with a key role for fysio Raymond Verheijen.

The players first shared their misgiving informally and off the record. Captain Frank de Boer went into dialogue with Van Gaal and the latter was flabbergasted. “They have a different idea about professional sports and management. That is disappointing. I want to rule out coincidences. I do not believe in a loose approach! When Frank tells me the players just want to be playing football volley or tennis and have a nice time, I am completely flabbergasted and dumbfounded. If that is the new norm… pff…. I expect my players to be hungry, to have ambition!”

“I expect to go back to being a club coach. I have more control and can work with my players daily.”

Louis does self-reflect and will always evaluate himself. This means, the man will develop and change over time. In 2000 and 2001, the key was attacking, dominant posession based football. But in 2012, he decided that that generation of players was not able to bring that type of football. Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie could, but they were getting older. The group of players in the mid 20s lacked the absolute world class of the generation before them. We went from Ronald de Boer, Davids, Seedorf, Cocu to De Guzman, Fer and Nigel de Jong.

When he starts in the second stint, in 2012, he starts with a group session. All players are invited to speak and deal with the issues they encountered under Van Marwijk at the Euros. Van Gaal listens and observes. He wants to see who are the rotten apples, and which players demonstrate leadership. Dirk Kuyt, Wes Sneijder, Nigel de Jong and Arjen Robben speak up. Substitutes should not be able to impact the vibe in the group. Players who can’t deal with not playing need to stay home. Sneijder: “I do not want some guy to ruin five weeks of my life again.”

“When Wesley Sneijder wins the ball in midfield, you need to cheer like this!”

After the meeting, the Brazil manifest is made up. All players sign it. Oranje wins every match in the qualification series, but Van Gaal gets a fright when playing France in a friendly, 3 months before the World Cup. Oranje loses 0-2 but worse: it cannot force their plans onto the opponent. Van Gaal instructs his analytical right hand man Danny Blind to analyse the way Juve and the Italian NT play, with 3 or 5 at the back. Van Gaal prefers to call it the 1-3-1-4-2, it sounds less defensive.

Van Gaal has a couple of big meetings planned. He needs to convince Van Persie and Robben of his plans. The former is quickly convinced, when he sees Feyenoord win in Eindhoven versus PSV as Koeman uses the 5-3-2 with success. The second big job is to get Sneijder fit. The life loving playmaker loves life a bit too much and is not longer as fit as he was in 2010. Life in Turkey is easier than life in Milan or Madrid. Van Gaal has a go at Sneijder publically and he takes the captains band from the midfielder. Sneijder is furious and starts a training program under Henk ten Cate on Ibiza. When Sneijder arrives at the prep trainings camp, his tests seem unreal. There must be a technical glitch. They want him to do the tests again with calibrated machinery. The same results. Van Gaal is gobsmacked, but in a good way!

Wesley Sneijder is considered not fit enough. When the journo asks Van Gaal what he will do when Sneijder is fit enough to tackle and win the ball, the narcissistic coach yells: “I will CHEER for him. CHEER!!!”

Sneijder: “He is a genius, but a crazy one. He annoyed me every couple of days with his antics, also during the tournament, but he did so to spice me up and it worked.”

“When will you win the ball for us?”

Van Gaal has exactly 22 days from start of prep to the first match v Spain. In those days, he’s sculpting his team into something new: the provocative press. Meaning, not too high on the pitch. But enough for the opponent to want to attack Oranje, and when that occurs, space will open up for the likes of Robben or Memphis to use. The distance between players can never be more than 15 yards. Whenever this doesn’t work out, LSV switches back to 4-3-3, he would do this a number of times during the tournament.

“Bloody ‘ell mate, win a ball for us!!”

Memphis Depay is a bit player in Oranje. He is seen as a potential game changer, like Noa Lang is now. But when the mercurial forward tricks Van Persie at a closed off practice session, the Man United star doesn’t stand for it and tackles the youngster hard from behind. When he’s writhing on the pitch, Van Persie also gives him an earful. Memphis is so angry and hurt, that he starts crying after the practice session and Patick Kluivert does what he can to calm the PSV player down. Later that night, Robin van Persie goes to Memphis’ room to apologise and hug it all out. A line in the sand.

As Van Gaal has been quite clear to his players: there is only one goal: achieving success! No man is bigger than the team!

“I am not asking again!! Win possession back!!”

The former Antwerp player didn’t just change his tactics, he also relaxed his overall management style. Van Gaal notices on the day before the Spain match that the players are tense, nervous. So on the morning of the Spain match, he proclaims that they’ll have a quiet day and he invited the wives and kids to come to the players hotel to spend half the day with the whole family.

All the players will later also explain how Van Gaal and Danny Blind have been able to give the squad a details run-down of all scenarios they can encounter in a given game. And practically everything they experience in the matches have been prepped and discussed before hand. The only secret Van Gaal and Blind have, is what they’ll do in case of penalty shoot outs. Keeper coach Frans Hoek has convinced Louis that in case of penalties, Cillesen needs to make way for Tim Krul. The Valencia goalie does not have great stats in this, while Krul has a reputation of being a penalty killer.

Tim Krul is in the know, though. And in the players’ bus, the then Newcastle goalie reserves two seats for himself. The players think he needs to stretch his legs. But he actually analyses the penalty kickers of the opponents, without the other players noticing.

Later in the tournament, Krul is the hero when he stops to pens versus Costa Rica.

Oranje has to shoot penalties in the semi finals versus Argentina as well. By then, the third sub has been used. In hindsight, Van Gaal regrets having subbed Van Persie for Huntelaar as Cillesen can’t stop a single pen and Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder miss for Holland. In an exciting losers finals, Oranje beats Brazil (goals by Van Persie, Blind, Wijnaldum ) and takes home the bronze.

“Ok, so you score a goal. Fine. But I will only cheer for winning the ball back.”

Louis has demonstrated that he is able to be flexible. It does take a time span of 20 years to see this. He went from a strict drill sergeant in 2000 to the flexible and opportunistic coach in 2014 and the warm and friendly uncle in 2022.

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  1. unprecedented success, I do not believe that Ancelloti nor Zidane has the tactical astuteness and keen eye for scenarios as the Dutch master, Louis Van Gaal.

    An unmatched three in a row by Zidane and five, over the laid-back Italians impressive career, of Europe’s most coveted trophy, is impossible to make a case against, if winning is all that matters. And in a lot of ways it is.

    But when you see the brilliance of the mid-nineties Ajax team which defeated a star-stacked AC Milan team, not only to claim the trophy, but twice in the initial stage, you would come to appreciate what teamwork and tactical savvy is all about. That LVG Ajax team of teeming saplings, I contend, is a better team than Zidane’s triple winners and could rival any team Ancelloti has ever put forward.

    In terms of personnel, that Ajax team was a gift from the gods. Every minutiae of instruction had the physical outlet to execute LVG’s vision. And this took a lot of time. And youth who haven’t been corrupted by other systems and trappings of luxury.

    But herein now, I believe, lies the gift and the curse. LVG is strictly a tactician. And the 10 yard rule, the left-footed centre/left-footed right winger, Blind etc and things of that nature are all very dear to him in his attempt to compose his classics. Even sometimes to the obvious detriment of the team one would think.

    LVG , though, would never see this. Everything he does is geared towards a way he wants to play and how he thinks the game should be played. He is a slave to his tactics and practicality only consorted after everything else might have failed. And this is most times a little too late.

    This is why also you see these head-scratching decisions not only from LVG against Ireland but Advocaat versus the Czechs. Both decisions are uniquely Dutch. And as you would guess, both coaches, to this day, would still stick to the validity of their call.

    The bigger point I am trying to make here is that Dutch coaches are not near enough practical and way too clever for their benefit. Playing a fullback who can’t really run or defend is going to be good until you face an opponent of a similar level, then exploited. Using players as cogs in this extreme sense will always backfire if the system is not as practiced and perfected as the mid-nineties Ajax team.

  2. Cont. Now, what Zidane and Ancelloti have been able to achieve is heavily dictated by practicality relative to LVG’s stance. They both play to their players strength and their game-time adjustments is near impeccable. See the changes Ancelloti made against Liverpool. How purposeful…

    That’s because do not try to force their plans(tactics) so much on the game but duly respond in real time as the match unfolds. LVG and generally dutch coaches lack this practical insight as all and every thing is thought out on a delicate level. What other coach in Europe would have taken out Malen again against the Czechs? It was so clear for anyone to see that his pace and potential to run behind was the only thing keeping the Czechs honest and at bay. But leave it with a student of the Dutch school to overthink it and try to impose his savvy against all practicality and common sense.

    Football is a game of moments. In that regard, exploiting the opponents weaknesses and driving at the heart of any mistake, in real time, will always trump hours and hours of work on the chalkboard.

    1. Very nice insights there. Well said. I wonder if Ten Hag will be Van Gaal Mark 2, at Man U. I don’t like the Dutch Invasion that usually happens when coaches go to big clubs (Van Gaal > Barca, Koeman > Barca, Ten Hag and Timber, Antony, Frenkie, Danjuma, Martinez (and I know Martinez and Antony aren’t Dutch of course, but they’re Dutch Eredvisie players….)

  3. PSV looks like it could be shaping up to be a title contender:


    Ajax so far have only gotten weaker, and look to get even weaker if Antony, and Martinez leave. Bergwijn probably coming in though. Might line up:


  4. Every media nowadays is talking on Messi. But his records in worldcup knockout matches are not great. He has no goals and just 1 assist in 8 world cup knock out matches.Thev

  5. @jan

    Re: I don’t like the Dutch Invasion that usually happens when coaches go to big clubs

    I agree and it’s an extension of what have been said. Dutch coaches are only comfortable with what they know and the reluctance to expand their horizon is hurting them not only on club but international level.

    We can see that the Dutch system has yielded the most reward when there is a tweaking of some sort. The ’88 champions, 2010-14 teams.

    And this leaves one to wonder what could be if the willingness is apparent and certain players are utilized for their qualities and just not how they fit into a ready-made way of playing.

    The Dutch have tethered themselves to a past that has been both a gift and much more a barrier to an exciting, unpredictable future.

  6. And now De Vrij and DUmfries are being linked to man United too, with malacia and frenkie and Donny already there , this is getting dangerous , if ten haags project fails , then all these guys are screwed because they will be an easy target for English media and they will end up getting sold to low ranked premiere league teams….. we’ve seen this happen before

    I thought ten haag was gonna take a different approach than previous Dutch managers who moved to manage big clubs in Europe but is he falling in the same trap like all the former ones?

    1. Looks like it. I thought De Vrij and Dumfries were on Spurs’ radar and De Ligt on Chelsea. I think Man U wants martinez (Argentine) and Antony (Brazilian) so if they get that mix, it will be a Scot, a Spaniard, couple of Portuguese players, English players, some Dutchies, and the two South Americans. Why not?

      1. Of course if he succeeds that would be awesome and amazing for the Dutchies in his team, and it will lead to more top premiere league teams trying to sign Dutch players from erdivisie, I do trust ten haag and I feel like he is a master tactician who knows what he is doing and he is not bringing some dutchies because their are compatriots but he is bringing the ones who will make him thrive in England (at least that’s my hope, it’s been a very long time since we had a top Dutch manager outside Eredivisie with a huge club like United, if he succeeds things will be great for oranje too as those oranje players in his team will be playing top football week in week out, fingers crossed)

  7. ————————————bijlow————————-
    ——Dumfries—Timber———Van Dijk——Malacia——

    This 4-2-3-1 is as talented as it gets

  8. ———bijlow—————
    -Dumfries—Timber—Van Dijk—Malacia-

  9. I will go for the second one but De ligt instead of Timber of maybe De Vrij.

    Im hoping Van Gaal will switch to 4-3-3 should Ihattarren make good progress till September then in the lead up to WC warm ups.

    If this world cup was in the summer of (2023), I would say Nerthlands defintely would have been contenders. It’s just if they would have played more together and in different formation and different combinations given the options upfront, it would have given the players more time to jell together and build a good chemistry. Danjuma, Lang and Gakpo with Depay and Bergwijn in particular plus Gravenverch and Frenkie combo if any. I think it will take up 20 caps for news players to really make big impact in the team and reach the level of most of the core players right now.

    This is where I feel this Dutch team might take the hit compared to other big teams and given they are to face Brazil and Argentina in knock out stage.

    Can you imagine Danjuma, Gakpo,Lang,Ihattaren, throw in there simons in 2 years time together with Depay and Bergwijn, Gravenberch and Frenkie . This is why I have very high hopes for 2024 and then it becoming a perfect platform for winning 26WC. If koeman fails with this contingent, its gonna go down as the worst ever failure in the history books even worse than that of Danny Blind.

    This has to be the next golden generation of Nertherlands.

    1. The second one is the same as the first one I think??

      But yeah, overall we should be in fine shape in the future… It’s like this always eh? The hope on the new generation…

      1. I think this generation is special compared to the last generation (Israel U21) in terms of everything and plus the transfers are going good as well. Other players are also doing good and are regulars at their club and playing at highest level as well. Those returning back to eredivisie is also a blessing. This season should be a tight affair as well. The stars are defintely linning up and only some dump decisions will ruin the future projection of these players.

  10. We also often see the team that goes through the toughest goups rounds draws go on to win. Germany beat France, Brazil and Argentina in 2014, France beat Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium and Croatia in 2018. Will history repeat itself?-

  11. Bergwijn done deal to Ajax, that’s great news and finally Ajax are learning that in this super materialistic world we live in where psg who was born yesterday as club gets to become a huge club in Europe just because of money, the only way to stay among the elite is to spend some money and I love that they are looking at too Dutch players like bergwijn or potential future stars like brobbey!!!

    Ajax next year


    Not bad eh? They can do some damage in Europe unfortunately Martinez would’ve made them much more solid had he stayed 🙁

    1. I like how you always just throw three de facto attacking mids into a three man midfield. Alvarez won’t lose his spot (unless he’s transferred), he’s the best defensive mid in the league. Klaassen and Berghuis will keep the 8 and 10 spots and it will be up to Ihattaren to dethrone one of them. I honestly think Kenneth Taylor has a better chance of creeping in at the moment.

  12. De Ligt heavily on the radar for Bayern. Ziyech probably on his way to AC Milan. Eriksen to Man United most likely. Feyenoord will lose Columbian winger Sinistera, he’ll go to Leeds for a big fee.

    Til signed for PSV, the traitor :-).

    Exciting new season, with Ajax and PSV at each other’s throats.

    Slot is dealing with signings for Feyenoord without TD Frank Arnesen who is pretty sick at the moment (bacterial infection in knee). He is focusing on Calvin Stengs from Nice and I assume Oussama Idrissi is on the radar too. The former Feyenoord developed player who made a name for himself at AZ can’t cut it in Spain.

  13. People forgetting Donyell Malen,he is way better than Danjuma…Malen is livewere when we put him as sub…He could rec hovac after halftime …
    Donny van de beek will come back to NT..i see
    Depay-Berjwin-Gakpo-Lang-Malen-Brobbey–Berghuis-Luuk-Weghorst as forward pool…Van gaal is not a big fan of less working lethargic danjuma..which is good for team
    ..midefeild would be for battle
    Frenkie,Gravenberch,koopmeiners,Jerdy,Van de beek,Guus till…We dont need Gini wijnaldum…let him fight for BLM or something like that..He is busy in politics..
    Daley Blind is still miles ahead of owen winjdal…Both Malacia and tyrell is gurentee untill unless there is injury….
    RB should seal with dumfries and karsdorp…not with shi$%$%tboer..
    so the pool is
    Ake,Virgil,Botman,Indi(waste of time)
    De vrij,De ligt,timber

  14. It’s very funny looking at the signings Ten Hag is trying to bring in.

    Malacia (Dutch)
    Eriksen (Ajax)
    Frenkie (Ajax)
    Antony (Ajax)
    Martinez (Ajax)
    Brobbey (Ajax)
    de Ligt (Ajax)

    He’s trying to turn United into Ajax from 2019.

      1. These are all rumours though. De Ligt is going to Bayern. I wouldn’t be surprised if Man U needs to make do with Martinez and Antony. With Malacia and Eriksen, they have a decent team.

        De Gea

        RB – Martinez – Varane – Malacia

        McTominay – Vd Beek

        Antony – Eriksen – Fernandez


        Subs: Fred, Telles, Sancho, Maguire, Elanga, Hannibal, Dalot, Wan-Bissaka

        1. I must say if Ten Hag builds the midfield around VdBEEK and the way transfers are going, he will just end up like other coaches before him.

    1. also with the departure of Galiter from Nice to PSG and with the arrival of Lucien Favre as Head coach from Dortmund, could be good news for Stengs. he became a victim of Gailters 4-4-2 formation which really didnt suit his style of play and his strengths. ajax were rumoured to be after him but looks like that interest has cool down. that Banel guy in Jong Ajax also looks like an intresting prospect on the right. well in the pre season games. lets see whats happens there and if he can get into the ajax main squad.

  15. frenkie, Gravenberch, Reis, Matusiwa,Simons, Ihattaren, Veerman. this is the dream midfield Im looking at by 2024. Reis is coming up to top form at Hamburg and its not long before he gets scouted by teams in top tier leagues. Eintracht Frankfurt have said be scouting him but nothing official. Matusiwa is in the same boat, give him another season, he will have suitors lining up for him. Granenberch is at Bayern , Simons and Ihattaren definitely have big season coming up for them . for Veerman I think his major challenge would be to improve on his defensive break down areas where he often turn out to be soft getteing overpowered or giving away possession.

  16. Did not expect this would ever happen but it happened. Huiberts sold Wijndal to Ajax, the bitter rival, which is also happened to be a graveyard for AZ players. I thought Huiberts is a consistent manager and when he said AZ was not selling its top players to rivals he would stick to that. Unfortunately, the fear of losing Wijndal for a free transfer took a toll on this merchant. Very disappointing.

  17. They should move for jayden Oosterwolde. I remember he was been scouted last season in the event of wijndal depature. But it didn’t eventuate. He is now surplus at Twenty and just came back from loan at Parma in serie B.

  18. @Wilson,
    Maxim Gullit is Ruud’s son. He is in Cambuur. I believe he left permanently there. Mohamed Taabouni left because he was unable to break into first team. I personally never been impressed by him: too light, too weak; if wind blows strongly in Alkmaar he would have been gone by that wind. Wish him all the best in Feyenoord.

  19. watched Club Brugge pre season friendly with Utrecht. must say Bjorn Meijer looked good. Marcus Alonso (Chelsea) esque player. defensively didnt had much to do so still to early to say anything. some body to look out for. lang scored the opener in 4-2 win.

  20. Im all in for Noa Lang to be the next big name, to break out out Dutch camp. he just needs to continue on the current trajectory and with more games for NT, he will definitely raise the bar even higher and at the same time attract big suitors as he goes along. The WC will pave the way for this. he is destined for big things and only needs to make sure he makes the right choice come his next club. he the type of player you always want the ball to go to. typically whom can pull something out of nothing. like Robben in the last decade.

  21. Tyrell Malacia is winning the fans of manschester united..He is amazing , he should be our undisputed starter at NT….
    @Wilson Noah Lang has good work rate like Berjwin and Depay…thats the key..while you dont see that from Danjuma…Noah lang,Depay,Berjwin,Gakpo and Berghuis has amazing work rate thats where they get the cutting edge over Danjuma…

  22. Ajax’s transfers have been really interesting. Paying quite a bit for Wijndal and now Bassey, almost seems like it’s displacing Blind from the squad. Ajax aren’t the type of club to pay over 15 million for a player to keep them on the bench.

    At first I thought the backline would be Wijndal, Blind, Timber, Rensch, but now it looks like Blind, Wijndal and Bassey will be sharing two roles. Keep in mind Tagliafico and Schuurs are still on contract there too, starting to see a deep squad from Ajax.

    Brobbey is practically signed. I assume he becomes the starter right away, with Tadic and Bergwijn flanking him, although Antony is technically still on contract. I could see there being games with Tadic through the middle and Bergwijn on one side and Ihattaren/Berghuis on the other.

    The midfield three will likely start as Berghuis, Klaassen and Alvarez, but I could see Kenneth Taylor breaking in. Kudus and Ihattaren will be fighting for the number 10 role with Berghuis.

  23. Kenneth Taylor looks a real deal, and could be break-out ☆ for Ajax this season. He has good passing range and drives forward with purpose. More attacking than Frenkie De Jong.
    Hoping for same with Xavi Simmons and Ihatteren. If it happens, these three can be wild card for the NT for WC. We are still lacking the cutting edge upfront.
    Defense and Midfield we are good I feel

  24. Barca is doing a SHi@$@%itest things to our most valued player Frenkie De jong they woe 17 million to him..uefalona /farcalona is always a creepy club since 2005..i hope frenkie joins Manunited as Frenkie has regressed his progress at farcalona….clueless english media is also hunting him…
    Anwyas i am thrilled about LVG and our team…
    Malacia—Virgil—De vrij—Karsdorp
    on bench
    ——Koopmeiners——–Jerdy Schouten——–
    Extra men
    Tim krul
    With stand by
    De beek
    Luuk de jong
    only weak point is we dont have good LB except Malacia..

  25. I have said this before, 3 minds is better than 1 mind and for frenkie he is not the typical kind of midfielder that Xavi would go for to revive his days at current barcelona. Frenkie has is own ups and downs but you can understand why they have put him up for sale. Firstly they can get good $$$ and secondly he can be well be replaced.Pedri, Gavi are still young but they have already made their mark and they are typically whom fit into the system which xavi trying to reenact . Then there is Busquets whom has his own strong hold in that point backward DM/CM role with pedri, Gavi, Nico around and with the arrival of kessie, its pretty much congested in there. I also said this when koeman took over Barcelona and tried to build the midfield around frenkie. It didn’t work and he ended up shifting frenkie to the right.

    By no means im saying frenkie is not good but in modern day football it’s all about playing collectively and which combo can work the best. If frenkie stays at Barcelona he will be subject to rotation and minimal game. He should move.

    In NT van gaal is trying to play frenkie at 6 in point back wards but he thrives better in that point forward role as LCM which has been his strong hold. He is the type of midfielder who will thrive in either that role (LCM) in 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 which again he needs to adpot if he moves to a club playing that formation. If you look back After strootman no dutch midfielder has been able to thrive in that double midfield pivot role. Clasie, Van Ginkel, VDBeek,wijnaldum, hendrix, De Roon. This can be attributed to eredivisie and dutch style of football where 4-3-3 has been dominant through out with very few teams with foregin coaches opting to use diffent option.

    This could be the challenge for frenkie going forward playing in different positions and again when other midfielders arrive on the NT stage. I mean you look at Gravenberch, he plays the same position as frenkie and where he thrives the best on that left side. If he comes on board then defintely either frenkie has to shift to the right or either will have to scumb to the bench. With more midfielders coming up, whats happening at Barce will be applicable in NT. The best trio who can complement the team better collectively. Again this will have to be seen when different calibre midfielders are avaliable in NT or when frenkie is competing against other midfelders in at club level in different formations etc

    On Kenneth Taylor, he is no different to when VDBeek, Eiting, Bazoer and others who first arrived on the Ajax scene and were hyped up. Like I mentioned it will all come down to their trajectory after they leave Ajax and move abroad. I mean you look VDBeek situation at Man United. Even with Ten Hag there, its hard seeing him make the cut.

  26. Have to say PSV are looking very good in the pre season and the JC Shield match vs Ajax this week will be a mouth watering clash. They beat real Betis 2-0 in the last game of the pre season. Gakpo and madueke both again leading the attack and mesmerizing the defends. Expect both of them to be in the thick of things again this season. Gakpo scored the opener from madueke’s assist and then Mwene scored the winner again from Madueke assist. Veerman looked much improved and particular his break down of play was phenomenal. He bullied nabil fekir like a school kid. Given all the signing this is a very solid squad for PSV under RVN.

  27. Stengs also put up a good show for Nice vs Roma. This could be a breakout season for him under new coach Lucien Favre. Had a assist on the opener before karsdorp’s shot was headed into his own goal by Nice player (lemina).

    In transfer new, Justin Kluivert is set to switch to Marseille with negotiation almost complete. Good move for him given Marseille will be playing CL.

  28. Hi all, apologies for my radio silence. The time in Europe with my sick family member was tough and when I finally returned in Oz, I got done by Covid. Darn!

    But back now and coming up shortly with an overview of the Dutch top clubs. First off, an interview with Alfred Schreuder.

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