Well, taking a break from blogging about football didn’t result in any good outcomes for the Dutch clubs in Europe! Oranje is still asleep – friendlies coming soon! – and despite Memphis posts positive messages on his return to fitness, we needed more than that to keep us happy. And AZ and Ajax weren’t able to deliver in Europe. Feyenoord’s incredible ressurrection is fun to watch, but at the same time just scraps to feed on…
Cillesen benched. Frenkie not used in the right way. Injuries for Danjuma, Malen and Memphis.
Still there is hope. Ajax might lose on an off-day vs Getafe. AZ might run out of steam. PSV might still be in slight trouble (they could beat Feyenoord this weekend and get back in the heat of things). But we still have some exciting prospects to look out for.
De Ligt for instance, is increasingly becoming important at Juve. Hateboer, De Roon and Gosens impress in Italy. Weghorst keeps on being a key player in the Bundesliga. Kluivert scored in Europe. Propper and Ake are revered in the EPL and youngsters Chong, Zirkzee, Ihattaren and others keep on knocking on the door.
Lets look at some potentials for Oranje…
Bobby Adekanye – Lazio Roma
The 20 year old globetrotting striker scored his first goal for Lazio some while back. He’s been playing two handful of games for the Romans and his coach Inzaghi is a fan: “Bobby is a true professional, he deserved his chance.” It’s not easy for young prospects in the Serie A. Bobby sits on the bench a lot, but he’s one of the youngest benchwarmers, which does say something. And by now, he’s got one goal and one assist. Bobby was born in Nigeria and moved to Holland as a kid. In 2007, Ajax signed him and he left Amsterdam for Barcelona as a D-junior. He excelled with Ajax at a youth tournament and the Catalonians couldn’t resist, something they’d regret a lot. Bobby was part of the bunch of players signed “illegally” resulting in a transfer ban for Barca and a playing ban for Bobby in Spain. Adekanye was loaned to PSV but when he returned to Spain he still couldn’t play for 2 more seasons. He left Spain and went for Liverpool. Another big club on his resume. Initially, Liverpool sees in him a potential first team player and presents him with a good plan. Four years later, it’s still but a plan and Bobby decides to leave England for Italy. Lots of his Oranje rep mates already started to play minutes in the first team. This prompted Bobby to find his fortune elsewhere. Arjen Robben is his big idol and he has that classic Robben move in his repertoire ( threatening to go outside, cutting inside and finishing in the top corner).
Bobby is on the radar of the KNVB of course, but a ticket to the coming Euros seems far fetched. He can still play for Young Oranje for which he played one friendly. Competition is killing at the moment for him, with Bergwijn, Promes, Babel, Berghuis, Stengs, Kluivert, Danjuma and Dilrosun all battling for a spot. Should Oranje never need him, he still can select Nigeria as his country of choice and become an international there.
Daley Sinkgraven – Bayern Leverkusen
Daley – son of Harry Sinkgraven, former FC Groningen forward – started life as a skilled winger / forward for Heerenveen. He made his debut at 16 and was destined for great things. Ajax picked him up and cherished the young talent who struggled with many injuries as he wasn’t fully grown yet when he was playing senior football and his body protested regularly. Peter Bosz transformed the creative player to an all round full back in 2017 and it seemed he found his role in the successfully marauding team Bosz moulded. But another injury was the end of his career at Ajax, who decided to buy this young, aggressive Argentinian left back. It was time for Daley to move on. Bosz, in 2019: “I think he could grow out to become the best left back on the planet! He has everythng for that role. I would not go back to midfield, if I was him.” And Bosz got a hand in that by signing him from Ajax, where he was surplus. At Bayern Leverkusen, he plays as a wingback, or a real left full back or at times as a third centre back. Bosz: “What makes him special is his intelligence, his vision, passing range and his ball control.” Bosz didn’t pick up those skills in relation to the full back spot himself. Former Cruyff assistant and super scout Tonnie Bruins Slot saw Sinkgraven in his youth already and later told Bosz: “He is the ideal full back. Put him there.”
Hell yes! As long as he stays fit (which he has been now). The left back position is not an easy one in Oranje (not as bad as the right back one). Daley Blind is the obvious choice, but Wijndal might not be ready yet, while Pat van Aanholt hasn’t been overly convincing in Oranje. The 24 year old Sinkgraven might well be the ideal stand in for Blind.
Jairo Riedewald- Crystal Palace
Some young players gel into the first team without a hitch… Sergio Dest, for instance. Or Kokcu at Feyenoord. Ihattaren at PSV. Riedewald is not one of them. His problem is his ability to play at so many different positions. His coach at Ajax, Frank de Boer, used him as a stop gap. His debut was like a rocket and reads like a teenage book. Ajax was trailing against Roda JC and needed goals. With only minutes to go, De Boer selected him to go and make war in the box of the opponent. Minutes later, Ajax wins 1-2 with two Riedewald goals! That was his debut. But he never got a firm starting spot. He never could settle in. He played as central defender, as midfielder and left full back and when he got injured, he’d never play for Ajax again. Bad luck followed him to England, where he signed to play for De Boer’s new club: Crystal Palace. But the management lost patience after only 4 games and axed Frank de Boer. Riedewald was his signing and initially new coach Hodgson ignored the Haarlem born player. In the first 15 games this season, Jairo doesn’t get a look in but when Van Aanholt gets injured, the former Ajax player is used as his stand in and gets plaudits and praise for is games. His stats tell the story. Riedewald is the fourth in passing accuracy as a back, just behind the Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal full backs. Not bad! Which has all to do with his education at Ajax. Riedewald never gets nervous on the ball, even under pressure.
Well, he did play 3 caps in 2015, as left full back and he did ever so well. It’s going to be tough to get a look in for central defender or midfielder, but as said above as well, we don’t have too many good options for left back. Obviously, he will need to keep on making minutes and with Van Aanholt back at full fitness, that might be an issue.
Tim Krul – Norwich City
It’s 2015 when Cillesen gets injured and Tim Krul takes the #1 jersey for Oranje. The Newcastle goalie is knocking on the door for some time but his dream match in Kazachstan becomes a nightmare! His injury means the end of his Newcastle career and when Ajax gets him in as a loanie, his lack of fitness sends him to the bench, where he can watch the emergence of a new goalie, a certain Andre Onana. He would play half a season for AZ and would move back to England to be second goalie at Brighton & Hove Albion. The Canaries were able to sign Krul on a free and it’s with Norwich City where Krul finds his joy and successes again, winning the promotion back to the EPL. And even though Norwich is hard on it’s way back to the Championship, Krul made headlines with glorious saves and stopped penalties. Should Norwich indeed get relegated, it might well mean that Krul will return to the highest level.
Of course! He used to be a mainstay in the squad and achieved hero status in the WC2014 when Van Gaal brought him on, just to stop some penalties and get us into the semi finals. Koeman is following him but up until now, Ken Vermeer and Jeroen Zoet were the ideal second goalie, with Bizot the young turk third in line. But with Cillesen benched, Vermeer in LA and Zoet at Utrecht, I believe Krul deserves a spot in the squad!
Davy Klaassen – Werder Bremen
Klaassen had his best season under Peter Bosz at Ajax, as a number 10. He has the technique to play out of difficult situations and the nose for space, the legs to get into that space and ice in his veins to be a goal scorer. Koeman signs him for Everton but he never settles there and leaves the club via the backdoor. At Werder Bremen, he reinvented himself as a leader and in a new role. Forget the number 10.
Werder Bremen moved mountains to lure Klaassen to the Bundesliga. They really courted him, sent him videos and pushed a strong delegation on the case. Finally, Klaassen caved and left Everton. He is immediately made part of the players’ council and is promised a starting spot. His role changed though. The attacking box-to-box player is no more, he is now more the holding mid and the leader on the pitch. But he still runs. He is the player just behind Joshua Kimmich with the most kilometers in the Bundesliga. Last season, many clubs from different competition enquired about Klaassen’s future, but he stayed loyal to Werder.
Yes, in principle yes. I believe as a holding mid, with the experience he has now, he could well be an Oranje player. Sadly for him, it’s crowded in midfield. Wijnaldum, Frenkie and Donny van de Beek will be certainties. Davy Propper and De Roon will be as well. It won’t be easy for Davy Klaassen to wiggle his way in between them and Strootman, Vilhena and Ihattaren… But who knows. There is also that possibility that Koeman and Klaassen had a bit of a falling out.
In Part 2, we will look at more potential candidates!
In the meantime, gimme your names in the comments below!