It is that time of the year. Reviews, tributes, overviews… The main event in 2016 for Dutch fans was not Oranje’s Euro victory in France. It was the passing of our biggest football legend (and all around phenomenon) and inspiration: Johan Cruyff. He was the messiah and the “Legendary #14” when he was alive still, so you can imagine that he’ll become St Cruyff now he crossed over.

We always took time for JC on this blog, quotes, analyses, videos, opinions… Now we’ll allow one of his proteges and students (and friends) to share memories. Ronald Koeman, played against Cruyff, worked at Ajax under Cruyff, brought to Barcelona by Cruyff, lived next door to Cruyff and under the influence of the maestro for ever.

VI Online kicked off with this article, which I gladly use for your entertainment and learning.

It’s impossible to have a structured conversation in restaurant Steak of the Art in Southampton. Ronald Koeman’s anecdotes and memories fly over the table, when he gives a last salute to his friend and the man who formed Koeman as the coach he is. “Johan was so instrumental in my life, I can never say enough…”

JC coach Barca

Koeman was on a holiday in the South of France when he heard it. “I was actually enjoying a drink on a terrace in Nice, when my phone rang. Johan died… It seemed impossible.”

Cruyff was a tough taskmaster and even in death he made Koeman work. “I really wanted to go to the ceremony in Barcelona. It was not debatable. But I was in Nice, without a formal suit. I flew from Nice to Amsterdam. Had two hours delay to get to Southampton. I literally had 20 minutes in Southampton to grab a suit and and such and flew back to Amsterdam and then I traveled to Barcelona with Sjaak Swart. And I was so happy to be there. It was incredible. The respect, the love for Johan. Everything was right. And when you see all that, you actually realise how much he meant for us all and what he was about. For me, he was, is and always will be the greatest of them all!”

JOHAN – THE PLAYER
‘If he would have played in today’s game, he still would be the best’

Koeman: “A few days after his passing, I posted an old pic on Twitter. I did it daily as a tribute, but this pic is special. Johan is on the ball for Ajax and I’m the young FC Groningen player who will take the ball of him on that moment. We set up an attack and we got a penalty, which I scored. I scored two goals that day and as a thank you from Soren Lerby, I saw it as a compliment, he elbowed me in the face. I went knock-out. It was my first encounter with Johan. And ever since he became my mentor. Funnily enough, Johan made his debut in Groningen for Ajax and was man marked that day by my dad.”

“Johan was all about intuition. When he came to training in the morning, he had nothing prepared, he had no plan what to do. It just came to him.”

Koeman smiles: “When I was kid, I was bonkers over Johan Secundo: Neeskens. He was the player I had posters of on my wall. Everything was about Cruyff of course, in those days, but I loved the working class playing style of Nees. A lot of people felt Cruyff is synonymous with Ajax. For me it’s more Oranje. And that is all because of 1974. I saw the Holland – Argentina 4-0 game live with my dad and brother Erwin, in Gelsenkirchen. I will never forget that. I know this tournament and campaign so well, every little detail. The game vs Brazil, the semis. The blond midfielder, the kicking and challenges, those butchers at the back. Cruyff was unbelievable in that game. I was 11 years old. Oranje 1974, that was Johan for me.”

Johan Cruijff uit tegen GVAV in het midden van de jaren zestig, met links Martin Koeman.
Cruyff’s debut vs Martin Koeman (left)

Koeman is confident: “If Johan was a player now, he’d still be the best. I know him, he would have lived and trained different. He would have been fitter now, he’d make sure. Football was different back then. Yes, he smoked but you’d be surprised to hear how many players smoke. But his talent. The way he views the game. The game has changed in pace but seeing the game and being able to execute what you see, that was all Cruyff.”

‘At a certain point, his criticism you drive you mad. You’d grab him by the throat almost, you know?’

“In my view, if you had vision in the 1970s you’d still have that now. Seeing the pass, seeing the weakness of the opponent, you’d see it now too. So you need to adapt to the times and make sure you move quicker. The biggest difference for me is not the change of pace. It’s the lack of communication! In the days of Cruyff, but also when I played with Gullit, Wouters and even the generation of Frank de Boer, we would coach constantly on the pitch. Constantly talking to each other. And off the pitch, we’d debate for hours. Nowadays, players are really all individuals. They have their headphones on, or stare at their iPads. And their connection is less, so their communication is less. I need to motivate and entice them to talk and coach. We play a 6 forwards vs 4 defenders game at practice. I need the defenders to talk. I need them to go “left! right! step in!” that sort of commands. But they don’t. They are silent and are chasing the ball like headless chooks. That is strange, eh? They don’t get the ball… It’s a concern. When I played with Lerby and Cruyff and Schoenaker they were constantly in my ear. The pace might have been lower back then but the team bond and responsibility was at a higher level. Now, there is less time, so you need better help. I am working on this every day.”

JOHAN – THE INTRODUCTION  ‘Everything was bad’

johan wijst

Koeman keeps on talking: “I was already at Ajax for two seasons when Johan came. That was my first introduction to him as a coach and football guru and everything changed. Nothing was good enough. And not just with me. Vanenburg, Van Basten, Rijkaard, he was critical on everyone. I was a libero playing in front of the defence. But Johan felt I didn’t do that well enough. My timing, of when to come in and when to drop back was a continuous debate. At a certain point he drove me crazy. I had times when I thought, fuck it, I’m going back to Groningen. Johan shrugged his shoulders and said: “You should start worrying when I ignore you. I’m trying to make you see it…. ” He was trying to make me a better and more aware player. He made me use my brain. I left, but that was not because of Johan. Ajax had this rigid salary structure, no bonusses for results. Johan was dead against this system and he was all about the bonusses. He felt players should make money if they perform. Ajax was difficult to me in the negotiations and thought I would never leave. PSV offered a good deal and got me for 1,5 million. Johan was ok with it. Three years later he got me to sign for Barca and paid 13 times that amount.”

JOHAN – RUTHLESS – “He would make a fool of you in front of everyone”

‘Cruijff was ruthless. He was a friendly man, but he was not soft. He could be stone cold. He said something horrible about Vanenburg when he was at PSV. Said that a player with a voice (high pitch) like Gerald would never be a leader. I don’t think you can say something like that, but Johan didn’t think it was odd. It was his truth. And he hurt me too. We played this match once, God I forgot against who, and Johan was not happy with me. In the break, he didn’t say a word. Talked tactics for the second half. We all went out for the second half and 30 seconds in, he announces a change. The sign with my number went up. Just to teach me a lesson. 1 Minute in the second half! And that Tuesday, Van ‘t Schip and I were put in the B-team and we had to play Feyenoord in the rain. I’ll never forget that. That was Johan. Telling you in this way that he saw everything and that he was not to be played with. He was the boss.”

 

De piepjonge Ronald Koeman tegenover de ouwe rot Johan Cruijff tijdens FC Groningen-Ajax op 28 maart 1982.
A young Ronald Koeman vs veteran Cruyff in 1982 

‘At Barcelona, Johan decided who was room mate with whom. Johan put me with Pep Guardiola. Pep was an incredible player and a lovely guy. No frills, no ego. He came to practice in a little Volkswagen Polo. And he was crazy about Dutch football, about Ajax. And he was a sponge. Always learning, studying and asking questions. But, he was part of this group with Alexanco, Begiristain, Salinas and a few others. And they had a couple of businesses and project. Started a restaurant, organised the Forca Barca tv show. And at some stage, Pep wasn’t playing too well. We were in the hotel, in our room, one Saturday night. We played away at Logrones, I remember it well. We were in bed, watching some tv. Someone knocked on the door, Pep hands me the remote and opens the door. There’s Johan. And he was ranting and raving. “You! 21 years old! What the hell do you think you’re doing? Television? Restaurants? You are a football player. Focus on football!! Take an example of this guy in the bed right there.” Boy he could go off. I was laughing my ass off under the sheets. Guardiola was white as a ghost. I said “Pep, don’t worry. You’ll be fine. He means well.” Johan would be livid if he felt young players were not taking their work serious. He wanted to know everything about a player and he did know everything.”

More memories… “With Barca, we’d do the pre-season sessions in Holland. And we’d play almost every day against amateurs and youth teams of the pro clubs. And as a Dutch player, I had to play all these games, but we all played one half. At one stage, I was on the bench and I was supposed to come on in the second half. After ten minutes, however, the amateurs had had 3 open chances. The team was playing really bad. Cruyff looked at one of his assistants, Vilda, and says “get them all ready in 10 minutes!”. Vilda said: “Who?”. Cruyff said “All of them”. So the second half team was doing a warm up and 20 minutes into the game, Cruyff orders a substitution. He had 10 players standing on the side line waiting to come on, to replace 10 field players. Only Zubi, the goalie, remained. You could see Alexanco, the captain, look totally confused. But he took them all off, including Michael Laudrup. Cruyff didn’t care. He would humiliate them all.”

Op een training bij Barcelona in het seizoen 1994/95, met links Igor Korneev. ‘Johan gooide nieuwe aankopen gewoon meteen in het diepe. Billen bloot.’
Barca Season 1994/95, with left Igor Korneev. ‘

“Johan has always been ruthless. Take that recent Ajax thing, the revolution. I don’t think that was good for him. It was his intention to do good, it was all about the football. Football people on key positions. It makes sense. But the problem was: Johan couldn’t be there himself. If you lead a revolution, you need to be there. He needed to monitor and manage that process but he couldn’t do it anymore. Johan was incredibly loyal. He’d never hang you out to dry if you needed him.”

JOHAN – FC BARCELONA ‘Happy New Year. Come to Barcelona!’

Koeman about his move to Barca. “After the EC 1988 and the PSV Europa Cup victory, I could go anywhere. AC Milan, Juve, they all called. But Spain was my country of choice. We always went to Spain on holidays. Leo Beenhakker was at Real Madrid and they came to talk but it didn’t feel right. I had no resonance with them. Barcelona was always my club. The vice chair called me after the Euros but they didn’t know who the new coach would be so I decided to wait. And on the 31st of December I get a call from Johan. He was in trainings camp as they played Atletico the next day. “Happy new year,” he said and “I want you here for next season”. I said OK and told PSV. Within weeks it was arranged.”

cruyff wembley

Big smile on the Everton coach’ face: “Barcelona was amazing. The quality of the football, but don’t think Johan had an actual plan. He did everything on intuition. He would come to practice not having prepared anything. He always worked on something he felt we should do better. Tonny Bruins Slot was meticulous though. He prepared the normal practice sessions. Johan would simply take his key players, eight usually, and work with them, while Tonny would take the rest of the group. He always said “Tonny, you take the group, I want to work with them for 15 minutes.” But the 15 minutes would become 30 minutes and even longer as he simply enjoyed it himself. There were times where Tonny would be done with the group and waiting for Johan to resurface. And Tonny was just looking at Johan, thinking “come on man!” hahaha….”

“The level we played at was tremendous. And whenever new players would come in, he would let them feel that. He would play 4 against 4 with two free players, who could be used by both teams. Usually, Johan and Charly Rexach would be those two free players. You’d play from corner flag to box in that square. You could only touch the ball twice. And Johan would put the new players together against four of our team. And these new boys would be standing there for 20 minutes, confused, never touching the ball. This was Johan saying: Welcome to Barcelona. We would probably help new lads, make them comfortable, settle them in. Not Johan. He’s throw you in the deep end. I recently discussed it with Richard Witschge. Johan was still in great shape and would play with us. He would always hit the ball too hard on Richard’s right foot. Richard was staunch left and only used his right leg for running and walking. Witschge would always get in trouble in those practices. “Back to the center Rich!” is what Johan would say. And if you were in the middle, you simply wouldn’t get out anymore.”

Buren in Barcelona. ‘Als er iets te vieren was, deden we dat samen. We kwamen altijd bij elkaar over de vloer.’
Neighbours in Barcelona: “whenever we had something to celebrate, we’d do it together. Our families were always together’

‘Frank Rijkaard has done ever so well and Pep has perfected the game played in Barcelona. But Johan laid the foundation. When we won the EC1 in 1992, man… That was a big thing. Barca lost the finals in Sevilla in 1986 against Boekarest. That crazy goalie stopping a couple of penalties. That was a trauma. And on paper, we were much better than Sampdoria, but we knew it would be a tight game. That ghost of Sevilla was over our head. When we did win it, at Wembley, it wasn’t only the biggest moment of my career, it was also a turnaround for the club. Barca needed a big win. And that’s when it all started, really.”

JOHAN – THE NEIGHBOUR ‘When you needed him, he was there’

‘We became neighbours in Barcelona. They paid 18,000 guilders rent per month in 1989. A huge sum. So we were neighbours and whenever Bartina (Ronald’s wife) and I had gone into to town for dinner and came home late, I told her not to flush the toilet because Johan would hear I’d still be awake, hahahaha. Cor Coster, Johan’s father in law and manager, would visit. He loved a whisky, but his daughter wouldn’t allow it before a certain time of the day. So Cor came and visited “the Koemans to say hi to the kids” hahaha. And he’d have a whisky at our place. Johan was a typical neighbour, coming by to borrow some sugar, you know, that kinda thing? Danny, his wife, was tremendous for Bartina. Helping her getting to know the area. We had a strong bond. We did all these birthdays celebrations, christmas, that sort of thing. It was odd at times. He was my neighbour, my friend, but also my coach and boss. Sometimes not easy.”

“Romario came to Barca. Laudrup, Stoichkov and I were the three key foreigners and Johan couldn’t play four. The Spanish media loved it. The key question was constantly, which player will get the benchwarming role. Every day big stories, polls, surveys and opinions. And it was never my name in the media. Everyone thought one of the forwards would start on the bench. Tonny Bruins Slot told me later that Johan didn’t know what to do either. He suddenly, an hour before the match, say “Koeman” to Bruins Slot. And Rexach would say “No, not Koeman, we need him!” But Johan would say: “I will explain it to him, I’ll give it a whirl.”

‘Natuurlijk heeft Johan mij beïnvloed. Wat je eist van spelers, hoe je ze uitdaagt, hoe je kwaliteit bewaakt.'

“Johan was a major influence on me. How to deal with players, how to squeeze the best out of them”

‘So we walk in for the tactical team talk and I see the line up on the white board with the magnets and they had numbers. And number 4, my number, is right midfielder! “Fuck!” I thought, “he surely would not bench me?” But yes. I was livid! “Why didn’t you just tell me, dammit!” I called out to Johan. There was a rule which said that any new signing would not play the first game. But Johan shrugged his shoulders and said “don’t get your panty in a knot!” After the game, in the press conference, he said “Koeman will play in games where I need him. The key games. I decided to bench the player with the strongest mentality. That’s Ronald. He knows how to deal with this.” He was so smart. You may not play, but he’ll shower you with compliments. And then when we went home, he calls me up: “Hey, lets go out for some dinner with the wives”. As if nothing happened. And obviously, we went out for dinner.”

“Johan was always more a friend than a coach. He really was there for you. Bartina was expecting our second, Tim. She was supposed to give birth on a Sunday. But you know how that goes. That Saturday, we played against Sociedad, 800 km from Barcelona. The match started at 10 pm and you’re basically done at midnight. And in those days, we didn’t have private jets bringing us home after a game, but we had a hotel there and we’d return the next day. I was pretty nervous because I might miss the delivery! But right after the game, Johan said: “Ronald, get your bag we are leaving now!”. He had someone drive his car to Basque and he drove me straight back after the game! And Johan drove us for seven hours, on the treacherous mountain roads there, taking all bends and curves full throttle, as he played and coached and lived. I was back in time for the delivery. But that’s remarkable isn’t it? That your coach does this for you, without you even asking for it? Can you imagine Mourinho or Van Gaal doing that for a player? That is typically Johan!”

JOHAN – THE GURU ‘At home they called him Johanna’

Johan Cruyff smoking on the touchline - 06 Dec 2006

‘Bartina and Danny would discuss their own ladies’ stuff. Fashion, schools, cooking, or even vacuum cleaning or whatever and Johan would join and tell them about those things, as if he was the expert. So they’d say “Ah, here is Johanna as well!”. And he did that with everything. If you were playing pool in the Ajax’ players home, he would come and tell you how to make the perfect shot. He knew everything. Or at least, that is what he though. He was always explaining everything.  He was good in settling in people from other countries in Spain. He introduced us to Spanish food. I was sold straightaway, but Richard Witschge took a bit longer. Whenever we had lunch, Richard would love for ham and melon or a schnitzel. And he kept on doing this for months. It was Danny actually, who at some stage said “Come on Richard, you gotta adapt to live in Spain!”. This was how they took care of us.”

“Johan is a major influence on me. But I’m sure he did this to Pep, Marco, Frank. What you demand of players, how you manage quality, group dynamics, how you challenge them. Or the way we train. When I was with Feyenoord, I’d join into the positioning games, just to show that their coach can still play. It’s just that Johan was phenomenal in that. He would be coaching on the side of the pitch, gesticulating, yelling and trying to control everything. If a ball came his way, without even looking, he’d play an inch perfect pass with his outside left to the free man, without stopping his instructions. And he was right footed eh? He had solutions of which we would say “how does he see that?”. Exceptional. Still, as a coach, I am a bit less adventurous. I think Johan took a lot of risk. But you develop your own ideas at the end of the day.”

JOHAN – THE FUTURE – “I miss him terribly”

“When I heard Johan wasn’t well, I called him. And I have to say, I felt he aged a lot.  Johan typically understated it all. You know, it wasn’t as bad, I have the best doctors, I’m actually 2-0 ahead… but it was worse than we knew. He typically tricked us until his dying breath. I am missing him enormously and so will the whole of Dutch football. Our icon is gone, our criticaster, the best we ever had. Now it will all be different….”

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58 responses to “Ronald Koeman tribute to Johan Cruyff”

  1. wilson says:

    ok good weekend for Dutch players. Bruma scored for Wolfburg as they desperately try to climb out of the danger zone . Patrick Van Annholt was also on target for Sunderland. Ake scored his third goal for Bournemouth but were beaten eventually by Southampton.Van Rhijn , vormer were both on target for club brugge as they climbed to the top of the Belgian league.

    Going back to Ake,I think he should get the nod at DM Definitely and Danny should start him in the next set of qualifiers.Van Dijk,Bruma and De Vrij are lock at CBs and I dont think Ake will be able to bench the trio either.

    also looking at sinkgraven at LB for ajax, I think the make shift position by Bosz has worked out well as he continues to sign with every game. like the kid he looks good going forward and is also talented, I would rather see him on the wing rather than at LB as defensively he can be a question mark.

    also alex buttner contract at Dyanmo moscow has automatically being dissolved and he is free to look a new club. im being looking forward for this transfer and for me he definitely a lock at LB, he jus needs to find a new club in a competitive league and game time obviously to get back to full fitness.

    Sinkgraven – Huntelaar – Zivkovic

    Van Ginkle – Ake- strootman

    Buttner – Van Dijk – De Vrij – Karsdorp

    Zoet

    • wilson says:

      Ibi Afellay also made his debut for stroke u23 after reocvering from ACL injury

    • Emmanual says:

      where is Daley blind and Depay??????

    • Emmanual says:

      if he selecets Strootman,Ake.kongolo,vandijk,devrij then how he will play Daley Blind???

    • Emmanual says:

      Blind thinks singraven is crap compared to Depay….

      • andrew says:

        Really, Tiju? Has he said that? Is there a quote by Blind to that effect? Has anyone from Blind said they heard him say that?

        Couldn’t it possibly be that when Blind was making his fall selections that the reason Blind preferred Depay to Sinkgraven is because Sinkgraven had lost his place as a starter with Ajax, and that he was just beginning to play lb? And now, given where Sinkgraven is playing, its not even a comparison of like for like. Shouldn’t the question be where Sinkgraven ranks with regard to Daly Blind, Jetro Willems, Brenet, or Van Aanholt?

        • TIJU1234 says:

          its logical thinking
          Both were not playing while Dpeay wa snot eeven in Manu playing squad..While singraven at least played as LB.i mean least…Since Depay has a lucklabel of Man chester due to LVG hiring..Depay is prefered…i am sure Blind is having false hope in players who cannt gie us win france or Sweden..
          My first choice LB is Kongolo
          second would be Annholt VS Williems Vs Blind…i dont know whom to select..
          anyways i would go with 8 defenders in squad
          like this 433
          kardorp—De Vrij–VanDijk–Kongolo as first choice..
          Kevindiks–Bruma—Blind—-Mensah
          then
          comes
          Strootman—Ake—–Ramseelar
          Bazoer—–Wijnaldum–Clasie
          then comes
          Roben—–Janssen—–Promes
          Vanrhin—-Luuk——-Annholt

  2. Ruud says:

    Our boys that in good form, playing regularly in their team & big leagues

    – Bruma, Vrij, Strootman, van Dijk, Aanholt, Pieter, Indi, Ake, de Roon, Verhaegh, Stekelenburg

  3. wilson says:

    Interesting transfer rumors are surfacing. First one Van Gaal to PSG.

    Second one Karsdorp to Man United.

    Let’s wait till march and see what Danny’s selection will be like. Once again with more game s some of the players are really hitting the tempo.things are starting to fall into place.the ball is in Dannys court now.

    • Ruud says:

      Personally I think this time is good for El ghazi, Karsdorp, Kongolo, Riedewald, Vilhena go abroad to develop themself but need to follow van Dijk, Strootman, Wijnadum, Janmaat, Pieter, Indi, Aanholt, Ake, de Roon that play for average clubs first to find the places & time on the field, if they can adapt the leagues then very easy to get offer & position at bigger clubs, shouldn’t follow Memphis, Kevin Diks to wast time on the bench at their current league.

    • Ruud says:

      Luciano Narsingh likely will leave Eredivisie this winter break, lot of heavy linked that he will come to Everton or Swansea, this guy to me is not anymore potential to contribute our Orange but also interesting to see him at PL , maybe in crisis time we can also utilize him as a temporary option.

  4. wilson says:

    I reckon Danny has to make the right decsion now on the right players .he simply can’t go with Klaassen,Propper,Sonny boy and Luuk,Willems and Veltman kind of players.

    Van Dijk, De Vrij and Bruma should be lock now at CB. Then Riedewald and Ake two versatile back up who can also slot in at DM. Jerry st Juste also should be a candidate here as the third man for that DM role as he is also a utility.

    Fullbacks I think Karsdorp or Janmaat should be top bet on the right,whoever is in better form and on the left I will definitely wait for Buttner. Haps is another player I would like to see get a nod at LB as he has been in a good form at AZ.van Annholt has to prove himself defensively.

    Midfield shouldn’t be a problem as there are so many options.Strootman,Van Ginkel,Clasie,Sneijder,Wijnaldum,Ramselaar,Ake,Riedewald,St juste

    Wingers obivosly Robben has to be on the top of the list. Again Sinkgraven and Zivkovic should be in the picture as well.Promes seems have quiten down Russia but should be in the mix with el ghazi.

    Depay,if his move to Everton goes through,you can pencil him in under the guidance of Koeman.

    Lastly the Strikers,I’m not a big fan of Dost, Luuk is a down grade of Dost so obviously he is out. Janssen, looks like he will find himself surplus at Spurs come Jan as Tottenham hunt for another striker.

    I have always said this with huntelaar if you know how to use him or have the right players around him ,he can be very lethal. The problem for him has been always Firstly RVP whom the coaches have always given the benefit of doubt and secondly sneijder and Robben who always want to pull the trigger themselves. Well all the three are usually out of the picture these days and I feel huntelaar around some youngsters can surely and no doubt give goals if he is simply serviced. So the three strikers should be Huntelaar,Janssen and Zivkovic who can switch on the wing as well.

  5. van banger says:

    Thanks for posting this article Jan, it’s very interesting to hear from people who were very close to JC and it’s amazing how many top level players and coaches were influence by the great one!
    It’s hard to imagine another person having so much influence on the game, sure we have great players and great coaches but Johan was something else altogether .
    On another note Janssen did not play for Spurs and was not on the bench, is he injured? Or just not in favour ATM ?

  6. Robin O'Brien says:

    Thank you so much for posting, Jan. It’s striking the depth of emotion JC evokes in people who were close to him. As good a testament as any to what a special person he was, on and off the field.

  7. Ruud says:

    Ryal Babel ‘s playing & scoring regularly for Deportivo that recalling his time at Ajax & Liverpool when he used to be our prodigy & hope, an another option for Danny Blind with current situation that lacking of in form & world class strikers?

  8. Jan says:

    Feyenoord won the Ajax – PSV match :-).

    Good effort by Ajax though, with a very good Davey Klaassen! Ajax deserved the win but without Dolberg they lack a cool finisher.

    Feyenoord still cruising with Steven Berghuis in top form and Elia performing as well (goal, assist).

    Sinkgraven is a make shift left back. A good player on the ball and still young, but definitely not the ideal option for LB. He struggles in the Eredivisie defensively. You don’t wanna see him against Di Maria, Mhkitaryan or Pedro. I think Ajax will sign Haps of AZ as soon as they can. Dijks is also not delivering.

    Sinkgraven lacks speed, desire and defensive wherewithall. He will not reach Oranje as LB with players like Blind, Willems, Van Aanholt, Pieters and even Kongolo ahead of him. No way.

    nathan Ake’s strength is his positional intelligence. This is how he scores too. Just smart movement. He’s not the tallest or toughest, but he is agile and reads the game well.

    • Emmanual says:

      kongolo is the best relaible LB we have got…

    • wilson says:

      Jan I think Sinkgraven is a typically CM kind of player with average defensive abilities Like sneijder,vaart and others but he is talented for sure. I think he is an upgrade of Daley Blind in a forward role which he has showed while going forward from LB at Ajax. Agree he doesn’t has much chances at LB but he has the ability to go round players and his main weapon is his ability to quickly disposed of ball via crosses when opponents are on him. I really think he should go to Russia and the LW role is the best position for him.

      About Ake you are spot on,I wonder if Danny is also noting this down.six games and he is already grabbing the headlines. Why on earth they never saw this one coming. Or simply danny can’t see the true talents of a player. Even at u21s he was never recognized at DM. You look at Bazoer and Hendrix now and compare them to Ake. This is why I always go for talents rather than how many games they have played or in which team they are playing.

  9. Jan says:

    Ger Blok passed away. You probably never heard of him? He was the youth coach at the KNVB who had players like van Basten, Vanenburg, Been and Van’t Schip and qualified for the WC1983 in Mexico with them.

    He was a highly rated youth coach and key for the Gullits and Rijkaards of that time.

    When he qualified, the KNVB decided to give the prestigious job for coach at the WC1983 to Kees Rijvers and offered Blok an assistant role.

    In disgust, he went for an overseas coaching job and never really returned to Holland. He reached the age of 77.

  10. Emmanual says:

    By the by
    Now even Dley Blind is not playing for MANU and they are winning…..is it coincidental?or accidental? or Fluke??

    • dwherwey says:

      Coincidental. Blind would be a major upgrade over Darmian at LB… Darmian is such a liability and offers nothing going forward. With Rojo and Jones playing well and Lindelof soon arriving it doesn’t appear there is much of a future for Blind under Mourinho. I think it would be a good idea for him to move to a club where he can focus on one position. Probably LB is his best?

      Either way he’s a useful player to have in the squad both for Man U and NT but not a starter at the moment for either of them.

  11. Ruud says:

    Lads in PL currently in good form van Dijk, Ake, Aanholt, Roon, Stelenburg, Indi, Pieter.

    Don’t really know reason why Pieter is not in Orange squad for a long time, conflict to management board?

    • TIJU1234 says:

      Annholt has extra pace,coz of that he is creating hovac in oppenent half..But its sad that Blind is Blind to see that..He think annholt as defender only..i mean just a stuborn stupid assumption of a coach.
      If Daley Singraven can play as LB then Annholt can play as LW…its just simple as that…when will this stupid coach learn it..So can do Jetro williams..

  12. Ruud says:

    With Matthijs de Ligt & van Drongelen , our Orange will likely have a new pair of central back soon from Eredivisie after generation of de Vrij – Indi, Rekik-Bruma, Raidewal- van Beek

  13. Jan says:

    Why would you say Ake is not on the radar of the KNVB? He plays in the U21 squad.

    Blind knows him. Don’t be daft..

    Ake only has 6 ganes under his belt. Bruma has more caps, Van Dijk too. Ake will have his time.

    And Daley Blind played last mid week game for Man U. He doest play everything but he plays enough. Mata doesn’t play everything. Rooney doesn’t. Martial doesn’t. Nolito doesn’t, Willian, etc etc.

  14. Emmanual says:

    I think we can learn from Manu scenario Honestly speaking……
    When you have Blind in back line you have a weakness in defense..When you Depay in Front line you cannt play a fluid game ,eventually we wont score agains a good team..Depay will be well deservedly kicked off from Manu….Daley Blind will be sitting in bench as he is utility player than a specialist.
    Jsut looking a current dream team of NT
    ————-Zoet—————
    Karsdorp—De Vrij—Van Dijk—Kongolo
    ———Strootman—Ake—————
    ————-Ramseelar—————
    Roben——–Janssen——–Promes
    ========================================
    on bench
    —————-Krul—————–
    Kevin diks—Bruma—-Mensah—-Williams
    —————St Juste————–
    ——–Bazoer———-Clasie———
    Vanrhijn——–Luuk———-Annholt
    Stand bye
    Raidwald
    Tete
    Janmaat
    Blind..
    Zivkovic

    • dwherwey says:

      When’s the last time Ake played as DM? He hasn’t for Bournemouth or Watford has he?

      • Emmanual says:

        may be years back….but it doesnt mean that he cnnot play as DM..if Singraven is LB at Ajax then Ake is top notch DM…
        Ake is the best we have got ATM for DM spot this will free strootman more and with Strootman and Ramseelar we will have a top notch midfeild…But you know Blind wont do it…

        • dwherwey says:

          Not sure I follow your logic on that one… I really don’t think a 21 year old who hasn’t played DM since he was a teenager is our best DM. If that’s the case then we are in big trouble haha.

          I don’t really feel like Strootman needs to be “freed” I’m perfectly happy with him being our most defensive minded midfielder, but if you’re going to play a DM next to him it’s got to be Clasie, at least for now. I’ll have my eyes on Ake as well as Bazoer at Wolfsburg though!

          Do you or anyone else mind telling me a little bit more about Ramselaar? I see he has 3 goals and 2 assists in the Eredivise which is pretty good for an AM but I have only seen him play a few times.

          • Emmanual says:

            Unfortunatley Ake is the Best DM we have as he is so alert,has vision and good at tackles,can run with ball,good skills on ball etc..
            Ramseelar has lungs,can dribble,has vision ,quick thinker..can defend and attack..we will see loots of move…etc..He can score too…He is alert and on top of that he is also workhorse like kuyt..

          • Ruud says:

            Guys, for DM position i think Fosu & especially de Roon is over than Ake.

            – de Roon style is very solid,he is playing regularly & first choice at Middle Boro, he can score, his development is quite same our outstanding van Dijk, from Eredevisie mediocre he moved to Atalanta & played as key & got praise there before came to current club, if he’s good form for Boro , like the way van Dijk used to be at Sou he will be key for Orange & get offer by big money & bigger club in PL.
            – Fosu only 18 year old but he has proven he can stop even top class player attacking midfielder of opponent by his physical strength & confidences.

            So in conclusion, for DM at Orange now i believe we can sort like this.

            de Roon -> Hendrix -> Fosu-Mesah -> Ake -> Classie -> Anita.

            – Riedewald & Juste somehow also can play as DM so depend on how the coach utilize them.

          • wilson says:

            Ruud looks like you haven’t figured out the Selecting policy for the coaches at NT.players playing in bottom feeder teams are always overlooked to those playing in eredivisie especially ajax who usually get the first preerence. I remember Danny once selected Mitchell Dijks in his extended squad and after he pulled out due to fitness level, only then Van Annholt got the late call up.

            erick Pieters has been a regular at Stoke for how many season now. defensively he is quiet sound than all van annholt, willems and even Daley but yet you look at circumstances under which he often gets the call up.

            same thing happened to Van Dijk when he was at celtic.

            De Roon to is the same boat now, the benefit of doubt will always go to players in eredivisie or unless and until its prove beyond doubt at top level especially in an above average team

          • Ruud says:

            @wilson, i don’t really like Danny Blind but i think he are trying his best for our Orange, i don’t think he is kind of stubborn coach, i am always put Koeman, de Boer , Cocu over Danny but this time we should give Danny truth if it doesn’t work, sure that’s his responsibility.

  15. Emmanual says:

    @Dwherway….
    You have to pick the right talents and give them your vote of confidence..there comes the successa,always look for lost sheeps not by their fault but by the greedy stupid coaches who benches them often..
    i see some class things in
    Bazoer
    Ramseelar
    St Juste
    Ake
    Raidwald.
    Noauri
    Karsdorp
    Kevin diks.
    etc…

  16. Jan says:

    Tiju talks like a club coach. Pick talent and give them confidence… .Not for the NT my friend.

    But you don’t hear what people say, do you?

    Blind doesn’t pick Ake and Ramselaar for midfield because no national team manager would.

    Tiju is always after what we call “the candy of the week”. Ake is scoring some goals: AKE NEEDS TO BE CAPTAIN OF NT!!

    Ramselaar is not playing well for PSV at the moment. Give him time. Same with Ake.

    If you speak of class in young players, you speak of talent. That is merely the start of it: consistency, mental strength, handling pace, vision, tactical awareness etc etc. But hey… why do I spend time responding to you?

    On another note: Max Verstappen was elected Dutch Sportsman of the Year. At the Gala, Frank Rijkaard held a moving tribute to Johan Cruyff…

    More news: Hakim Zyiech, easily the best midfielder in the Eredivisie with Karim El Ahmadi, picked the Morrocon national team over Oranje.

    Now, with the Africa Cup looming, the Morrocon NT coach didn’t select Zyiech for the squad! Bad news for Hakim who might have wished that he picked Orange.

    Good news for Ajax, bad news for Feyenoord who will lose their midfield captain for weeks….

    • vanfadly says:

      I thought I read somewhere that Ziyech don’t want to be called up if the coach keep benching him. apparently Belhanda is ahead of him.

      Conte already said that he’s monitoring Ake closely. I hope that he can be something useful for NT.

  17. Ruud says:

    Wow, what about this news?

    http://www.football-oranje.com/manchester-city-make-50-million-bid-van-dijk/

    I really proud on this guy, if this happen it is a biggest transfer money for Orange’s defender ever.

  18. Ruud says:

    Hopefully we can see the move of these boys in this Jan

    – van Dijk -> MC 50 mils of pound
    – El Ghazi -> Roma to step up
    – Narsigh -> Everton or Liv
    – Kardorp -> MU
    – Kongolo -> Everton to reunite Koeman
    – Babel -> PL (although likely he will join Besiktas as rumour)

    • Jan says:

      I think Narsingh isn’t good enough for the EPL. I hope Kongolo will stay a while longer at Feyenoord to develop more.

      • Emmanual says:

        Narisngh lacks quality and class..but he has got speed and in Everton he has Koeman..So he might get some playing time…

        kongolo is a beast,if he joins everton its fine or else he also stay back for an year at least..
        i have high hopes for kongolo,mensah,karsdorp,kevin diks.. in defense..no forgetting St juste and Raidwald..these are real hopes for us in future..

  19. Ruud says:

    If van Dijk come to MC by 50 pound of mils, he will become the most expensive defender ever, let’s go to compensate for cheap price tag of dutch talents. 🙂

  20. andrew says:

    re DM: Ake. He’s scored some goals, but he does not stand out as a central defender. In my eyes, he is not close VVD, DeVrij, Brouma. And Kongolo and TFM, Reidewald all have higher ceilings as CD’s. He looks like he could be a good DM—his positioning, movement, vision, but until he actually plays in that position in senior league games, hard to see any justification for selecting him to the NT.

    De Roon is growing on me. Not because of the goal he scored last weekend—though it was a great run form the mf, and lord knows the NT can use their holding mids to make such runs—but because he is improving as the season goes along. Saw him early this year, and he just seemed like another guy out there. But presently, it looks like he is impacting the game in those “other 87 minutes” that he doesn’t have the ball at his feet.

    Maybe Ake will get a chance to play DM, and prove his skills there; hopefully Bazoer will flourish in Germany. But for right now, in the present set up that Blind is playing, the two deeper MF spots go to Strootman and Wijnaldum, with Clasie and De Roon as reserves.

    • TIJU1234 says:

      Ake is talented player he can even play as striker or Goal keeper..thats the curse too..
      We have Bruma,De Vrij,Van dijk,Mensah and St Juste…So we dont have to consider Ake as DM like we Must do it with Daley Blind too..
      Ake and Blind are Best at DM,its true that they can play as DM…
      So we must use them according to their strength…thats how we get the maximum benefit from them..Like exactly what LVG did to kuyt in WC….Kuyt was not regular in Pool or NT untill that WC…
      Ake is young,fast and lungs….this is the right time use him…

  21. Jan says:

    Yep, good analysis. I agree. In modern football, CBs need length. Even Veltman, who is 1.83 or so, doesn’t cut it as a CB, sadly.

    Ake can become as good as Kante, I believe. He has the lungs and the legs but is a little bit erratic, but that is his youth.

    I can see him maybe on loan for one more year and then Chelsea can bring him in. With Kante, Matic, Fabregas, there is a lot of competition.

    Clasie is out for 2 matches with a groin injury.

  22. AZ-forever says:

    According to June 2016 data, Ridgeciano Haps costs only 3 million euro. I do not believe AZ will sell him to Ajax for that price. However,if AZ asks about 8 million euro (that, i believe, his current market value is) Ajax will not afford it. I personally do not see any reason why Haps would want to leave Alkmaar for Amsterdam. Bosz is doing well in Ajax but he is a bit unpredictable,and i would not like Haps to move cheaply to Ajax and warm bench. Instead, he would benefit from moving to Russia if good offer comes.

  23. Jan says:

    Not sure I agree with that :-). I’d rather see Haps stay in Holland. He’s the perfect LB for Ajax.

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