My dear friends, more apologies from me. I know, it’s becoming a pattern and I’m sorry, but life at this moment doesn’t allow me to write more. Once the Oranje fever is coming up and we get closer to the Euros, you will see more of me. Just busy with work, with set up of a new company, with lots of limitations due to Covid, lower back problems, travel interstate in Oz, etc etc.
But, the pre-selection for the next three friendlies triggered me to pick up the keyboard again. Lets start with comments on the pre-selection and do a quick and dirty overview of the lads, while I prep for some more insightful articles soon again.
Frank de Boer’s pre-selection had some surprises for some and some omissions for others…
The big name missing for me, is Rick Karsdorp. The AS Roma man just renewed his contract with this club until 2025 and he is becoming one of the key players in Fonseca’s plans. The three times capped ex Feyenoord marathon man could be the ideal right full back, but Frank de Boer ignored him. Would he done this if Karsdorp was an Ajax old boy, one wonders?
The inclusions of Maarten Stekelenburg at 38 years surprised people, but not me. I have followed his career (EPL) and remember him playing a sensational match for Everton v Man City a couple of seasons ago, and he still had it. Stopped two penalties! Everton could secure Pickford, England’s number 1, and obviously, the 35 year old Stekelenburg had to make way.
But, in the words of Rafael van de Vaart, he is the second best goalkeeper Oranje ever had (Edwin van de Sar being the #1). “Maarten is technically the best. He has everything. Feet, good in the air, great reflexes and a good vocal coach”, said Rafa recently. “But he is too laid back. He doesn’t care about the jet set life, he likes a cigarette and a beer and is a bit of a stoic.”
If being 18 year young is old enough when you are good enough, than 38 years is young enough, right? He plays really well for Ajax, he has loads of experience and he won’t make a fuss if he needs to be the 2nd or 3rd goalie.
And lets face it… Bizot? He is all over the place recently. Drommel and Bijlow need some more miles and Cillesen only came back into first team playing time recently. Frank de Boer will most likely pick Cillesen as #1 and spot 2 and 3 are open.
Jeremiah St Juste is a surprise inclusion too. I haven’t seen much of him, but what I hear about him is that he can be a bit wild and unfocused at times. Why not Gouweleeuw? Other than that, I think De Boer picked the right lads. Tete does ever so well at Fulham, Veltman to my big surprise does great at Brighton. Was Man of the Match recently and scored even! I personally rate Perr Schuurs higher than st Juste, but like I said, I haven’t seen him play recently.
In midfield, Donny van de Beek is in but will only be called up to help him get fit, as he is currently sidelined with an injury. Gravenberch deserves to start, for me. What a player. Him, Frenkie and Gini in midfield. Strootman back is logical in a way, but unnecessary, for me. I rather see Toon Koopmeiners, Propper or Schouten of Bergamo there. But Koopmeiners is called up for the Young Oranje team which have some key games to play. Same is for Boadu and Noa Lang, the latter might well be the right winger we need for the Euros, by the way.
I would also love to see Bazoer back. He’s amazing for Vitesse, in a free role from the back (I compare him with the likes of Scirea or Beckenbauer). He does play in a back 5, so maybe doesn’t “fit” in Oranje. He also recently had another explosion of anger towards his coach which might have prompted Frank to bypass him.
In attack, Ryan Babel apparently is on good form currently, good on him. Stengs is underperforming and doesn’t deserve to be in the squad. Bergwijn also hasn’t played for weeks due to an injury.
Mo Ihatarren is not in the pre-squad and that is quite logical. The young talent is going through a torrid time at PSV, where the club even issued a statement to the media, saying that after everything the club, the coaches and the players have done for him he still isn’t improving his conduct, and therefore was removed – temporarily – from the squad. By now, he’s back, but rumours of him making a move to Ajax won’t make things better.
But no matter how you look at it, Ihatarren doesn’t deserve a spot. I like to think that Gakpo – now injured – is in front of him.
March 19 is the final selection.