Hi all, most of you will have noticed some dynamics on the blog… There are some people who seem to want to bag the Dutch attempts to glory by putting emphasis on the negatives. It usually comes down to harsh criticism on the coach and on some of the current players.
Usually resulting in a strong call for untested players to come in, players who haven’t competed consistently at top level mostly. Like Joey Veerman and Zivkovic, as two examples.
I noticed that a number of Oranje fans here agree that it’s all a bit too easy, too negative and too repetitive and diminishes the positive experience of the blog, while a lot of the arguments used are typical arguments of people who have no clue how to manage a football team or how to kick a ball.
I called Wilson out earlier, he’s one of the vocal ones and he responded with some comments and questions.
I do need to applaud Wilson for the guts he demonstrated to stand up for himself and come out with his criticism and comments. He dares to be vulnerable and that is great. I do not wish him any disrespect and I am glad we can have this conversation. I hope you don’t mind reading this.
This photo is fun. This Jong Oranje team won their Euros. Typically, these would be the players to make it big in Oranje. It will be fun to walk through the tem to discover which of these lads actually made it big.
Boy Waterman, Gianni Zuiverloon, Arnold Kruiswijk, Ryan Donk and Daniel de Ridder had decent, average careers. No big trophies, not the top of their class. Erik Pieters, Hedwiges Maduro and Ryan Babel reached the Big Oranje. Pieters disappeared courtesy of Jetro Willems and later Daley Blind. Maduro fell away due to injuries and Babel made a comeback late in his career. Rigters and Drenthe both had a remarkable run but despite bit transfer (Rigters played for Blackburn, Drenthe for Real Madrid), theirs will go into the books as onorthodox career. Other names from that squad: Luigi Bruins, Julian Jenner. Roy Beerens, Calvin Jong-a-Pin, Tim Janssen… Only Tim Krul and Ron Vlaar had a consistent Oranje career, with Ryan Babel.
So you know, being a talent doesn’t mean you can join the big guns. It’s frighteningly difficult.
I promised to respond to the criticasters. I would love for this to be a healthy and respectful thread. And any opinion is welcome.
Next post will be an analysis of Louis van Gaal’s tactics. But first this….
Wilson: What has evolved for NT in the last seven years?
Well, a lot! it is important to realise that the KNVB and their management play a super important part in all of this, more so than any coach or player.
We can all remember how Bert van Oostveen, the General Manager of the KNVB back in the day came out of the 2014 World Cup thinking Oranje was world class. And he decided to ignore the advice of many and installed Hiddink in the NT manager role, with as charter: bring Dutch football identity back!
Bert van Oostveen and Guus Hiddink
The second mistake was to already promise Danny Blind the job once Guus was done. Those things are never smart to do.
The biggest problems were born there.
As for the football, we need to go back a bit. In 2010, Bert van Marwijk was criticised for not playing 4-3-3. That system was sacred, according to many. When the 4-2-3-1 failed in the 2012 Euros, Bert was told to leave and Van Oostveen went straight for the messiah Van Gaal. But he concluded that 4-3-3 will not work for this squad of his in 2014 and he decided to implement the 5-3-2.
Again, there was some push back but reaching the semis has stifled the criticism and not much later, it was Ronald Koeman who also started to play 5-3-2 at Feyenoord, while other clubs (Ajax under Bosz) also started to deviate more and more.
But Hiddink was instructed to go back to 4-3-3 and he was unlucky to have to suffer the post World Cup blues (a lot of high performing teams at a World Cup have a disappointing follow up year in qualifications), the absence of big names and the burden to find new player.
Abandoning the 4-3-3 was sacrilege in the past, but in the past 7 years, Dutch football has accepted alternative systems. That is a big step forward.
It might be too late in the eyes of many, but at least it has happened. Now, PSV plays 4-2-2-2, as does Young Oranje!! Ajax plays 3-4-3. Vitesse plays 5-3-2 and coaches like Slot and Ten Hag have come up with innovative variations on the theme.
The result is that Oranje too can now play 5-3-2 without anyone making dogmatic complaint-noises.
Another aspect we evolved in: back in 2010 the idea was that we didn’t develop good defenders. We had multiple strikers/forwards but hardly any decent centre back. Hence the use of a couple of Feyenoord central defenders (Martins Indi, De Vrij) and a CB of Aston Villa: Vlaar (relegation candidate back then).
Today, we ooze top notch Central Back. De Vrij, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Schuurs, Botman, Timber, Geertruida, Van Beek, Struyk and I am pretty sure I am forgetting a couple… That too is a change, I would say?
Ron “Concrete Ron” Vlaar
I believe the KNVB has added further insult to injury by sacking Hiddink right when he was turning things around, and the way he was sacked (stabbed in the back by team manager Jorritsma) will have deflated the squad and technical staff and Danny Blind was placed in the role too early. He couldn’t fix the Euro qualifications and started his World Cup qualification journey as a wounded animal.
What a way to treat two Dutch football legends!
Ronald Koeman was able to pick things up give the nation some pride again by reaching the Nations League finals and by introducing some exciting new talents to the mix (one Frenkie de Jong would be the biggest plus for us all).
Wilson: *You tell me what has being the highlight of NT in the seven years?
Definitely the games we played in the Nations League, beating France and Germany. As you know, we didn’t play a big tournament in the past 7 years. Qualification game wins usually don’t count as highlights.
But the upsurge of players like Frenkie, Virgil, Memphis, Malen, Dumfries and more recently Bijlow will give many people a big smile on their face.
Funny story. Back in 2016, when we didn’t make the World Cup, Rene van der Gijp was asked: what is needed for this Oranje to get back to the top? He answered: “We need to pray that right now two people are getting it on in bed, in Gorinchem or something, and make a baby who will grow up to be the new Messi! That is all that can save us.” Ironically, Frenkie de Jong appeared a couple of years later to take Oranje by the hand. He was born in Arkel, just outside of Gorinchem… ( Don’t bother commenting on the fact that Frenkie is now 23 and not conceived in 2016. I know.)
Me: “Every coach in Holland would play Daley Blind as CB replacement for Van Dijk. You need a CB with passing and build up capabilities”
Wilson: Not every coach. You know which coaches will and which coach wont.
I actually don’t. This was taken out of context as I’m sure it was said in relation to a particular match / opponent.
Re: Daley Blind
Me: Every analyst or expert in Holland thinks Daley Blind is excellent
Can you name them for me? Is there any in there from outside of Ajax soccer fraternity.
Wilson: * Above all and again What has this yield in the last seven year? Has the team struggled in his absence if he such a intrsumental/important player?
Like any player, Daley Blind had good and bad games. But mostly good games. His World Cup campaign in 2014 was great. Spain’s Azpalicueta didn’t have a chance against him and he has a Man of the Match worthy performance with two assists in the 5-1 win over Spain.
He would play mostly good games for Holland, as left back, and as midfielder. The last game Robben played vs Sweden (3-0), was played with Daley Blind in the Frenkie role and he played impressive.
Analysts in the Netherlands as well as (ex) coaches have hailed him. The list is long: Johan Derksen (not an Ajax fan, ex player, ex chief editor of biggest football magazine), Rene van der Gijp (ex PSV), Wim Kieft (ex Ajax), Ruud Gullit (ex Feyenoord, ex PSV), Kenneth Perez (ex Ajax), Youri Mulder (ex Schalke 04), Jan Boskamp (ex Feyenoord), Arnold Bruggink (ex PSV), Ronald Koeman (ex Ajax, ex PSV), Aad de Mos (ex Ajax, ex PSV), Willem van Hanegem (ex Feyenoord)…. etc
Also ex players like Danny Murphy (ex Liverpool) called him “an unsung hero”, Gary Lineker hailed his vision and maybe the most impressive piece of praise: ex Man United legend Paul McGrath… The Irish defender was asked: with which Man U defender from the past or present would you want to have played alongside. His answer? Yes… And why? “Because it would be nice to play next to a guy who has good feet, has vision and the passing ability he has. He never panics.”
Wilson: Im also shocked to here Ake is not a passing CB. He has all the attributes of Blind including the ariel threat which he always brings in set pieces and which Blind doesnt.
Me: You are not right. Ake is a great player. He is good at everything and exceptional in the air. His passing is ok. Not great. Good enough for a centre back. Probably better than average. Blind’s passing is beyond that. Blind’s passing is a combination of vision and passing skills.
Wilson: Thats also a very silly argument which you gave,” Van Gaal picks the team which he thinks will win”. In other words you are implying if Ake had started,NT would have lost.
Ok, I may have not said it correctly. “Van Gaal picks the team he thinks has the most chances of winning.” Of course we can win with Ake. We also won with Malacia. There will be a day when Daley Blind retires and we will be fine without him. But Van Gaal will not hesitate to put a fit Blind in there, because Blind is the brain on the pitch, alongside Frenkie de Jong. He is by far the most football-intelligent player, alongside Frenkie.
This is where I feel like taking my gum out. Also look at Van Gaals selection of Timber at RB vs Norway. Its all contradictory and like I always say they keep hitting the fork in their own foot.
How is this contradictory? You lost me. Timber has played well at Right Back before. The reason why Van Gaal sticks to Timber is because Timber was part of the squad at the Euros. Bringing in Karsdorp could have worked but again, if you do the analysis between Timber and Karsdorp, you have the following aspects to consider: Timber’s positions where he can play (3: centre back, central midfielder, right back) versus Karsdorp (1: right back). Secondly, Timber was part of the Euros campaign and Karsdorp wasn’t. So Louis picked Timber. Timber is also used to playing with Berghuis and Klaassen. Also a factor. I am a big Rick Karsdorp fan, but LVG’s decisions made sense to me.
Wilson: I also dont understand, how you conclude from training you are not good enough to start. Then why are you there in the first place.I have long said this the backup players need to have a strong grip and be on the same par as the starting 11 so when there is major injuries there is no disruption. In contrast this has always been the case for NT, when ever there is being a major injury, the team is in disarray. Ake has already played vs big teams like Italy, Portugal, Belgium, France, how on earth you can tell from training he is not good enough to start vs a team like Montenegro is beyond me.
My dear Wilson, this is what makes a coach a coach. Louis has 26 players. But he can only play 11 players. So he cannot play them all. So how do you think he chooses his best eleven? Do you think he picks cards, blindfolded? Or do you think he reads tea-leaves? No! He does the following: 1) what is my preferred system, 2) what are the job descriptions per position, 3) which players do I have available who are top fit and have match rhythm, 4) which player is the best suited for the role and 5) how does this player “work” with the others around him.
This is exactly what a coach does. If you don’t understand this, I am now clear on why you sometimes have those odd comments about football. At training, you can see if a player is focused, whether he has form.
No one is saying Ake can’t play against big teams. He is in the squad isn’t he?
Wilson: I will also say providing arguments with factual contents is not negativity.
There are not a lot of factual comments. It’s all opinion. Most people (you as well) follow the ball and will judge a player on how he plays with the ball. That is never more than 3 minutes per game. Only Messi will probably have the ball more than that, and Frenkie probably too. But a player like Dumfries, Klaassen, Bergwijn will not have the ball for more than 3 minutes. The other 87 minutes are not relevant for most fans, but coaches take these very seriously. Positioning, offering himself up as an option, making runs for the team, covering the positions, etc. Kuyt copped so much criticism, as did Nigel de Jong, and then it was Strootman and now it’s De Roon or Klaassen. It makes me sick. Because these lads represent Oranje and deserve support. And if Van Dijk, Frenkie, Memphis and Van Gaal are happy with De Roon in the team, who the F are you to pour that negativity over them all? Have some respect and accept that you may not see it properly.
And it also applies to the criticism on Hiddink, Danny Blind and Frank de Boer. It’s what Adriaanse calls: Scoreboard analysis. If a coach wins, he’s great. If he loses he is a dik, he is a loser, he needs to go and more of that. In The Netherlands, there is respect for these guys. Hiddink did well with PSV, Real Madrid, South Korea and The Netherlands. One bad spell doesn’t make him a loser. Danny Blind is one of the most awarded player we have. Won everything as captain. And worked in all sorts of roles in football. Considered one of the best analysts and scouts. Yes, he was not able to qualify for the World Cup but he doesn’t deserve the treatment he gave. He tried. He did his best. He didn’t have an inch of luck.
Frank de Boer, same story. Great player. A Dutch Legend. Wins title with Ajax four times! And don’t tell me that it is easy, because it is not. Then he goes to Inter, where he is stabbed in the back. Three successive coaches were not able to turn Inter around. Conte was able to, won the title and guess what: he is also gone!! Crystal Palace: same story. Frank was hired to change things. Four games into the EPL, the owners feel the heat from the fans and quickly sacrifice Frank de Boer.
If Malen would have scored his chance vs the Czechs, Frank would probably still be NT manager today.
Wilson: Sometimes the timing is such there is continuation of comments from previous blog it intrudes contexts of the new post but that doesnt mean we dont appreciate what you write.
I write this blog because of my love for Dutch football. I write it for others who feel the same about Oranje. When people like yourself only pour their hatred and disappointment and anger into it, I cannot see how you appreciate me, the blog or Dutch football. We are supporters. Not cricicasters.
When you feel a player misplaced a pass, or missed a sitter, simply say: this guy played a bad game. But don’t say: “this player is bad, he can’t play, he’s in the team because of daddy/Ajax/whatever, he needs to be sacked”. That is negative. That is vinegar pissing. What you could say is: he missed three passes, I wonder why that is? Is he the best option? Those are comments and questions we can work with and which will result in a positive thread of comments. Negativity leads to conflicts.
So, lets stay critical and lets call a spade a spade but lets try to be civil and supportive. “Malacia is a headless chicken” should be “Malacia played alright, except for one bad pass”. I want to see some love for the players, coaches and the game. Because they all work their asses of and deserve support. Even the “bad” players.