It’s time, with some days behind us for the dust to settle, to do a proper analysis of our current squad, their performance and their future in our Oranje.
We will analyse the coach separately after this post. And then look at our future material. The prospects…
Coming out of a mediocre season it Italy, Maarten Stekelenburg played an ok tournament. He was lucky to stop a number of close efforts (most of them by sheer luck I believe) and did what you expect from a goalie. But to win a tournament, you need your goalie to stop at least that Denmark shot and the second Gomez goal too. He didn’t look too good there. In terms of coaching and defensive management: I do not get the impression he is at Van der Sar level. I believe he is a bit lacklustre in his body language. Aspects were both Vorm and Krul have impressed me more. Although I do not think that Vorm and Krul – being still young – would have faired better in that department. I do believe though, that Vorm would have stopped the Denmark goal and Krul would have stopped the 2nd Gomez one :-). But, Stekelenburg is still going to be in our World Cup squad, although not necessarily as first goalie. If rumours are correct and Vorm moves to Tottenham and Krul to Chelsea, who knows what happens.
Gregory van der Wiel
Came out of a troublesome season with Ajax. Was injured for a while (and Ricardo van Rhijn played Van der Wiel into oblivion) and didn’t return to his full form. Played a bad tournament but showed some good spells in the Portugal game. His defending and passing were under par and his crosses atrocious. Needs to really up his game or could be easily surpassed by said Van Rhijn, Feyenoord’s Kelvin Leerdam or even Ronnie Stam, if he indeed decides to come back to Holland ( PSV). Stam has the right age and playing for Wigan will most certainly have strengthened him. Van der Wiel will need to improve big time. And his post tournament interviews don’t bode well. “There is something wrong between Oranje and me. I can’t play my own game.”
Didn’t have a great season at Malaga. Was criticised and benched and most likely his legs can’t carry it anymore. He came into the tournament with an injury and was almost out for the whole tourney. Played a bad game against Germany. Showed some positive forward movement in the first 15 minutes of the Portugal game, but drowned with the rest of them. Doesn’t show the leadership and build up qualities we need if we want to play Total Football. Joris was a good soldier for us, but needs to retire. And I wonder if we will be mentioned in ten years from now…
Did have a tremendous season at Everton. Man of the Season. Doesn’t get better at that level. Johnny won’t win CLs or even European League trophies with Everton but this was a mighty season. But playing central defender at Everton or at Oranje is a different thing. He is not expected to push forward with Everton. At Oranje, he constantly tracked back. Don’t know why, but he did. He also didn’t seem 100% fit. Did he not mention this to Bert? Johnny will be a 2014 player though, and I can even see him making one last jump to Liverpool or Tottenham.
Ron had a big season at a small club ( relatively speaking). Being great at Feyenoord means you can tag along in Oranje. We can’t expect Vlaar to suddenly carry the team. I think he played ok. Any defender would get in trouble against a C Ronaldo on fire. And with Van der Wiel slipping up, the tall (but slow) Vlaar had trouble playing against Portugal. But he could be still valuable. He’s only 26 years old. He’s strong, good header of the ball and a good long pass. Vlaar should have put that Sneijder cross against Portugal away, allowing Oranje a chance at 2-1 to progress. You only get one of those in these types of games and a real winner, a real top player, scores it. Vlaar could be 2014 material, unless Viergever, Bruma and Gouweleeuw develop much better.
This 18 year old prospect had a big step up from playing Jupiler league with Sparta to playing Nani and Thomas Muller. I was tremendously excited to see him in the squad, but in hindsight: this only works if a lad like this can settle in a team that operates well. In a Germany or a Spain, Willems would have been great. In this nervous and torn Oranje, it was actually a sorry sight to see the lad struggling. Irresponsible of our coach. Maybe Jetro told him it was all good, maybe the lad is mentally super strong, but was this necessary. If you have Buttner, Emanuelson, Schaars, Bouma, Anita… I think the lad did well, considering… What can you expect? I also believe he has the goods to become a really exciting player. But he needs at least couple of consistent seasons. Man United apparently wants to sign him and that could work out really well, or it could ruin him… Drenthe style.
Mark van Bommel
Had a good season with AC Milan, but in a different system and in a different role. His 35 year old legs can not cope with the gaps we shown between defence and offence, but I don’t think any midfielder could. Maybe Strootman could have been the exception. But he never got the chance to show it. Bommel’s individual game wasn’t too great. He missed his men, he allowed himself to be muscled off the ball… he had great moments and he had bad moments. One also has to question his leadership, if it’s true that there are two camps. But… I can’t imagine Mark continuing in Oranje, so let’s thank him for all the great memories. He gave it what he had, I’m sure. But it’s time for new blood now.
Nigel de Jong
Had an ok season with Man City. People on telly in Holland claim he only played 12 games or so, but that is total rubbish. I watched him weekly ( or Man City) and Nigel was called on anytime City got in trouble. He is still highly valued at City and he had a good season there. He is still strong, committed, focused and playing sober. I think he was the best player we had this tournament! Which is not good news of course. But Nigel deserves to be a squad member still. For sure. He lacks dynamics ( see Strootman) but he surely plug holes and destroy. And apparently, he is a good header too, suddenly?
Rafael van der Vaart
Had an ok season with Spurs. I don’t think they did tremendously well. They should have ended number 3 for that. And Rafa is not as important and influential as Modric is. Rafa is a great player, good vision, good passing, good goal scoring etc. But he’s not a holding mid. So in a 4-2-3-1 he’s not the right man for the holding mid role. He is a playmaker. But if you have Sneijder already…? Do you play them both? And what to do with Van Persie? And on top of that, he’s not getting fitter and not younger either… He will be 31 years old in 2014. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a massive Vaart fan, but… With Maher knocking on the door, and Wijnaldum, Clasie…. If he is in great shape, he could come along. Also, Rafa does need to keep his ego in check. He always thinks he should play. This tournament, last World Cup, I agreed. In 2014, probably not…
Came out of a horrendous injury. Hasn’t played more than 18 minutes for Barca since. Bert thought Ibi could make the difference. This tells me Bert lost faith. It’s ridiculous to think a player who isn’t sensational in the first place (he’s not Messi or Rooney or C Ronaldo) to lift us in three top games in eight days after such an injury. Ibi did well against Northern Ireland (YEA!!). And ok against Denmark. But drowned in his second game against Germany. He was also playing against type (he’s not a left winger) and Bert could have or should have used the only other real winger we have in the squad: Luciano Narsingh.
If Ibi keeps on developing, he will be a key player for us at the World Cup 2014. He played holding mid for PSV for a while and did that really well. I don’t see a winger in him.
Came out of a troubled season, with injuries and issues at Inter. His mentality and personality – as ever – were great. Good positive vibes. Winner mentality. Humor. And leadership. On the pitch, he was hot and cold. Great in possession, but lazy when he lost the ball. He did show his class and a fit and motivated Sneijder is definitely one of the best midfielders/players on the planet. He does need to keep his ego in check, but with Sneijder it’s relatively easy: make him important and he will carry the responsibility. He will most likely be the future skipper of Holland in 2014 and beyond. The problem with Wes, like with Robin, is that they have a protected position at their clubs. They are the guys that call the shots. They need to lose that attitude once back in Oranje.
Robin van Persie
Came out of a sensational season with Arsenal on a personal level. Staying fit all season and scoring from every angle. But his position in the Oranje hierarchy is different and his role in the team was overshadowed by Huntelaar’s position. There have also always been rumours about Van Persie’s bad relationship with buddies Sneijder/Van der Vaart, but Robin was the first to jump Rafa after he scored against Portugal. The national debate Van Persie vs Huntelaar probably didn’t help. For either of them. Van Persie played a good game vs Denmark but once in scorings position, he blocked. Bad touches, bad balance, bad decision making, too eager….etc. Van Persie carries a weight on his shoulders and bad management by Bert may have caused all this. But, with Van Persie’s skill and talent, he will most certainly make the World Cup cut. Hoping the team manager will be able to craft a winning team of all those talents.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar
Came out of a tremendous season with Schalke. Has Man United and Valencia chasing him for his signature, apparently. Started in a bad way. Was promised a fair chance as the starting striker but felt screwed by the coach. Couldn’t make an impression in all his minutes, but in his defence: he didn’t get a playable ball all this tournament. Hunter will most certainly be part of the new squad, unless Van Marwijk stays on. Then, Klaas Jan could chuck a Van Nistelrooy and retire early.
Came out of a difficult season with Bayern. Suffered injuries and let his team down at the key moments (Dortmund, Chelsea). Came into the tournament totally focused on re-establishing the brand Robben. Over-zealous. Over-eager. Too self absorbed. Playing too much for Robben. Bert needs to share the blame by persisting with Robben on the right wing. But it does seem that Robben’s injuries robbed him of his speed. And his left foot clearly was out of whack. He’s still a threat. And an in-form Robben can compete with C Ronaldo for the second-best of the world trophy. But despite all his efforts, his contributions were mediocre at best. If his body agrees, Robben will be a candidate for the 2014 World Cup.
Came off a disappointing season with Liverpool. Didn’t play a lot. And if he did, didn’t play too well. Is always hailed for his work ethics. But the minutes he got never enabled him to make a change. In my view, Narsingh would have been more impactful. It’s interesting to see how Dirk will fair in Turkey. He might be spent. He might not make the cut for 2014. That is what I expect. But never say die with Dirkie…
Schaars disappointed me by throwing the towel on the left back spot so quickly. He is a good midfielder and if he indeed moves to Inter, he might develop further and take Van Bommel’s position in the squad. But he’s not getting younger either and needs to compensate his lack of speed with something else.
Bouma should never have been selected in the first place. Boulah will most certainly not make it into Oranje anymore although the Cannibal might make a new career in Turkey.
Strootman is still my main man for the future. Tough, great passer, good work ethics and mentality and most importantly: dynamic and penetrating.
Luuk de Jong has a future. The striker has shown he can score, create and work for the team. Good header, smart mover. Nothing wrong with him. Will be part of WC2014 squad if he keeps developing. Will have competition from Dost, Van Wolfswinkel, Castaignos and Barazite, though….
Luciano Narsingh had the most assists in the Eredivisie. He basically made Dost the topscorer and the latter should pay 20% of his salary to him. Narsingh can further develop under De Boer if he goes to Ajax. And might develop into a fresh new Robben… Let’s hope so… He will most likely be part of the 2014 World Cup.