Oranje’s future…

What a year we had… With Ajax in last CL season and with Oranje… first in the Nations League and of course in our Euro qualification matches… We have seen Frenkie and Mathijs go to the big leagues, we saw Chong and Zirkzee making waves, the likes of Tete and El Ghazi making good on their promise and AZ impressing domestically and internationally… But we also saw Ajax being shafted by the VAR this last half year, Mathijs sidelined at Juve, we saw Daley Blind going to grass and Memphis and Malen with serious injuries…

Lets look at what this all means.

Memphis and Malen

I think we need to be realistic. We shouldn’t count on them for the Euros. Donyell Malen, maybe. He might be back in April or May and right in time to make a Marco-Van-Basten-style return… Memphis is probably sidelined until next season and it might be best for him – and therefore, for Oranje – when he focuses on 2022, in Qatar. The question is not: can they be fit in time, but: would it be wise for them to even try….

Memphis working hard

Donyell Malen in Florida

Daley Blind

It’s really vague what’s going on. Ajax doesn’t tell us a lot. “Insurance policy and privacy of the player”. Daley himself is optimistic on his Insta-feed but he didn’t travel to Qatar and we haven’t had any serious updates. His loss will be felt, should he not be able to get back to his old level, both at Ajax and at Oranje. His leadership, his passing, his sense of positioning… I don’t think we can find a player in the squad who can offer what he has to give. Let’s wait and see.

Mathijs de Ligt

I don’t think him not playing for a spell would be a serious problem. We’ve seen that his Turkish rival also got injured. It would sense if Sarri will sign another centre back in this transfer window but despite that: Mathijs will get his minutes. He is still highly regarded and he had a pretty amazing late block in the match vs Roma. He and his team mates cheered the interception as if he had scored. He’ll be fine.

So when we take into account the incredible development of the likes of Boadu, Stengs, Wijndal, Koopmeiners, Ihattaren, Gakpo and the fact that we have Ake, De Vrij, Vincent Janssen, Jetro Willems, Tete, Weghorst, Wijnaldum, De Roon, Propper, Van de Beek and many others in the wings, I don’t think we need to worry too much.

Willems staying longer at Newcastle

However… replacing Memphis, who was so important for us, will not be easy. His work rate, his showmanship, his leadership and personality, his free kicks, corners and crosses, his important goals (even when he plays like shite all day, he’ll score you the winner)… I can see several players doing what he can do, partially. Babel can work his arse off. Stengs can score goals and dribble. Promes or Berghuis can hit a free kick, Weghorst can hassle, but there is not one player who has it all. Like Memphis.

So what are the options for Ronald Koeman?

Like I said, he can opt to replace Memphis for another player. Some say Babel. Others want to see Weghorst. Another group yells Boadu. Promes also played centre striker at Spartak…they’re all good options. But I want to propose a different one. Also taking into account that we might miss Blind as well.

Memphis: “I’ll tell Koeman that you should replace me!”

I would opt for a 3-4-3.

Playing three at the back:

De Ligt – De Vrij – Van Dijk

With a four man midfield, with Blind on the left (when fit). Or alternatively, Van Aanholt or Wijndal.

On the right hand side, I really hope for Tete or Rick Karsdorp. But Hateboer or Dumfries are decent alternatives. Not great. But decent.

Frenkie on the left inside, with Van de Beek next to Frenkie.

Then three players up top. Promes with Wijnaldum as false striker and Bergwijn or Stengs on the right.

Obviously Cillesen or Krul as the goal keeper (depending on the rhythm of Cillesen, who lost his spot briefly).

With this tactics, I don’t think we’ll have to worry too much defensively. When the opponent plays with three forwards, Daley can drop back and help the back three. But most opponents will play with one striker or two strikers, these days. The centre backs are all good build up passers, and De Ligt can easily move into midfield when the opportunity is there.

Blind can act as a playmaking midfielder alongside Frenkie, allowing Frenkie to roam while static Blind keeps his position. When Frenkie stays put, Donny van de Beek can make penetrating runs, with De Ligt covering. Obviously, the communication between Van de Beek, Tete and De Ligt needs to be top.

Tete, Karsdorp or Dumfries can make marauding runs on the right, allowing for Bergwijn/Stengs to dart inside to support Wijnaldum or even take the #9 role when Gini drops off. This also allows Van de Beek to penetrate into the box as well, and like with Ajax, Oranje will become a Total Football team with players constantly moving in and out of position.

We’ll have length enough with set-pieces. Wijnaldum is a good header of the ball, as are De Ligt, De Vrij and Van Dijk.

We’ll have more than enough legs and penetration, with Donny, Gini, Bergwijn and Tete/Karsdorp/Dumfries.

We’ll have enough football guile and intelligence, with Frenkie, Blind, Promes and Wijnaldum.

And we have goals! Bergwijn, Promes, Wijnaldum, Van de Beek…all good goal scorers.

And should Daley- God Forbid- not make it, I think Wijndal or Willems will offer the footballing skills we need on the left, although Koeman could also opt for the legs and the opportunistic play of Van Aanholt… Even Tonnie Vilhena is an option for that role, should Wijndal or Willems not cut it, for whatever reason.

This would be my line up.

With Ihattaren as the first sub from the bench, being able to play playmaker (even in Frenkie’s role) or as false striker in the Wijnaldum role.

And Weghorst for if we need a pinch hitter.

Boadu would also be in my squad.

My 23

Cillesen – Krul – Bizot

Tete – Karsdorp – De Ligt – De Vrij – Van Dijk – Blind – Ake – Wijndal

Propper – Van de Beek – Frenkie de Jong – Wijnaldum – Ihattaren – Marten de Roon

Stengs – Boadu – Weghorst – Bergwijn – Promes – Babel

Tell me your solutions!!

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  1. Couple of things:
    1. Juventus will not be looking for another central defender, which means De Ligt will have a place in the base.
    2. In contrast to seventeen of the twenty largest competitions in Europe, salaries in Eredivisie dropped 1% compared to last year. NO wonder why players want to leave NT as soon as possible.

    1. Hello AZ FOREVER. I see you have been highly critical about Boadu but I reckon if he stays injury free he will have turn heads at euros. just like patrick kluivert when he first burst on the scene at ajax and NT.

        1. I do not doubt his talent but he needs to work on increasing his efficiency. In average he scores every fifth almost 100% attempts. I think it is very wasteful.

          1. Dont you think it will come as he plays more and more. Injury aside. You look at Malens trajectory, even he is in the same boat as him. However what makes me more optimistic about him is what he does when he is not scoring including the mix firing part as you mentioned. Reading lines, fluently holding play, finding pockets spaces and stretching defenders.etc I found this video and its quiet pickable.


          2. He is as good as kuyt or klassen as finisher type..offcourse he is beter on ball than both..

  2. Jan, I feel your 3-4-3 and player selection are really good, utilizing the players’ strength well.

    On Depay, despite the important goals and wins he had brought us, I’m still not fully convinced of his play thusfar…

  3. Jan, I feel your 3-4-3 and player selection are really good, utilizing the players’ strength well.

    On Depay, despite the important goals and wins he had brought us, I’m still not fully convinced of his play.

      1. You also have to take in consideration in NT he is not around the same skill set of players like to that of Lyon. In today’s day and age you would wanna have a striker like lautaro Martinez or kun Aguero.deadly finishers

  4. My prediction, the next golden generation is on the horizon for NT and out of the next three WCs EXCLUDING 2022, they will break the jinx in one of them.the reason being this time around there are all different types and skill set of players that are about to explode onto the NT Stage

    If you look at 90s golden generation this was also one of the features. zenden and overmars could play on either flanks, bergkamp could slot in anywhere up front and then Ronald De Boer as well who was plain but an artistic winger. kluivert, hasselbaink all just stocked plied the options upfront.

    well it has taken a decade but you can can just tell its about to unfold again. You have Dilrosun and adekanye, pure left footed wingers which we have not seen since Robben and technically ellia. stengs also being gifted in operating from the right.Groeneveld gakpo, kluivert,Lang,chong will simply stock pile as many options for the coach and intensify competition at the same time.

    Same goes for the forwards.with Malen, Lammers,Zirkzee,Boadu,Redan,brobbery , and again with Memphis around there will be no shortage in the artillery for goals upfront.

    In the back line Ake and De ligt have long way to go, and should van dijk decline, they should take over the reign. hoever also looks destined for a great feature at Liverpool and could slot in at either CB OR FB. So far what I have seen of sandler, he looks to be a top defender in making with van Drongelen schuurs as well. I reckon the CBS are sorted for the next ten years. The list and talents are both big and long. Fullbacks Bakker, wijnadal, juan familio castilio, tete and hoever, fesu menash , karsdorp and Dumfries maybe if he can prove critics wrong

    The midfield is one department that might require strategic thinking with respect to formidablility and efficiency as an dynamic pack amd not just built around one player. If you look at Gravenberch and koopmeiners, when they arrive on the NT stage, you can’t expect frenkie to be cock blocking them just because he is playing at Barcelona. If there is case that without frenkie there is possibility of building an overall dynamic pack in the midfield, then it shouldn’t be overlooked. I also expect frenkie to hit the stumbling blocks when all rounded midfielders of high quality arrive at Barcelona and no one needs to be reminded what happens in terms of preferences when different coaches come in and go. Like I said, there is gravenberch, koompeiners, Reis, Veerman ,Ihattaren,Talyor, Naci Ünüvar , all are highly talented and with make shift options such as Lang, Ake, sandler, there shoildunt be any shortage in the midfield in the next decade atleast.

    Outside of this group I think PSG starlet Xavi simmons should be an exciting talent to watch for and also Ian Maatseen of Chelsea who could be one hell of a versatile player.
    As for the euros it was inevitable and it was coming and koeman has no choice but to go compact as what jan has said. This is what I would go for.

    Babel – boadu


    willems- Fenkie – Til -promes

    Ake -van dijk – deligt

  5. Real Madrid lost kid Mink peeters has popped up at FC Volendam and will try to resurrect his career under Wink jonk whom are doing exceptionally well in eerste divisive. It has been a nightmare for him looking for playing minutes.looks like it’s start from scratch for him.

  6. 3-4-3, with Gini up front. Wow. My mind is blown, Jan. This is the boldest proposal of yours I can remember.

    Back line defense of those three? Wow. But sould be a whole different attack.

    Do you think Koeman can be that bold?

    1. It is not that farfetched. Not long after DePay and Malen were injured, I wrote on here that Wijnaldum could be a choice to play in DePay’s spot. When he came up for Feyenoord, he played a shadow striker role, playing off Castaignos, and he has always been able to stick the ball in the net. The NT has been scoring goals at a good rate playing with a fast, mobile, interchangeable front 3. Playing someone like L. De Jong, Weghorst, Janssen, Huntelaar changes that; the attack becomes more predictable and easier to defend. Plus, moving Gini up opens up room for Van De Beek, and he can play in role where he has been his most effective for Ajax. I’m thinking that Koeman will likely start by trying Babel in central striker spot, flanked by Bergweijn and Promes. (I liked Promes at Rb, but it may be necessary for him to play up front, unless Stengs, Dilrosun, Kluivert, or someone else seizes the spot.) But if things don’t gel, it will be time to be bold.

  7. Since Depay is out we need lethal Jetro williams on left..its mandatory…

    ————Gini ————–
    —Frnekie——-Van de beek——



    With all our best 11 layers on ground…
    on bench

      1. The stars are lining for wijndal I would say or

        If koeman indeed goes with wing backs then sinkgraven also could be a fit in option. Offensively he is better going forward. I remember watching him vs juventus where he played LB for ajax. Was frozen and was restricted to defensive duties. Wing back could unlock him big time.his crosses are excellent and pin point as well.(Blind)

  8. It looks youngesters play more minutes for ajax till end of season. Graverbench start for ajax and score a goal from ekelenkamp pass and also eiting play some minutea.

  9. Stengs on the radars of Juventus. It will mean a lot of money for AZ and little use for Juventus. Calvin needs to continue developing in AZ and improve his consistency. He will be lost in Seria A if he goes there this early.

    1. Well its for him to take this opportunity now because when Demiral recovers im not sure what the situation will like be or in future if it will become demiral- de ligt partnership who will play where.

      1. Once De ligt starts at RCB Demirel can forget what he was…De ligt is way too talent for Demirel…With th right support from Sarri(hope he gets)…

  10. Have to mention Jairo Riedewald is really impressing in the absence of patrick van annholt and has proved hodgson wrong for doubting him in the first place. He could have been a established player by now if he would have stayed at Ajax.

  11. Another good news is to that of kevin strootman. He is finally back to somewhat his best. Showing consistency now for marseille. Been also scoring which is kind of come back sign.

  12. With respect to Memphis, his doctors says that Memphis is rushing things and it could be very dangerous. He does not believe that Memphis will be ready for the Euro.

    1. I really think boadu cant be a hit in just his one season and especially considering his come back from some major injuries. I mean he is doing what he can and at this stage and you can expect him to be exploring things. I hope he stays at AZ for two more seasons and maybe than a better analysis could be on the cards.what I see him now his young kluivert when burst on the scene. I read Roma are lining up a big bid for him. I also think AZ needs a better AM than De wit behind him. Its not surprise why Ajax sold him.

      1. I agree with you, Wilson. The boy needs time for development. However, all this hype around him will lead to a summer transfer to a foreign club which will consequently lead to his disappearance from the football map. Myron Boadu is NOT ready for any foreign adventure. PERIOD. He needs to continue developing physically and mentally. However, AZ and more than AZ, Mino Ryola want to make a lot of money on those boys. Money rules everything, unfortunately. That is the reason why I started to watching very closely to understand whether he is ready for a transfer this summer and the answer is NO. He will not survive even in Ajax at this moment. Stengs is a little better mostly due to his age. However, in my opinion Wijndal is ready as he is very physically strong boy and he can withstand the competition. This summer all three of them will be sold to one club as a bundle deal.

  13. With respect to Dani de Wit, he is not the best option but that is what we have currently. Adam Maher would have been much better option but he made his choice to stay with van den Brom.

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