Ok, here’s the highlights of the CL finals, Liverpool – Real Madrid:
– Ramos illegally wrestles Salah to the ground and dislocates his shoulder, Salah needs to come of
– Karius fucks up: 0-1.
– The first and only proper corner kick by Liverpool: 1-1
– Bale’s epic bycicle kick: 1-2
– Karius fucks up again: 1-3
End of the game.
So, back to Oranje.
Ronald Koeman is back being National Team Manager of Oranje after a little stint as Feyenoord’s Legends Coach for Dirk Kuyt’s Testimonial.
Three teams playing in De Kuip… Friends of Dirk (Ruud Gullit coaching the likes of Raul Garcia, Steve Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Emre), Feyenoord Legends (coached by Koeman, with Patrick Pauwe, Robin van Persie, Pierre van Hooijdonk) and the NT Legends (coached by Van Gaal, with Nigel de Jong, Rafa van der Vaart, Wes Sneijder, Wilfried Bouma and Van der Sar and more).
A nice little party in De Kuip. But that’s all entertainment.
The real deal is happening in the coming weeks, two Oranje friendlies, against Slovakia (31 May) and Italy (4 June).
Koeman has a fully squad now in camp, bar Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum, who will come in later due to the CL finals. So with Ruud Vormer, a debutant at 30, with Terrence Kongolo and Eljero Elia. The latter played his last international game in 2012. Bergwijn and Luuk de Jong are injured while Kluivert and Til went on the Jong Oranje trip to the US.
Ronald Koeman stated at one of the pressers that he initially needed 4 matches to determine what, where and how with Oranje, but he saw after two games what we all knew… Koeman will stick to the “three-at-the-back” concept. “The defensive shape can and will be different per opponent, of course, but basically, we want to be able to play compact and use the wing backs on the flanks.” Koeman deliberately selected some different lads this time, to get a full picture. “Once we start with the Nations Cup, I need to be free of question marks. I need to know what is what.”
Asked about Van Persie – who recently said he will never say NO to an Oranje call-up – Ronald Koeman said this. “It’s going to be hard. In principle, we don’t follow him. Due to physical reasons, he hasn’t played a lot but, when he plays he is important for Feyenoord. His class is unmistakably there. But, I will focus on others. But should he become really fit after 6 weeks of pre-season prep, well…who knows. Never say never.”
Kluivert’s current stance re: Ajax has nothing to do with Koeman not selecting him this time. “Of course not. That is not my business. I wanted to give Bergwijn a shot, but sadly he got injured. And now with Elia, we have another player who can play on that wing. I am intrigued with what Justin’s next step will be and whether it’s a smart one. I think young players should focus on playing time. I do discuss this with the lads, also with Weghorst and Mathijs de Ligt.”
Bas Dost got a mention as well. The lanky Sporting Lisbon striker is unhappy with his role in Oranje and decided to give the jersey a miss. “I do regret that he’s no longer with us, I did see a role for him. But he made his decision. He’s a grown up. I won’t go and call him and ask him to stay, or whatever. I respect his choice.”
Davy Propper is one of the players who got his name flashing on the radar. His move from PSV to Brighton made some eyebrows frown, but he proved to the doubters that he made the right choice. The somewhat complacent elegant attacking midfielder turned into a hard working, solid defensive mid, with as high point his game vs Portugal last month. Where Davy Klaassen made a big money move to Everton but never got to play, Propper only missed three games in the Premier League, and that was due to suspension. Brighton played with grit and fighting spirit to remain in the league and Propper demonstrated that intelligence and a smooth touch are really helpful for a defensive mid. The stats don’t lie. His passing accuracy and his interventions are up there with the best of them. “In my role at Brighton, I need to do what Koeman wants from me as well, be open constantly, and swiftly move the play from left to right, or from back to front… I do this well, but sadly haven’t scored a single goal all season. And scoring is always special.”
Another player highly popular at his club is Jasper Cillesen. The former NEC talent wasn’t used that often in Camp Nou (only in the Copa del Rey where he impressed) but has been told that the club won’t let him leave. “I am not happy with the number of games I played and do hope something will change, but the club was adamant. They will not want to sell me. I did sign for 5 seasons and life is very good in Barcelona, so I’ll see what comes my way.”
Here is my ideal line up, based on today’s squad.
Let me know yours….
De Vrij – Blind – Van Dijk
Janmaat Propper Van de Beek Van Aanholt
Promes Wijnaldum Memphis