Ricky Testa: the one that got away….

In the early 1980s, Utrecht was a hotbed for football talent. The likes of Vanenburg, Van Loen, Godee and Marco van Basten all hailed from the same area, where they played numerous games with and against each other on amateur level, before the big clubs came to swoop them up.

In Amsterdam, talents like Rijkaard, Van ’t Schip, Kieft, Bosman and Gullit made name, while Rotterdam followed with the likes of Mario Been, Danny Blind, Rene Eijer and Rene van der Gijp.

Most if not all of them reached the top. Playmaker John van Loen had to endure a growth spurt and was converted into a striker. Playmaker Edwin Godee did play for Ajax and several rep teams but lacked the quality to reach the senior Oranje team.

One player got away, as they say. Ricky Testa La Muta, best buds with Marco van Basten, made different choices. And disappeared in obscurity. This is his story.

Ricky now

Ricky now, coaching Elinkwijk

Testa la Muta is considered a phenomenon in Utrecht. In the 1990s, the striker was the main man in the top amateur team Holland, of Utrecht. Coached by none other than Willem van Hanegem, the amateur team won the Dutch amateur title twice in a row, with attractive football. While elsewhere in The Netherlands, his friend Marco van Basten was feverishly working on regaining fitness from a long time lingering ankle issue. Marco was not even 30 years old and faced having to go into retirement. After years of suffering and pain, he decided to call it a day. San Marco would relocate from Milan into the anonymity of Monte Carlo and struggled through a dark period of his life. His friend Ricky was by his side whenever Marco needed him. The flamboyant striker with Italian roots never made it to the big stage, to the surprise of many football experts.

Their lives seemed to run along a synchrone thread. Van Basten became the best in the world, Testa La Muta disappeared from the spotlights. The striker with Italian roots: “We played in the A junior team of Elinkwijk. What a fantastic team we had. Edwin Godee was our captain. Ajax scouts came and picked Marco and Edwin. They overlooked me. I was struggling with a knee injury, an injury which back then took a year to deal with. Today’s it’s different. But, Ajax wanted the best and fittest, and I was not part of that group. I would have played for FC Utrecht, but they did not have a youth academy, so that didn’t work. Feyenoord was an option but it was too far away for me to consider. And guess what, a couple of years ago I met Aad de Mos. I politely introduced myself and he looked at me with a question in his eyes. He told me that Ajax was ready to sign me as well. They were following me. So I wondered what happened? Why didn’t they? And by Golly, De Mos simply couldn’t remember why it never happened… Such is life.”


In the Elinkwijk youth, Marco is standing next to the goalie, Ricky sits front row far right

Testa La Muta remembers it all well and was actually counting on a logical move to Amsterdam. “We had such amazing players. I played for a small amateur club when I was younger. We won everything. Until we faced Sterrenwijk. A certain Gerald Vanenburg was their key player. We lost 6-1. Vanenburg scored all six goals, I scored for our team, hahahaha. I remember my dad telling everyone: I thought my son was a good player with promise, but that little Vanenburg… that is a boy wonder!”

I then made a move to Elinkwijk. Gerald played there as well that season, as did Edwin Godee. They were so incredibly good, in midfield. I was the striker and life was relatively easy for me there. We were all part of the Utrecht youth plan. They dd not have a youth academy at the local FC, but this youth plan made sure they kept track of talents. It didn’t work though. The best talents were swooped up by other clubs before FC Utrecht could offer them a deal.”

“Our main competitor in the city was UVV. Marco was their striker and John van Loen was the playmaker, behind Marco. John had a growth spurt later in his youth and had difficulties maintaining his quality. He did become a very good striker of course. The matches between Elinkwijk – UVV were like Feyenoord-Ajax. They really mattered. Half the city thought Marco was the best, the other half thought Vanenburg was the best. By then, we all played rep football for Oranje and we knew each other well.”

vaantje 2

Gerald “Vaantje” Vanenburg: magician

The youngster would all develop a strong bond. But Ricky and Marco became really close. “We were all a bit macho in these days. It was cool to hang out with the best. We were good, I tell you, but Gerald Vanenburg was extra ordinary. When he was 8 years old, you could already see that. His touch, his skills, his passing, vision, his dribbles… Unbelievable. He was the Maradona of Holland, really. We all thought Gerald would be the world class super star, and with Marco you felt, he’ll make it to the Eredivisie.”

Van Basten himself thought differently. “That is the weird thing. Marco always said he would be the best of the world. And he wasn’t kidding! He had so much confidence. He also told me numerous times he would become rich. Hell, he even had a statement written on his wall in his bedroom: “I am the Best!”. Funny, coz I thought I was the best, actually, hahahaha.”

Ricky keeps on talking: “We were competitive and the same in many ways. We were both very good ping pong players too, we both played competition. We also both did diving from the high tower, you know? Saltos and that sort of thing. The difference was with school though. Marco was good at learning and his parents really motivated him to do well. I was different. I was a street urchin. But once Marco was on the streets, he was a little prick too, hahaha.”

Marco was introduced to Italy by his own parents, as the Van Bastens would go to Italy for holidays every year. But at the Testa La Muta family, his passion for Italy was further developed. “Marco came from a typical Dutch background. 6 pm dinner was served. At our house, dinner was all the time. Always people around, food aplenty, Marco loved hanging out with us.”

Ricky’s dad was one of the first “guest workers” in Holland. From Sicily. He worked in a factory in Holland and met Ricky’s would be mum there.

In the year that Van Basten, Vanenburg and Godee went to Ajax, a friend of Ricky’s dad decided to help Ricky with his career. The infamous football agent Apollonius Konijnenburg was at a friendly between Helmond Sport- Genoa. Ricky’s family friend was at the game, with Ricky, Marco, Gerald and Godee. That made an impression on Konijnenburg, who obviously knew the Ajax talents.


Edwin Godee

And as Ricky was part Italian, it meant that he could play in Italy as an Italian. In those days, Italian clubs could only play two non-Italian players. This is what they all thought…

Konijnenburg had some players in Italy already. Jan Peters at Genoa, Michel van de Korput at Torino… He told Ricky “I’ll get you a practice game or two.” Konijnenburg was quite the charismatic wheeler and dealer. Swagger, spoke Italian. Ricky: “He was a fun guy, within 2 weeks I was in Italy. He arranged games at Genoa and Napoli. I was 17 years old and still a kid. Konijnenburg picked me up in his flash Mercedes and we drove to the airport. And I realised: I’m going to Italy with an old guy I don’t even know, hahaha. But he was a fun guy at least.”

“Don’t forget, it’s 1982. Italy just won the World Cup and spirits were high. They put me up in a 5 star hotel on the coast. I was there with Trevor Francis, who lived their as well. He played for Torino. Anyway, I was still suffering a bit from a knee operation I had had… But I played some friendlies and I did pretty good. The coach said: yep, I want him. So they offered me a so-called B contract. When I was back in Holland, in Utrecht, I got cold feet. I had to live in some camp for youth players. I was going out in Utrecht that weekend with my mates, the girls started to notice me and all that and I decided not to go. Also, I ended up not being an Italian for the foreigners rule. I had to be there and play for two seasons before they would see me as an Italian. That was it. I didn’t sign.”


Ricky playing for Pro Patria

“I played for Elinkwijk one season and was signed by FC Utrecht, and played in their C-team. At the same time, my girlfriend got pregnant… It all happened at the same time. I also worked part time in Amsterdam and it all became too much. I was losing interest in football, the fun disappeared and I never broke into the first team of FC Utrecht. I left to play for Volendam, also not a a success and returned to the amateurs of Elinkwijk.”

When Marco van Basten was writing history with Ajax and the Dutch NT, Ricky was in a football hole. He thought his dream was done. Until Konijnenburg called, out of the blue. If he was still interested in playing in Italy. This would be for a club in the Serie C. Pro Patria. He was 22 years old and he realised this would be his last chance. The deal was quite good. “It was a big step, I was a dad and all that, but the club was keen: they got me a home, a car and 50k annual salary. Not bad for those times. The coach wanted me also because of my friendship with Marco and Gerald Vanenburg. The coach invited me to come to this little chateau on the Lake Maggiore, it was paradise. I thought: yep, I’m doing it. Next thing I know, I’m in a trainings camp for four weeks. Four weeks! I thought I went crazy, hahaha.”

Konijnenburg was also instrumental in bringing Gullit and Van Basten to Italy. AC Milan of course. Testa La Muta: “I didn’t even know where Pro Patria played hahaha, but I learned it was close to Milan. And I thought, wow… I need to let Marco know!”


Pro Patria playing a friendly pre-season game vs AC Milan: Marco far right, Ricky next to him

Ricky got a message through to Van Basten and he appeared to live close to him. “When I told him my apartment wasn’t finished, he immediately said: come and live with us! I have a huge home! So I lived with my girlfriend and our little one with Marco and Liesbeth for a spell. Man, did we laugh a lot, we didn’t know what was happening. Marco was a millionaire in one hit, in this Hollywood home. He drove a Lancia Turbo…so here we were, two street kids from Utrecht. Marco also had his Dutch car still, so he threw me the keys to the Lancia. Good times… I’d take the Lancia to the club and found that the owner of Pro Patria drove the same car, haha. Marco and Ruud would come look me up at Pro Patria and I’d hang with them at Milanello. They were like Gods these two. And at one point, Ruud’s mate Rene van der Gijp came to visit as well. We all had lunch at Milanello. All the Italian players drank water, but Ruud and Marco were allowed to drink Coca Cola. Rene asked me where I played: I said Pro Patria. And he said: What is that? The local music band?… Everyone in stitches of course…”

gijp gullit young

Van der Gijp and Gullit: buddies…

“But it was good. We won games and we lost. When we won, I was the hero. I was quite popular and ate for free whenever we did well, but boy, if we lost… if we lost two in a row, people would throw tomatoes at us, or rocks even!”

Playing in the Serie C was not what Ricky imagined. “Marco got injured and spent a year back in Holland. I was playing in Serie C and even though these guys were all full pro and Pro Patria used to be a Serie A club, the level was terrible. It was rough and violent. They kicked at everything that moved. Not my cup of tea. I played there one season and was able to move to clubs in the Serie A or B but I still had one year to go in the Serie C for my football status as an Italian. I couldn’t do it.”

Ricky does not look back in anger. “I was there with my girl and my little child, it was not the right life for us. If I had been alone, maybe… But the stress when they played at home. They all had white faces and were really stressed if they lost at home. The whole town would be in mourning. So they had pills and doping and injections and shit in the dressing room, the coach didn’t sleep, the chairman was sweating like a pig, it was not healthy.”


Ricky and Marco off the pitch

Marco van Basten had the right personality to survive that jungle. “If I would have stayed another season, I might have made it to a good big club as well. Why not. Wim Kieft scored one goal in his Pisa season and got a transfer to Torino. I know I was good enough, but it simply didn’t work out. And I’m not sorry about my decisions. I played at the amateurs in The Netherlands until I was 33 years old. I won everything you can win, at amateur level.  I am now coaching in Holland at Elinkwijk and I can walk the streets and go to a cafe. Marco will always have those spotlights on him and he’s cool with that. I prefer it this way. He hasn’t changed though. He doesn’t like the attention but he can live with it. He’s still as pigheaded as ever, hahaha, always wants to debate everything and he knows exactly what he wants and doesn’t want… With Marco, there is no middle of the road…”

Marco van Basten: “We were close mates when we played together. Competitive, but mates. We had Cruyff as our idol, and Ricky had this amazing poster in his room of Johan. I wanted it, so I would always try and use that as the prize in any game we played. Table tennis, cards, football, hahaha. I always said I was the best, but he did too! We both believed it. When we both ended up in Italy, we became close again. When I left Utrecht for Ajax, we didn’t have much time together, but Liesbeth and I had this big mansion in Italy and Ricky was basically our permanent house guest. We’d eat together and we’d watch each other games. He was a very good player, but forced to make his way to the top via lower levels. Sad, it didn’t happen, that he couldn’t execute what his brain saw…”

Marco is now Chief Innovation Officer at FIFA.

Ricky is head coach at his youth amateur club Elinkwijk

Edwin Godee has gone into business

Gerald Vanenburg was football coach but is currently manager of his talented daughter (tennis)

John van Loen is assistant coach at FC Utrecht

Source: This article was taken from the VI Special Edition “Italy” which was co-edited by Marco van Basten. Expect more cool Italy-related stories (Sneijder, Ruud Krol, San Marco, Stefan de Vrij)

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  1. Nice. Great article Jan. Thanks for shedding some light onto this unknown (for me) player.

    Marco, ‘pigheaded as ever, always wants to debate everything’. Great quote.

  2. Jan, this is great stuff. Thanks so much. Just goes to show how extraordinarily a player has to be just to make it into the top division…let alone play well…let alone make it to the NT level.

  3. That’s exactly right Andrew… I remember playing with a sensational midfielder, who – to me – was as good as Cruyff on our level. No one could touch him. He controlled the pitch, scored, passed 7 players, incredible player… But didn’t make it beyond Sparta and FC Groningen midfield. As an average Eredivisie player.

    Edwin Godee, another example of a player touted for great things. Tarik Oulida. Sahid Bouhatar. Frans van Rooy. Cedric van der Gun. So many amazing young talents…

    I actually didn’t even know that John van Loen used to a playmaker behind Marco van Basten, hahaha.

  4. Oh dear.

    Van Aanholt and Big Sam’s (the great coach) Crystal Palace down 0-4 at half time against ‘that idiot’ David Moyes relegation rivals sunderland.

    Not looking like a wise decision at the moment…

    1. Eventually sunderland will get relegated,Moyes Guarantees that…
      Crystal place lost okay…that doesnt make Annholt bad…Crystal placae was struggling..Big sam will do the repair in coming days..Palace is still on 18 th spot…So they have time..

      1. All coaches great or not loss . That’s part and parcel of the game.Liverpool also lost to bottom feeders Hull,that doesnt change klopp’s status as a good coach. don’t think the loss was anything to do with van Annholt individually. It was totally a first half collapse which Sunderland took the advantage off compared to the second half.

    2. I don’t get why Liverpool didn’t snatch him up… Or another bigger team… He’s an international, developed at Chelsea, scores goals…. baffles me

  5. What the F##$k is goin on…Is Williams is mad ..2 goals like a bulldozer as if there is no AZ alkmaar players…
    Freak Guy Williams,has got immense pace and trickery…2 Robenique goal…

      1. Wiliams can dribble past players like Roben does,he can be our Hazard…But still he is rusty that he suffers lots of foul and gets injury..Williams is very lethal upfront…
        But as a defender he lacks concentration..
        with 343 Chelsea is amazing,real champion like…why cannt we emulate that..?

  6. Buttner and Diks both featured for Vitesse 11 in the tweede divisie.Buttner played full 90 and also scored the opener while Diks was subbed late in the game.

    Both are on the comeback road to first team action and have been featuring for the second team to get back in shape. Diks however made the bench for Vitesse vs ADO.

  7. PSV seemed much improved after the break, nice 2-4 win at AZ. Still missed a couple big chances but pull off the away win. No Weghorst or Haps for AZ, missing out with suspension and Vlaar still injured too, so unfortunately AZ not at full strength.

    2 great solo effort goals from Willems, who has improved notably in the last few matches.. has not looked this good since coming back from his injury a year ago.
    Luuk de Jong also had the 4th goal from a nice van Ginkel set up, finally pulling out of his scoring slump.. adding van Ginkel really inspires that midfield with Propper and he both creating 3 chances, with an assist each.

    Tough first match for Krul.
    I was impressed with 21 year old Luckassen for AZ, reads the game well plus he is fast big and strong, and looks good on the ball.

  8. Good away result for Ajax, winning 0-2 at Roda

    Kluivert got the chance again, his age showing a bit more now losing the ball with more than half of his touches in the first half (14/26), but good attitude and he seems happy to continue to run at defenders and keep going – no need to be too harsh on the young winger!
    Klaassen scores first of course, who else will score for Ajax!? Haha
    Dolberg with the assist with his chest, the captain puts his foot through the ball.
    around 65 it could have been tied up, Ajax let the goal kick bounce in their own half and it ends up giving a big chance to Roda, but the striker blew it.. Roda did well to force Onana into a few saves.
    Nouri and van de Beek subbed on, both almost get goals with Nouri (looks so good on the ball) hitting the bar and van de Beek getting robbed by van Leer and then putting the rebound over, plus should have had a good assist.. Younes scored another, with a nice assist by Veltman, deep into injury time.

    By the way, young Eiting from Jong Ajax also made the trip with the senior squad. 🙂
    Such a great group of talents coming up in the Ajax midfield (Riedewald, van de Beek, Nouri and also Frenkie de Jong and Carel Eiting) would love to see them get involved more but – fair enough if the team keeps getting results with Schone-Klaassen-Ziyech even though their play is not always the best imo. Still, pretty good situation there for the manager, even though he does not seem very daring with his youngsters it keeps pressure on his starters..
    And not to mention Bazoer, who had obvs also been in the mix until recently, but he could not get into the side much either and now has yet to make an appearance at Wolfsburg..

    1. Bosz is so stubborn and not ready to accept the new ideas,it like i am the best,i can only be the best,Not open to ideas…That really limits him it seems….i skipped ajax game as i new klassen will have a tap in and Ajax will win it…
      I would not be surprised yet again Cocu wins eredivisie..
      Yesterday and some matches Ramseelar was playing as LW…they have deadly combo in left wing with Williams-Ramseelar and Vanginkel…They are energetic,clever and accurate..Hope all of them stays injury free..
      Feynoord lacks pace upfront..kuyt,joorgenson doesnt have it..only Elia has it,but he lacks something kuyt and Jorgenson has…
      4 Guys-kongolo–Vilhena-karsdorp-Elhamdi are the back bone of the team though every one give their 100 perecent..
      Williams is dangerous player,every time this guy has ball,he creates dangerous situtaion in opponent half..We really miss such a player in NT…
      Williams as winger i am convinced…

      1. What are you expecting Bosz to do? You say he is so stubborn, not ready to accept new ideas. What makes you say this?

        Klaassen again with a vital goal. You should keep an eye on him. Ten goals this season from mid-field. In fact, he has opened the scoring with eight of his ten goals.

  9. Feyenoord at Twente – the leaders were held at the break, not many chances, but they could have been down 0-1 if not for a crucial Kongolo block.
    Really nice pass from Elia to assist Botteghin’s goal, Berghuis was decent as well on the other wing assisting Jorgensens late second goal.
    Strange that Toornstra was not starting since he seems to be one of their most productive players, but instead van Bronkhorst opting for a midfield of Kuyt with Vilhena and El Ahmadi (obviously, he’s been so good for them this season!).
    Really solid defending too, Twente at home held to only 7 attempts with no shots on target.

    Feyenoord stay on top, 5 points clear and +14 goals.

  10. He is resistant to introduce new players by balance and hence getting maximum utilization from them,it would help them too..
    Both Sneijder and vaart Scored plethora of goals as playmakers…Hakim Zych also scoring tons of goals…Its eredivise and result of team play he just makes use of it,which is good thing though…We need some thing more…Like Williams solo goals etc in NT…

      1. Nouri and van de beek both came on as subs.

        Nouri made his debut under Bosz.
        Kluivert made his debut under Bosz.
        Eiting is in the squad for the first time.
        de Ligt has featured. All young kids.
        You can’t accuse him of not giving youth a chance.

        Bazoer hasn’t featured for Wolfsburg yet. You could look at that situation and say, maybe he is not as good as he thinks he is? Bad attitude? I don’t know myself.
        Schone is playing magnificent. Reidewald has time on his side. He needs to put his head down and work. He will get his chance. Not throw his toys out like El Ghazi, Bazoer and Kishna all did.

  11. Cocu is becoming tactician mastermind….He mix the team very well,even when they have injuries..He signs quality players…Bazoer shouldnt have left to Ajax..anyways Cocu was not the coach at that point of time…Nice to See Van ginkel finding back his career like Bruma did…

    1. You said you are not anti Blind. But you are. And you are spreading false news. What is false here? “Again”? He started last match of MU. Where does “again” come from? And this match, he subbed in and played entire second half.

  12. some non-eredivisie news..

    van Aanholt with his new Palace thrashed at home 0-4.
    Martins Indi Pieters and Afellay all start in Stoke’s 0-1 loss v West Brom.
    Janssen only a late sub for Spurs who beat Middlesbrough, poor de Roon missing a big chance to equalize late but had a good match.
    Wijnaldum and Clasie both rested and their teams lost, Janmaat was a late sub for Watford.
    Fer started for Swans v Man City, Narsingh subbed on again and for his second appearance offers his second assist for Sigurdsson, van der Hoorn was not involved.
    Blind was on the bench for United again, came on after HT because Bourinho saw that Rojo sucks, no sign of Fosu-Mensah – both should leave that awful club asap.

    Robben started the move for Bayerns goal in a 1-1 draw with Shalke, who is still missing Huntelaar.
    Bruma and Wolfsburg lost 1-0 away to Koln
    Gouweleeuw and Verhaugh both started in Augsburgs 3-2 come from behind home win, with Verhaugh assisting the equalizer.

    de Vrij and Hoedt start again together, as Lazio beat bottom feeders Pescara 6-2 – de Vrij even had an assist.
    Letschert played 90 for Sassuolo, getting a big 3 points away and a clean sheet v Genoa.

    Kishna and El Ghazi played their first minutes together for Lille but shutout and lost, Rekik on the bench for Marseille.
    Dost had an assist but his Sporting lost to Porto, 2-1

    1. RvP and Lens started for Fenerbahce v Babel at Besiktas – I caught the last 20 mins, was 0-0 when I turned it on. Moments later, van Persie scores a nice counterattacking go ahead goal for Fener from a nice assist by Lens!
      Babel looked okay.. Besiktas seemed to have more of the ball but didn’t create much.
      Very intense.. and lots of acting and whining.

    2. Manu is a great club..but Jose is not…Rojo sucks??wait Luuk shaw,brothwick jackson both on cards…Jose understood that Blind is decent back up player with out compromising much…Especially when you play fro draw or defensive…He is right on Blind..

    1. Eh not the best.
      Memphis had a really nice cross early but Fekir’s header missed, he also missed the goal on a good chance to score himself and had another chance save in the first half. 20 mins left, Lyon down 2-0 and Memphis subs off so I shut it off, haha
      Still having the feeling when watching him that he would benefit if he just tried to simplify his game. Seems he is just trying so hard to impress, so he attempts difficult low percentage moves and cannot do them because he does not have his swagger..
      St Etiennes first goal came from a really poor giveaway and the second from a bad keeper decision, what can you do.. Lyon with most of the possession but inevitably unable to create many decisive moments with it (familiar theme these days).

      1. I watched some of the game. Lyon don’t look great, to be honest. Really bad give-away’s poor decisions by many of the team. Memphis would do better if he kept it simple, I agree. A nice back-heel that took his teammate by surprise was one instance.

        1. maybe thats the problem. he doesnt want to keep it simple. you have to realize something about him here. he is an above average player with average defenders or with average teams and thats how its gonna be.

          also el ghazi and kishna with more game time at Lille could be a performance tracker for him given if they both adopt to Ligue 1 better than Depay then clearly Depay is on the same road as other who came and left without any trace.

          1. Depay issue is not just mere game time…
            He must improve his availability and workrate to integrate to team play…Which is very unlikely to happen
            Second is if you want to suceed as winger,Speed is basic quality..You cannt survive against speedy wingbacks liek Bellarin,walker,karsdorp,kongolo,Annholt etc…they will take the ball away from you or else they will easily outrun you and will take the ball..
            Memphis may survive if he moves to no10 playmaker…
            Henrith makthirayan was dropped/Ignored by Jose maourihno for long time,he had injureis too..But i think current manchester is toothless with out Henry..He is mercurial in final third…
            Our Williams is mercurial…
            Roben is mercurial
            Vaart was
            RVP was
            Sneijder was..may be still is..

          2. Oh. Henrikh? Not Henry. I really thought you had lost it there. Haha

            You might want to proof read before you post.
            Arjen Robben – not Roben.
            Klaassen, not Klassen
            Sinkgraven, not Singraven
            Siem de Jong, not Seim dejong

          3. And, Thierry, not Theory.

            You obviously have access to internet. Would It kill you to take one minute and confirm how a player’s name is spelt?

          4. Haha he will not, I have seen many people (includingour host Jan) ask him nicely (and some not nicely) to do this small thing, but still he will not..
            It was pretty hilarious when he used to confuse van Dijk, Dijks, and Diks and then try to justify it.

          1. yes it is funny and it is FACT that only tiju is free from sin and no one else can understand

      2. you can concede a goal or 2.but you have to score or create something..Memphis cannt do that..You have to crate chance after chance,you cannt get 1 goal from every creation…Goals will come if you have sharp finisher and teammates who helps the team..

          1. Either way why waste time on him again when there are other players who poses overall better skills than him and have a higher ceiling on the wings.

            Toornstra,Sinkgraven,Zivkovic,Ramselaar etc

          2. hmm strange I see he was 3/3 for take-ons, just in the last match – and most of any PSV player actually..

            so what does this video from 2 years ago prove?
            hard to dribble if you get fouled?
            that Willems was way more immature 2 years ago than he is now (still only 22 btw)?

          3. this video doesnt prove anything…He was just fouled,but still he had the control and he kept teh ball away from defender and tried to pass were he failed though…this is normal scene in football…

          4. playing at LB compensates for his acceleration and momentum coming forward which he than coverts it to crosses. Standing start I don’t think he can do either,going around the player neither accelerate if deployed on the wings.something which Elia or even Depay are more efficient at.

  13. Williams is defender who is trained grab the pass from the opponent forward.Norammly backs would be agrresive..Standing still and receiving the pass means that player need to be thrown out of team,i mean in football there is no standing still..Depay does that thats why he fails regularly…No one shoudl do that..its all about free spaces and runs in to free spaces..Williams has an eye for it..thats why he scores goals..He is incredibly fast..He is very technical…
    there are players who cannt even score direct…

    1. Jetro has scored two goals in the eredivsie this season. Two last season. Two the season before, and 4 the season before that.

      A more accurate statement would be : Jetro could be a goal machine.

      Currently, he is not a goal machine. 2 goals does not a machine make.

      On the other hand, with his tenth goal of the season yesterday, you would be more accurate in saying: “Davy Klaassen is a goal machine”

          1. Nice practise goal.

            You ignore what I said.

            Two goals this year, 2 last year, 2 previous year, 4 previous…

            I like Willems. He’s a decent player. He is not a “goal-machine” in the broad definition of that term.

            For instance… Ruud van Nistelrooy was a ‘goal machine’ Van Basten… ‘goal machine’
            You insult those players by insisting that a player who has scored 6 goals TOTAL, the past three season, is a ‘goal machine’

            He can pop up with one, on occasion. no argument there. If he scored every time he played for Orange, I would cheer the loudest.


    1. Andrew…i am not convinced with Jetro as LB..But He can score some nice goals from out of the blue..Only Roben can do that in NT.So we need him than klassen,Depay etc..

        1. What are so called other player who plays upfront doing?When Roben is not there..
          Always something is better than nothing…
          We couldnt even qualify 2016WC with these so called Players…

  14. @Tiju, agree that Willems has certain qualities and skills. But comparing whether he is needed in the NT more than DePay or Klaassen is apples and oranges. He doesn’t play any of the positions they would play. Question is whether he should be the starter at lb or left wingback (depending on formation).

  15. It’s quite interesting to see how players who score a goal are suddenly lifted by some to “essential NT material”. Should Veltman score a rare goal, he probably will be pushed on this blog to play centre striker…

    It’s a bit shallow people.

    I rate Jetro Willems as Left Back. When he is in good form, he’s a great asset attacking. He’s not the best defender as we all know.

    He hasn’t reached his level of pre-injury and his two goals vs AZ were quite good, albeit with the help of some shoddy defending.

    but lets not get ahead of ourselves….

    The criticism on Peter Bosz is ridiculous. Yes he’s pigheaded and thinks he invented football, but he’s adventurous and was responsible for a number of good decisions in this Ajax team: he let Dijks go, he picked a midfielder as left back, against all the crititcism. He allows Kluivert playing time, he uses Dolberg (a junior) and he picked Schone as controlling midfielder.

    How is he not adventurous!

    Expect a big interview with Peter Bosz here soon!

    And how is Cocu suddenly a mastermind??? Siem de Jong?

    I think Van Ginkel’s presence in the team makes a lot of difference. Both Marcel Brands and Cocu deserve criticism for the lack of out and out forwards. Locadia is no left winger. Neither is Ramselaar. They let Narsingh go, but who do they have for the right wing? Perreiro is a hot-cold player. Lacks intensity and speed.

    How is Cocu a tactical mastermind? They dropped sooo many points but now they won one game! How does this work?

  16. Jetro is not a great LB,way far away from LB of NT.No doubt…
    His strengtgh are in attack,runs in to positions then starts the dribble and trickery and ends in good position to assist or pass…Can defend too ..why not we play him to his strengh??
    Jetro is need of the hour i think..if not goal machine..12 assist in 30 games thats not bad for a LB…
    2 gaols and 4 asists for LB in one season in15 games,thats not bad for LB..
    Jetro is needed in our toothless attack.Which is filled with Dost,klassen,Depay etc…We need a fit Jetro..
    Cocu puts Seim Dejong on bench
    He send Narsingh out
    He signed Vanginkel
    He plays Ramseelar as LW that makes more sense than Singraven plays as LB…Coz 1 mistake of a defender can cause you a game.Defenders are more under pressure and Defense wins the game..
    Cocu lost 2 vital players form last season those were Vanginkel and Bruma..perhaps lestine too he missed…So they missed quality..Now Ginekl is back and Cocu is grooming the team again..i am sure Bazoer would have excelled under Cocu..Cocu is good for dutch young players and he wins the title too.

    1. Willems doesn’t want to play left winger HIMSELF. He doesn’t see it. No one sees it. Only Tiju.

      In the 3-4-3 Chelsea system. Willems and Karsdorp would be awesome.

      Play Strootman/Wijnaldum in Kante/Matic roles.

      Van Dijk – Blind – De Vrij at the back.

      Memphis, Promes, Robben up front.


      Like I said, Brands/Cocu have not done too well.Ramselaar is not a LW. Locadia either. Siem de Jong is useless.

      I don’t mind, I am not saying Cocu failed, but to say he is a tactical wizard just makes no sense.

  17. Bazoer gets his first start today for Wolfsburg, playing at Bayern where Robben also starts..
    (Bruma is rested on the bench)

    Strootman also back in action for Roma, hosting Fiorentina.
    Cillessen starts at home for Barca in the morn second leg v Atletico, up 2-1 on agg.

    Kishna and El Ghazi both starting for Lille away at PSG.

    1. Bayern win 1-0.. Robben with most chances created but not on the score sheet.

      Strootman and Roma won 4-0, Strootman with 1 assist and 3 chances created 👍

      Cillessen and Barca draw 1-1 with Atletico, in a match with saw 3 red cards, and win 3-2 on agg to advance to the Copa del Rey final.

      El Ghazi (played 90) and Kishna (subbed at 70) and Lille lost 2-1 to PSG, neither with much influence.

      1. I watched the Roma game, Strootman had a nice game with some creative passes that led to good attacks, he was getting forward a lot more than I have noticed in his past games, it suits him I think.
        He did have a couple of poor touches but nothing that resulted in any danger. He looks fit, he did a lot of running and probably has the most touches on the ball (stat check here), all in all he is looking good for NT.

        1. Great news!
          Just checked, looks like the CBs each had one and two touches more haha (as usual with teams who try to keep possession), but yes, Strootman most in the attacking third and most ‘influential’ of the mids (according to Opta stats).

          I had time only for one match, chose Bayern v Wolfsburg..
          Robben looks dangerous as always, all class.
          Bazoer looks improved to me.. he both closes down space quicker without the ball, and moves the ball quicker when he gets it. Absolutely ran his ass off and a big part of why Bayern had only one goal, and it was a deflected shot which wrong footed the keeper
          Glad to see that for him, I was a little disappointed with his more recent Ajax performances and also that he could not get himeslf into the Ajax team.

          1. Sybe..Bazoer is real talent he cannt fail that easily..he is not hyped…i am glad that u watched him…This is how just give th real talented guys one/two chance they will grab it..

          2. Like all players, I think he needs to show at club level that he has what Blind is looking for if he wants to get back into the NT.. so, he probably needs a lot more than one or two chances at his club.

      1. Unfortunately he has 2 – 3 months to do that coz if Tottenham qualifies for Championships league,Pochettino will be forced to bring a new striker. The word is they are closely monitoring the situation of Daniel Sturbridge as Liverpool also are looking to upgrade their options up front should they also qualify for CL

    1. I did not it say the Dutch NT is stuck in time.. while of course he is generally right I believe he sneaks in many things I disagree with..
      I think he just wants to piss off some Oranje fans!
      Suggesting they look to Germany? how dare!

      Actually I believe those 2 “innovations” he credits to Germany are actually Cruyff ideas (definitely one of them)! Haha
      Has he not seen some of van Basten’s recent innovations?

      And, Cruyff and stubborn?
      As if that needed to be said, haha obviously

      A bit harsh on Janssen for me, was just injured in November and only played 20 mins since.
      Not much in common with Memphis (yet?).

  18. It’s funny, has been long time we don’t have a jong player debut for Orange at age of 17. Hopefully one day to see one prodigy to surpass Jan van Breda Kolff on that

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