No no! It won’t be Advocaat or Blind :-).
As we discussed earlier, Koeman is not to be denied at Barcelona. How different will it be for his successor at the KNVB. With Malen and Memphis fit and ready, as we hope, when the Euros 2021 start (or IF), there will be known issues for the new coach.
Koeman did an excellent job revitalising Oranje, getting the fans to love the team again and bring new talent to the fore. Hiddink, Blind and Advocaat might not have had the results we craved but during that time, some incredible talents broke through and our new coach will be salivating by the thought.
The biggest problem our new coach will have, is to find the best team out of the talents we have or to find a way to start a game with 15 players, instead of 11.
With Stekelenburg back at Ajax, it’s fair to say we will not have a keeper problem either!
So you have the key players from the past couple of seasons (Memphis, Blind, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, De Ligt, Frenkie) and now the coach can pencil in some new names like Schuurs, Ihatarren, Gakpo, Gravenberch, Malen, Stengs, Wijndal, etc etc…
There is a debate going on in the country, as to who should be the new coach, of course. The KNVB will give Dwight Lodeweges – Ronald’s assistant – the nod for the coming games but will most likely name a bigger name coach for the job sometime soon.
The first question is: does it need to be a Dutchie, or should we go for a foreign coach?
The answer, as far as I am concerned, is: A Dutch Coach. Always.
I know it’s conservative, but I also think you don’t experiment with these things.
We did have foreign coaches before and they were quite the success too (well, Ernst Happel is the only one that comes to mind… Georg Kessler was less successful and part Dutch). But Happel worked in The Netherlands (ADO Den Haag and Feyenoord) and knew the Dutch football culture well. Even more so: Happel was more responsible for our Total Football than Michels… (see a couple of blog post earlier).
But with the typical Dutch style, the typical Dutch culture (direct in communications) and the need to finally get success at a big tournament, I would want a coach who understands all these things well… This shouldn’t be a “job” for some foreign coach to take just to up his image. This should be a mission, a real purpose of a job for a Dutch coach, who shares the football vision, gets the subtleties and dynamics of the language and customs and who can pick up on Koeman’s work and progress it.
Unless, we really don’t have a single candidate who could do it. But I doubt that.
So, for me, no Klinsmann, or Rangnick, or Jardem or whoever. For starters, do we know these guys can play national team manager? Being a club coach is completely different. Pochettino is a good club coach, but does that make him a good national team manager? Who knows?
It will be easier for us Dutchies to assess this with coaches / ex-players we know. I think it’s fair to say that a guy like Cocu could do the job. He’s assisted Van Marwijk, he played for Oranje and he would know what it takes. This can be said of Henk ten Cate as well. Frank de Boer, another name mentioned, is maybe less fit for the job. He seems to need time with his players, make his hands dirty and use a highly disciplined management style (which cost him some jobs already, of course). I think Frank might fail in the football vision department (at Ajax he was criticised for playing negative, boring football) and he seems to miss the flair and people management style to make Oranje a nice place to be at… It’s my way or the high way with Frank.
Cocu won’t come back from England now, for the job, I don’t think. He might be a candidate later.
Louis van Gaal is mentioned too. I really don’t think that is wise. He got the best of the team in 2014. When we were the massive underdog. Since then, his relationship with the likes of Van Persie and Memphis deteriorated. I think the Van Gaal effect is gone now and the players matured and won’t fall for the Van Gaal antics this time around, I don’t think.
We saw this with his players in 2000, when his methods were considered “been there, done that” by the experienced players and the magic was gone.
Peter Bosz could be a good candidate, but he won’t be leaving Leverkusen now, I don’t think. Again, a candidate for later?
At this point, I would go for an experienced Dutch coach. Keep Lodeweges for the friendlies, if you must. And get a coach like Henk ten Cate in for the tournament.
Henk has worked at the top level of (international) football, with Barca, Chelsea, Ajax. He is financially independent. He is great with young talents and knows everything there is to know about football and about Dutch players. He will not get overwhelmed in a big occasion and he will have the discipline and management style that is befitting a Dutch group of players.
And don’t forget: he was team manager before. For 1 day. When Hans van Breukelen really screwed up the process of hiring a new manager. He told Henk in his interview, he was the man for the job (witnesses present). Only to go to Dick Advocaat and being pressured into signing Dick. What a mess. Henk was fuming. I hope he’ll do it now.
For me, Henk it is.