It’s almost that time again. March 2014. Back in 2013 we were fantasising how Van Gaal would work towards a fixed squad for the World Cup from the France game onwards…. It looked so far away.
But it’s upon us. Only 3 more nights… And it does feel we are getting close….
Lots has happened over the last months. Except for a lot of blog posts by yours truly, hahaha. Well, that will hopefully change. Still flat out like a lizard, as we say in Oz, but will endeavour to post some more inbetween the different obligations.
Lets start with the State of the Orange Union.
Louis copped some criticism lately, as he was becoming overly flippant and negative about the team manager’s role. In one interview he even said he hated the job. This is probably a badly articulated job advertising slogan as he means to say that he adores working with a (club) squad on a daily basis and he is probably hoping to woo one or two club boards here and there ( as long as it is in England). But the choice of words didn’t go down well with the fans and media in Holland. As I said before (a couple of times): it feels like everything LVG does is for LVG. He is coaching the Dutch team not because he feels it’s an honour but because it “fills a gap in his resume”. Pathetic. You know what you sign up for and if you don’t like the job, than piss off, right? Wouldn’t we all give an arm or a leg (of Louis of course) for this role?
Anyway, now the ball starts to roll again, LVG will focus on positive things I hope.
He recently created another little media flare up when Feyenoord made the fans believe they were courting Louis as replacement for Ronald Koeman. But Van Gaal crushed that story by saying he immediately told Feyenoord he wasn’t interested. “They know I won’t go to Rotterdam so why they keep on telling the media they want to talk to me is a riddle to me.”. Which prompted the Rotterdam club to announce they will now go for Co Adriaanse.
Koeman’s exit was to be expected. He has not been capable of turning this talented team – together for more than two seasons – into a winning machine. Agreed, they do play good football at times, they play typically Dutch total football with 3 forwards, and attacking full backs like Oranje but they have trouble killing games off. If it happens every now and again, fine. But Feyenoord has lost 8 games in the Eredivisie in which they scored first. and they appear to concede a lot of late goals… Concentration? Fitness? Tactical discipline? Who knows. But LVG won’t be too happy with his main defence provider being so sloppy.
Some people believe that this squad led by Van Gaal would have been the leader of the table and with Co Feyenoord will have a good second best option.
Van Gaal set his sights on the EPL. He has won titles in three leagues/countries ( Holland, Germany, Spain) and is hoping to add England to the list. Spurs seems to be the most likely to sign the man, but rumours claim that Davis Moyes may be out of a job soon and then LVG might be considered by Man United… Interesting indeed…. Latest rumours claim that Frank de Boer is named as Van Gaal’s righthand man, should Moyes be fired and Louis being courted.
A quick check up on our top guns.
It does seem we could do with some good fortune for ManU, as Van Persie clearly isn’t happy there. He complained about his team mates not having the tactical smarts which prompted Chicharito to sneer at him via Twitter. Van Persie has had some fitness issues as well which could be a blessing in disguise for Oranje, of course.
It seems Van der Vaart is also on an uphill battle. His club is not fairing well and he is struggling with his fitness (as per usual). Arjen Robben seems to be very happy under Pep and he is firing on all cylinders. Lets hope he stays fit. Sneijder is clearly making progress. His fitness is at top level, one would say, witnessing his performance against Chelsea. He looks fit, works hard for the team and has impact. If he keeps on going like this, he will make it to Brazil.
Van Gaal has announced that he likes Sneijder’s performance on the left flank in Istanbul but also added that the little general will never play in that role in Oranje. “Gala plays 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. We don’t. Sneijder will never play on the left flank in my team.”
Van Gaal suggested that Mancini plays Sneijder on the left for a reason. “The way creative midfield players have to play nowadays has changed. Look at Wilshere, Kroos, Iniesta, Silva and Oscar. Players who can make a difference with the ball and who can work for the team without. It’s key to me how Sneijder performs, not in the first 15 minutes of the game, but also after an hour of play. When fatigue hits, when tactical discipline gets less and the space on the pitch gets bigger….”
Strootman had a blast this season and will definitely make the plane, provided he remains fit of course.
Jeremain Lens is a question mark for me. Haven’t seen much of him and don’t hear much of him. With Boetius, Depay and other youngsters making an impact, who knows what LVG will decide. I’m also not sure on Vlaar. I like the guy, he is strong and solid. But not the greatest football player, slow and with Villa basically playing relegation football….
Having said that: our other center backs are not impressing either. Bruma, Rekik, Veltman, De Vrij, BMI…. Can’t say I’m overly confident. I do believe Virgil van Dijk deserves a call up but somehow Van Gaal doesn’t agree.
I like the development of Daley Blind. I have mentioned his name here years ago already (probably on the other blog….) as one of Holland’s biggest talents and it is really coming to the fore. He can play left back, center back (although he is too small, really) and defensive mid. I do like the way Vernon Anita is developing too mind you.
Van Gaal uses Blind as left back and feels that Holland needs some better options there. Jetro Willems and Patrick van Aanholt have not yet impressed Van Gaal. Van Gaal also believes Blind’s ideal role is in central midfield – like De Boer does – but due to his left back issue, he will not use Blind there. LVG has Nigel de Jong and Clasie for the central midfield role as well.
I see Nigel de Jong play for Milan regularly and to me he is still the best central midfielder we have. I like Clasie, I think he is the future but with our vulnerable defence I do believe we need Nigel the Destroyer on that spot.
Mr Van Gaal has named the final 23 and there are not a lot of surprises for me. Louis did call up some new players. JP Boetius (19 years old) is doing really well as a typical left winger and scores goals and makes assists for Feyenoord. Clearly a promising talent for Oranje and rightfully picked. Karim Rekik is following up from his roles in youth rep teams in which he always was skipper. The Man City defender (19 years old) has the goods and gets a chance to show them to LVG. Davy Klaassen is a shoe in for a role in Oranje, but maybe not for the World Cup 2014. The Bergkamp like midfielder would be on LVG’s radar as he knows him well due to their shared Ajax background (and Danny Blind’s). Klaassen (20 years old) can score, can play the Strootman role, has work ethics and like Bergkamp has a velvet touch. The last newbie is Quincy Promes (21 years old) of Twente. Smart penetrating midfielder, with a nose for goals (like Klaassen) and important for Twente’s surge to the top.
Rekik has been selected earlier on in the pre-selection but had to bail due to injury.
Remarkably enough, Van Gaal didn’t pick Nigel De Jong. His comments were ambivalent: “I know what Nigel can and cannot do. I want to see Clasie and Schaars this time.” Stefan de Vrij is also left out. “I need to present a list of 30 players by end of May. I want to have players now that have made a name for themselves recently, to get a clear picture.” De Vrij’s partner in crime Martins Indi has been called up.
Jeremain Lens is not part of the squad because he is suspended.
“I’ll say it again Danny! If you want the top job, you HAVE to start wearing your hair like me! That is what the young guns respect. Modern hair, spikey and upright!”
Bruma didn’t make the cut either (injured) and Fer, Siem de Jong, Propper, Stekelenburg and Vermeer were left out too. The absence of Tim Krul surprises me. Surely an experienced goalie from the EPL is more valuable than a talent from a struggling PSV?? LVG actually said that Ken Vermeer fits the job description best. “He is very athletic, fast, courageous and a good football player. He fits our style best.” But he won’t be selected because he doesn’t play at the moment. “But I haven’t forgotten him….”
Lastly, Paul Verhaegh had to pull out due to a nasty injury and it remains to be seen who will replace him. With Daryl Janmaat and Gregory van der Wiel, it seems we have enough right backs….
I will never agree with Van Gaal fully, I suppose. I don’t see it in Zoet (yet) but I am a big Krul fan. I doubt Vlaar but otherwise we seem to have the best players in defence that we can get.
In midfield, I can understand his doubts re: Sneijder (and Van der Vaart) but I don’t understand why Schaars is ahead of Nigel de Jong in the hierarchy. Nor can I understand the presence of Dirk Kuyt… I have always been a big fan of Kuyt, for his lion heart and his mentality. But he is the number 3 striker behind Robin van Klaas Jan. And thus shouldn’t be in squad. As a winger he simply is not good enough. Not when we (will) have Lens, Wijnaldum, Boetius, Depay, Robben, Promes, Narsingh… My 2 cents at least.
Beyond the World Cup, the Euro 2016 draw is out. I won’t go into it now. And I might not ever. Even the best number threes qualify so what is there to say…. Guus Hiddink and his shortly to be announced staff (incl Ruud van Nistelrooy) will not have a hard time to qualify.
Danny Blind will step into the “Joachim Low” role at Oranje. Meaning that he will assist Hiddink, who will be the shield for two years, until 2016 and after that Blind will assume the end responsibility towards the World Cup 2018. Most likely a good decision of the KNVB and there will be milestones in the contract to allow for adaptations should the results require this….