The Dream of Andries Noppert

While the likes of Messi, Neymar, Van Dijk, Thiago, Benzema and Lewandowski will get the headlines this midweek, with the CL in full force, this time a story about a guy who will most likely never play a Champions League match in his career.

But he might play a game at the World Cup!

Andries Noppert. Sent away from FC Dordrecht in the second tier only two years ago. In two weeks, he might make his debut in Oranje.

Coach Kees van Wonderen took the gamble and signed Noppert as reserve goalie for Go Ahead Eagles. Today, Van Wonderen is head coach at Heerenveen and Noppert followed him there. Asked whether he could see the potential in the tall goalie, he said: “No. No one did. Not even Noppert himself. But it was as if he exploded!”

Van Wonderen: “He is a quaint goalie. I saw him at training, where he stopped unbelievable balls only to fumble tremendously in matches. It seemed like he accepted the fact he was not top.”

And yes, everywhere he played Noppert was told he was not good enough. He started at Heerenveen in the youth. They didn’t think he’d make it. He went to NAC in Breda, and was the reserve goalie there. He took a trip to Foggia, in the Serie B in Italy and he warmed the bench there too. Even in the bottom of the Dutch 2nd tier, he didn’t get a game. FC Dordrecht thanked him and sent him home. He was without a club for 6 months until Eagles in Deventer needed a reserve goalie. He spent 12 months on the bench, until he got his chance. The rest is history.

Most of his career, he looked like this… This is at Dordrecht

Ever since, there is a fun chant in the Go Ahead Eagles stadium: “Noppert in Oranje!” and it sounded like a joke. Not something you’ll hear in the Ajax or Feyenoord stadiums, as it is quite logical that the key players of these teams end up in the orange jersey.

These are the anti-heroes, or cult heroes. The players who could have ended up as postman instead, or truckdriver. Noppert is popular, because the average football fan might think: this could have been me!

The friendly giant in the Heerenveen goal, 27 years old now, is suddenly a fan favorite, with chants to his name and fans whereever he goes.

The football world seems addicted to stats, these days, but sometimes something happens that is not easy to explain. Suddenly, Leicester City wins the Premier League, or Iceland goes to the Euros or Greece wins it. And now, this lanky clumsy goalie has the chance to present himself at a World Cup!

Today, coach Van Wonderen sends his goalie into the match with the words: “Show them why Van Gaal loves you!”

Or he looked like this…

His invitation to Oranje seems a surprise, but based on stats, it’s actually logical. Take this stat:

xG on target tegen = Expected goals against

Goals Tegen = Actual Goals against

Verschil = Difference

The savings percentage of Noppert is way above the percentages of the other goalies. He stopped eleven attempts of Feyenoord in the second match this season and won a point for his club.

There is no reason whatsoever for Van Gaal not to select this goalie. We know Van Gaal also looks at the football capabilities of the keepers. Their kicking abilities, their coaching and their eye for tactics and organisation. Bijlow, Cillesen and Pasveer are all three quite comfortable on the ball, this is not Noppert’s strength. Only Twente goalie Unnerstall is worse in his kicking than the tall Heerenveen lad. Only 58% of his passes actually end up at the target.

Noppert will not become the next Manuel Neuer anytime soon. Van Gaal will have picked Noppert for that other reason: his amazing reach and reflexes on the line. Louis wants a penalty killer, to help the team in situations where penalty kicks need to bring the decision. This used to be Tim Krul’s role but Noppert is potentially surpassing the Norwich goalie. Every centimeter counts.

When asking that question, the press chief of Heerenveen comes up with an old video of Heerenveen A1 versus Ajax A1. A penalty series needs to bring the final decision and a lanky Heerenveen goalie can demonstrate his skills by stopping two spotkicks: Heerenveen A1 goes to the finals.

Does Van Wonderen see Noppert as that potential penalty killer? “He did stop one in the pre-season and he also was close to stopping Yilmaz penalty but that just taken with too much power for Andries.” Van Wonderen can understand Van Gaal’s thinking: “Yes, he has everything to be a penalty killer. The length, the reflexes, the mental calmness. But I think Van Gaal will want to test that in more details at the trainings camp.”

Van Wonderen stresses Nopperts mental powers. “He had to deal with so many setbacks and rejections. And he has been booed a lot and now people are cheering him. Either way, he will shrug his shoulders. I hope he’ll reach the final squad and that he has a chance to show himself. What a journey this lad has been through.”

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  1. Thanks Jan. Nice one but I feel Noppert has only come into the picture because, the GK department looks to be very shallow in terms who should be the starter. Not sure even if he will make the cut. Pasveer, Bijlow are playing at european level and Cillessen ( experienced) might make the cut.

    For Gks experience is everything and this where I feel he will lose out unless there is injuries off course.

    Alot may be revealed in the training sessions as well when everyone gets today.

  2. Jan,
    I was hopping an update and opinion on the NT. Most of our players are not event playing for their clubs but again they all have been selected. Why is Depay is looking for a big club where he has not been proven himself to anyone? Why can he settle for clubs such as Lead United, Christal Palace or some 2nd tier clubs in Spain where he can plays every week.

  3. On an unrelated note, I have never seen an uglier Oranje jersey than the one launched for the World Cup today. It is not even freaking Orange but a weird mix of yellow and amber. The blue away jersey is almost a replica of the 2014 version. I hope they wear the away version more as we have happy memories associated with it in the 2014 tournament.

    I will be in Qatar for the first two games (against Senegal and against Ecuador) to see the Dutch team in person for the very first time. Under no circumstances will I buy this shocking jersey however. Will proudly be wearing my 1998 and 2010 Orange replica jerseys for the games.

    1. England’s 28-man squad in full
      Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale.

      Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Marc Guehi, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Fikayo Tomori, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker.

      Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse.

      Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Jarrod Bowen, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Ivan Toney.

  4. Nathan Ake Manchester City
    Steven Berghuis Ajax
    Steven Bergwijn Ajax
    Daley Blind Ajax
    Jasper Cillessen NEC
    Memphis Depay FC Barcelona
    Virgil van Dijk Liverpool
    Denzel Dumfries Internazionale
    Mark Flekken SC Freiburg
    Cody Gakpo PSV
    Vincent Janssen Royal Antwerp FC
    Frenkie de Jong FC Barcelona
    Davy Klaassen Ajax
    Teun Koopmeiners Atalanta
    Matthijs de Ligt Bayern Munich
    Tyrell Malacia Manchester United
    Bruno Martins India AZ
    Andries Noppert sc Heerenveen
    Remko Pasveer Ajax
    Devyne Rensch Ajax
    Marten de Roon Atalanta
    Kenneth Taylor Ajax
    Jurrien Timber Ajax
    Stefan de Vrij Internazionale
    Wout Weghorst Besiktas JK

    Veerman, Frimpong ommission. I dont know what to say.

  5. Resnch selection is a disgrace and again it shows how the systems works when it comes to NT.

    These would the technical questions thats needs to be answered. How did the jury show Taylor better than Veerman and same with Resnch over karsdorp and Frimpong. It’s just hard to digest and again it shows how the systems works when it comes to selection.

    1. Taylor has more goals, more assists, more minutes played, more chances created, more interceptions, more tackles, more kilometres covered per game. He’s also played games at a higher level than Veerman.

      1. And before you say it’s about other stuff. I’ve literally watched every game both of those clubs have played this year, and it’s very obvious that Taylor is not only currently better, but also on a better trajectory.

  6. With the latest selection, guessed we can surely tell that Veerman, Struijk, Frimpong, Karsdorp, Brobbey are certain not to be called up for WC.
    Gravenberch could also run the risk of missing out. He ain’t starting at Bayern Munich.
    With the new expanded squad size of 27 for WC, it isn’t difficult to predict for the players to be selected given the selection list is now very much narrowed down.

  7. Frimpong was in the Bundesliga team of the season, if it is not enough for a call then what is? Sheraldo Becker is top Bundesliga scorer, not enough for a call.

    Robin Gosens was not good enough for Dutch team that he opted for Germany. Strujk is next in line. Honestly, why would you want to play for Dutch team if you are dropped in favour of BMI?

    I think Taylor deserve the call but this is double standard. When it comes to Ajax, let call them immediately because we have no one else. When it comes to other players, oh we have so little time, cannot integrate new players into the system.

    1. And then some of the defense line will be those players know each other well and play the same system so it will take less time to integrate. Sure, when you let those bs get into the selection then will it be a surprise that the group know each other very well?

  8. @ Derekvdberg

    “Taylor has more goals, more assists, more minutes played, more chances created, more interceptions, more tackles, more kilometres covered per game. He’s also played games at a higher level than Veerman”

    By your argument

    Veerman (2021-22)- 44 played 10 goals, 14 assists 3300 mins (close promity)

    (2022-23)- 12 played 4 goals 2 assists 950 mins

    Talyor- (2021-2022) 16 played ( eredivisie only) – 2 goals 5 assists (1200 mins inclusive of mins in jong ajax)

    (2022- 2023)- 9 played 3 goals 1 assist 705 mins

    And by playing two CL games, you become high level player.

    This is bogus at its best.

    Both are different esque players and veerman is technically ahead of him. Taylor is more klaassen esque while Veerman brings more fluidity to his game. To lesser extent ( pirlo esque).

    Also this is nothing new and is a tradition with regards to promotion of Ajax players in NT and increasing their market value. Later on if they flop elsewhere, it doesn’t matter, business as usually and next one is in line gets the nod.

  9. @Wilson

    I am not an expert, but I think Van Gaal may have strong reasons behind his selection:

    1. Simeone told few days ago that the coach’s have their team ready for this World Cup. They may can change 1 or 2 players. But that’s it. There is no time to train a new team and it’s wise to select players with experience.

    Klassenn have a lot of games with Orange. Also plays with Ajax and have played in CL, Germany and reached a UEFA League final an CL semifinal with Ajax. That’s why it makes sense that he is selected instead Veerman.

    Why Taylor?

    2. Automatism. I think it makes sense to select players that are used to play together. This is a plus in the selection process. These plates can adopt easily to the team. It’s easy for Rensch or Taylor to adapt to Orange if they are player with players they used to play every week, like Blind, Timber, Bergwijn, Berghuis, etc. plates like Frimpong or Veerman will need more time to adapt. And time is what we don’t have.

    I am huge fan or Veerman, but honestly, I can understand this reasons. I really was hoping to see Veerman playing alongside De Jong, but I understand that Van Gaal doesn’t have time to waste experimenting with new players. Maybe he learned this lesson from Blind experience as coach.

    I really don’t think the team will change for the World Cup. Unless something unexpected happened: Wijnaldum recovers, Danjuma or Brobbey Star scoring a lot, or Graverbench become a started, this will be the team.

    I don’t think we will see Van de a Beek, Graverbench, Malen, De Jong, Lang, Danjuma, Kardorsp, and sadly Veerman in this upcoming World Cup. The main reason, there is no time to build a new team, you have to pick up players with automatism and experience in the team.

    My main question is: Why Biljow wasn’t selected?

  10. This team is kind of weird !!! Why do I say that? You look at the ten players in defence, all super stars playing in top teams : Manchester City- Liverpool- United – Ajax- inter Bayern Munich ….

    But then you look at the midfield and attack , man oh man; depressing to say the least 🙁

    Attack: the super star in it is a bench at Barcelona who never get any playing minute (Memphis) , weghorst-besiktas? Jansen in Belgium? Gakpo PSV? Even Bergwijn who looked nothing against Liverpool!

    Now midfield : frenkie (our super star and the greatest we have) but then who de roon? Klassen? I have hope for Taylor I just hope he mans up a little and not hide in midfield like he did against Liverpool, he is excused because of his age hopefully by World Cup his confidence will the get the boost needed that he can play with frenkie in midfield!!!!

  11. Of the latest selection, I don’t think Martins Indi, Noppert and possibly Janssen will make the cut finally. Still think Danjuma, Lang, Bijlow, Gravenberch, along with the latest selection to make the cut for final 26.
    On players not playing as much, it may well be an advantage; the players like Frenkie De Jong and Depay will be fresh and raring to go. Actually De Jong had played well whenever he played. I am positive about Depay also.

  12. Another topic, so you think we should play 433? If Ten Hag can get Man U playing in this formation given the players, surely NT can do likewise. Man U is now playing compact and conceding little.

  13. @ eduardorw

    You can throw in that argument given how van gaal used the feyenoord contingent in 2014 but here is the problem and simply they won’t get to play together. So that argument is null and void. Blind is the only one likely to start which Van gaal has already hinted. For timber, Taylor, Resnch, they are likely to be bench players with berghuis/ Klaassen to be rotated. All in all they will have to adpot to the players around them and not what they face playing together week in week out. It actually gonna be more difficult given playing out of their comfort zone.

    If all were starting in NT, then Yeah I can agree on what you are saying but that will never be the case.

  14. BMI cannot defend.. He is a gurentee redcard… His selection is the most disgusting in this sqaud… Also it is disgustinh to see struijk and karsdorp omitted…. However i stand with the selection of Taylor and Rensch… Both are stunningly good… Veerman has to increase his workrate to stand with taylor… Rensch is goin to be sceret weapon for us in wc, mark my words…
    But where is wingers??? Depay, Gakpo, Bergwin, beghuis that lacks the depth…. We need Noah lang and Malen back from injury…i am skeptical on virgil… He ia not the same as he used to be…

  15. Last time for wcq 2018..bruno martins indi A#%%%s whoopped dad blind in wcq games… He is red card prone liability… Van gaal had to sub him vs arjentina in wc 2014 semifinal… He is very lucky guy to make it to squad…

    1. Yes BMI has lots of looser experience, failed in epl, experience in reckless stupid foul.. He is experienced looser…
      The De roon.. He is experienced in side pass, back pass boring game… Make the game less creative…

  16. We dropped the best RB in Bundesliga, man of the match in the CL against Atletico Madrid because he does not play at Ajax. Of course, he does not, that’s why he is Bundesliga RB of the season. Why are we still stuck in the 1995? I don’t know. Is Ajax CL winner or what? The comparison of Ajax group to Barca group or Bayern group is ridiculous. It is natural to pick several players from the CL winning team. It is not when your best achievement is CL 16.

  17. Malen played 60 minutes for dortmund today and all what I read was a lot of praise for him , they say he is finally exploding in Germany, would be nice if he stays fit and become the star in attack for oranje in November, he is very needed because that attacking line for orange is very poor currently ….

  18. Hope the upcoming nations league matches brings out the shortcomings and weaknesses of the Dutch national team and there will be necessary changes to the world cup squad in rhe light of that experience.

  19. With these selected players LVG is showing that his coaching cycle has expired. So long old man. We desperately need a coach after WC for a brand new start. BMI, Janssen, Weghorst, Cilleseen and a few others are dead horses. DeLigt doesn’t play a minute for Bayern and shouldn’t be considered. The obsession with selecting so many Ajax players make LVG look really weak. Perhaps he can wake up and consider a few active and impressing players before it is too late.

  20. Yup, totally agree. Today Sheraldo Becker scored another goal and gave another assist to stay top of the Bundesliga. And the quality of his goal is so good. What does that mean for Dutch team? Nothing. Because he does not know anyone at national team.

    If we use Dutch NT as the benchmark, we would think Belgian and Dutch league are higher rank than Bundesliga.

  21. I find it fun that LVG told many Dutch players to not move during WC year because they might not have enough game time. And here we have some players that survive the competition at foreign league and they do not get call up. What should they do? Well, they could go to Ajax. Then they will know how to play the Ajax way and that will make sure they get to the level of group stage or 16 playoff.

  22. Watched Ajax vs Az.. I wanted BMI to get exposed.. Initially ajax looked like they are going to destroy BMI.. They scored first goal also… But everything changed when az acored their first goal… Az put a real fighting spirit… Still ajax would have comfortable… Kudos to Tijjani Reinders.. Nd their Goal keepr.. BMI was subbed after 45 minute.. Ax scored winner after that.. I was rooting for feynoord vs psv and they also lost…

  23. PSV vs Feyenoord ratings

    Walter Benítez – 5.5 : The Argentinian had to fish twice before half-time in the fascinating topper, but those goals were difficult to stop. However, he could have prevented the 2-2 if he had defended a little better.

    Jordan Teze – 6 : Teze tried to show up a few times, but did little. Right back doesn’t feel quite like the position for him yet.

    Jarred Branthwaite – 7.5 : He is a defender by trade, but with a very subtle ball he equalized for PSV. A fine performance by Branthwaite, which presents itself as a serious option.

    Armando Obispo – 6 : He saw his intervention end up at Danilo’s feet, so that Feyenoord returned to the game shortly before half-time. A restless and clumsy action by Obispo, who made up for it in the final minutes with his goal.

    Philipp Max – 5 : He was a bit troubled by Obispo, but then let the ball get away very easily in the run-up to the quick opening goal.

    Ibrahim Sangaré – 8 : He started sloppy and lost the ball quickly a few times, but he played an important role in the run-up to the 2-1 and was often good again afterwards. Sangaré showed his pluses more often than his minuses this afternoon.

    Guus Til – 6,5 : A special game for Til, who played for Feyenoord last year. The shadow striker looked restless and struggled with his form, but immediately after rest he was like a jack-of-all-trades.

    Joey Veerman – 7.5 : He let himself be eaten for a while, but when PSV came into the game better, Veerman also started to sprinkle with nice balls. De Volendammer is missing from Orange , but showed that an election would not have been out of place.

    Ismael Saibari – 7 : Saibari, among others, put Teze away a few times. The physically strong right winger held his own in his first Eredivisie topper. In fact, he was involved in many a PSV danger.

    Xavi Simons – 7 : Despite his short height, Simons is very fierce and he didn’t shy away from the duels with the Feyenoord defenders. His talent came to the surface again, although this time he did not play a decisive role.

    Cody Gakpo – 8.5 : The Orange international and star player of PSV was given some space and he knows what to do with it: after 25 minutes he shot PSV ahead. Gakpo also gave three assists, making him once again the big man for the Eindhoven team.


    Justin Bijlow – 5 : After fifteen minutes Bijlow misjudged a situation and almost led in the equalizer, which fell not much later. At the 2-1 he had no chance, but at the 3-2 the goalkeeper who had passed for Orange again mistimed. He seems to be in a slump.

    Marcus Pedersen – 5 : The Norwegian right-back has been doing well in recent weeks, but in Eindhoven he had a hard time. Pedersen failed to take out Gakpo’s cross, among other things, which made PSV 3-2.

    Gernot Trauner – 6,5 : Trauner is a chunk of intransigence in the back, although Sangaré played him through the legs once. The Austrian again had the necessary interceptions, despite the four goals against.

    David Hancko – 7.5 : It sounds crazy when you get four goals to the ears, but defender Hancko was again one of the best players on the Feyenoord side. He also took a ball away from the line.

    Marcos López – 6 : López always tries to do his bit offensively, but defensively he looked vulnerable in his first serious test.

    Quinten Timber – 6 : Initially Timber was often the free man and started well, but it got more and more difficult. Feyenoord’s midfield was outflanked a few times.

    Javairo Dilrosun – 5.5 : Dilrosun allowed himself to be taken from the ball in the run-up to the 2-1. Now that there was a little less time and space, the occasion number ten had it a lot harder. Substitute Sebastian Szymanski did better in that spot.

    Orkun Kökcü – 7 : What a shot from Kökcü, who actually out of the blue gave Feyenoord hope of a good result. Not everything worked out for the captain, but he worked hard again and the 3-3 made up for a lot.

    Alireza Jahanbakhsh – 5 : Jahanbakhsh was surprisingly the best player at Feyenoord against Sturm Graz, but the Iranian winger did not appear in the piece on Sunday. The Rotterdammers lacked a threat from the wings.

    Danilo – 6 : Feyenoord had hardly anything to say in a phase before half-time, but after unrest in the PSV defence, Danilo was back in the right place. The Brazilian did not appear much in the piece, also because PSV had been dominant for a long time.

    Oussama Idrissi – 6 : Just like Thursday, Idrissi took his goal, but the left winger was unable to continue the right line. He created little danger against PSV.

  24. Rensch was again piss poor vs AZ. Again big question mark around his selection.

    Mean while sad news for Karsdorp. He is set too miss up to one month on sidelines with muscle injury. I really feel for him and how he been treated by this two morons.

    Daddy Blind is still trying prove himself on the back of van gaal. Wont change anything. Destined for failure again.

  25. How do you see Veerman playing in orange?

    As a pívot with Frenkie ? In this case, what offers Veerman that doesn’t offer Koipermaners nor De room? These both players are strong defending and Kooipermaners also has good build up skills.

    As a mix midfield? Box to box? Is he better than Taylor or Graverbench?

    As offensive midfield? Is he better than Berghuis?

    I really like Veerman. I admire his amazing passing skills. He reminds me Sneijder. But I am not so sure if he lacks dribble skills or defensive skills or lungs to play as 5, 8 or 10. I think he is extremely strong in build up and passing skills but need to work in other aspects of the game to be more complete players.

    Off course, I can be wrong. For me is difficult to read this players. Sometimes he get lost 20 minutes in a game and then appears with an amazing pass.

    I want ti hear your opinion to try to understand this player.

    Thanks in advance

  26. @ Eduardorw

    I have always maintained Three minds is better than one but apparently van gaal doesn’t sees it that way. It is always one way ( his) and no plan B. He wants the midfield to be built around frenkie in the hole. ( engine room) and probably this is what you will see at WC. If frenkie gets injured, the chapter for NT will close there and then simply because he there is no proven midfield combo without frenkie and it all comes back until as recently as the game vs Wales where he was forced to give other players the opportunity like schouten in that game and Koopmeiners as well.

    Now you would recall how when berghuis moved centrally ( middle) at Ajax, everybody started calling for him to start there as well in NT and indeed he was given that benefit of doubt but it yielded nothing. Vs average teams he shines and in tighter games he is average/ pedestrian. Same with klaassen who occasionally pops up at the right time and right place to tap in goals. And basically this was what Van gaal was contemplating to build midfield around until it was overshadowed with doubts when their performance from consistency point of view started fluctuating like I said. Vs average and tighter oponents. And thennnnn they decide to change the setting and give Koompmeiners the nod which still is in trial stage.

    Then Look how things have taken a new turn. Taylor comes on board at Ajax and how critics are jumping again , he should get the nod ( with Kudus) relegating both klaassen and berghuis to bench/ smaller roles.

    Now what I am trying to emphasize here is chain of events from partial selection which hasn’t yield anything and in the process overlooking others who could have given the team facelift based on their superior capabilities.

    Now back to your questions

    “How do you see veerman playing in NT”

    Just like in PSV. With frenkie in Sangare role on the right. In addition to this Gravenberch in an adavance role on the left ( strong hold) something he showed in last days when at Ajax. In other words, slightly point backwards with frenkie as a rover on the right, Veerman slightly deeper covering laterally for Gravenberch.

    Gravenberch —————


    In attack



    In defense everybody drop back. ( mandatory and critical)

    But look this is not something that can just happen and yield sucess over night. It’s needs time

    For De Roon. he doesnt seem to be on the same level as compared to during koeman era when they reached nation league final and this has been evident when he has played under Van gaal . Now you can have him on the bench and expect him to play a critical role in knock out stages when its gonna get tough. Well it is a gamble if you wanna take it.he is not in his prime either

    It’s all about the right balance and this cannot to achieved unless they play together. From creativity point of view Veerman brings more flare than any one else and this is why he should have been tested with frenkie long time ago. Remember creativity is a major component currently lacking in NT. This is where he surpasses Koompmeiners. Veerman in an instance can open the game up from any where and he has been doing good in the double pivot role for PSV. For Koopmeiners its subject to. ( preferable foot, positioning etc). I like him as well.

    But once again look here, its still trial stage with respect to other midfielders with frenkie being main orchestrater whether you play Taylor, Veerman, Gravenberch, klaassen, Berghuis or anyone. You need time, rotation and then see which combo prompts the right balance. This is what bloody is not a feature of van gaal. Only when there is crisis or when players start losing their touch is which prompts changes and which often spells disaster for the team.

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