And we’re back: Dutch football and Oranje on the radar!

What a depressing summer we had… In hindsight (always the best sight), our top players disappointed (Sneijder, Robben injured, Van Persie), our top talents didn’t shine (Memphis, Berghuis), Van Gaal got the boot and ManU and our semi Dutch EPL team Newcastle ( Janmaat, De Jong, Wijnaldum, Krul, Anita) gort relegated while Oranje was disgracefully absent at the Euros.

In the meantime, Dutch website Kaassoldaat was taken off the air (they showed Eredivisie highlights, the immensely popular satirical football show Voetbal Inside and other fun sports docos) and in Australia Foxtel lost the EPL rights to mobile bully Optus.

I can’t stomach all that transfer bullshit too well and definitely don’t want to write about all that rumour stuff.

Vilhena fey

Now, the dust is slowly settling and I’m starting to become a little bit more positive about it all again. Strootman is back!  Tonny Vilhena stays with Feyenoord! Quite a coupe by the Rotterdam club and although he’s technically not a new signing it is the biggest transfer of the summer for me, for the Dutch. The way the youngster is developing, he might well be one of our beacons into the future. Second big signing is the Berghuis return to the Eredivisie, a title he must share with Vincent Janssen going to Spurs. How happy was I to be in Melbourne while the Spurs were there for their pre-season games and I happen to bump into them on George Street, when they were just leaving their hotel.

janssen spurs

Blind and Memphis (for now) staying at Man United is also a good thing, while De Roon to the EPL and De Boer to Serie A are also interesting moves. I do know that the transfer window is still wide open and Propper, Bazoer or even Depay could still chance clubs but as it is, I’m quite happy. Wijnaldum at Liverpool might work out well for the midfielder, as much as Janssen will make big steps training day in day out with the likes of Eriksen and Dembele.

First signs from White Heart Lane about the former Feyenoord striker are very positive, with Dele Alli in particular developing a good partnership with him.

Ajax under Peter Bosz has promise. Every club he coached played offensive football and the likes of Klaassen and Sinkgraven will find it fun to play under him. Today, the news broke that Traore will return to Holland, from Chelsea on loan, to be reunited with Bosz, after having had a great season at Vitesse two seasons back.

steven fey

PSV hasn’t weakened either, with targets like Willems and Propper still in Eindoven – for now – but Marco van Ginkel is not returning, as it seems. The knee needs work and Chelsea has decided to allow the midfielder to go with it.

Feyenoord has done really well too, with only question mark Nelom leaving while Vilhena remained on board, Swedish striker Jorgensen joined and Steven Berghuis came from Watford on loan. But most importantly, Eljero Elia has had a decent warm up. Last season he came unfit and injured, late in the game and never seemed 100% in last season’s campaign. In the opening game of the Eredivisie last weekend, Elia showed what he’s capable of when fighting fit: one assist, three goals and a horrific sitter missed which would have been the cherry on the hattrick. He’s the one to watch for me!

frank inter

With Smalling injured, Blind has made a lot of minutes and is doing well. Wijnaldum played his games for Liverpool and now we need to wait and see how the Big Three will start. Rafa van der Vaart signed for Danish upstarts Middjeland (no idea how to spell that) as a result of his new relationship with a Danish handball player (female) and he does seem fit and hungry. I’m not writing anyone off. Even Nigel de Jong declared from LA that he’ll be ready should Danny Blind need him.

Wijnaldum pool

I want to use a piece from the AD newspaper now as a season starter on the blog. Henk ten Cate, former coach of Sparta, Go Ahead Eagles, Barcelona and Ajax – currently at Al Jazira – who shines his light on football development in Holland. The tough talking Amsterdam born – buddy buddy with Frank Rijkaard and co responsible for allowing a tiny lad from Argentina to make his debut in the Camp Nou.

Ten Cate is in Holland to work with his team in pleasant conditions, away from the desert, and has a thing or two to say: “I was a little shocked to be honest, returning to Holland. There is simply not enough intention to play the ball forward….”

Use the term “Sandpit” and Ten Cate sighs loudly. This term is used a lot to depict clubs from the Middle East. “We need to stop using that term,” says the 61 year old. “People look down on the Middle Eastern clubs, but the way it’s going, I think clubs in this region have started to become as technically adept as Dutch clubs.”


His club beat Ten Cate’s old flame Go Ahead Eagles 1-3 last weekend. “I saw quite a number of games from the Eredivisie in the last months and I’m shocked with what I saw. The base technique, the speed of execution, the positioning play…these are all aspects that are going downhill fast!”

Ten Cate’s football soul was in a split, last Friday. He was happy with the victorie over the Eaglesm but on the inside he shed a tear or two. He’s still a shareholder of Go Ahead and very passionately involved. Two years ago, he wrote the football academy plan for the Eagles, driven by his football philosophy and that of Go Ahead: neat football, build up from the back, with a lot of technical skill. “I didn’t think we’d have such an easy game. Go Ahead has the same potential as PEC Zwollen and Heracles (both sub top in the Eredivisie) but if I have to base my judgments on the game we played, I’m not a happy man. And it’s overall in Holland. Most teams simply don’t have the intention to play the ball forward. This needs to the core instinct of a club and a player. Move the ball to the danger area. Not blind, but with a plan.”

Ten Cate is not blind for the difference in budget between the two clubs. Go Ahead works with a 3 mio euros budget, while Ten Cate gets to spend 25 mio euros. But he says “No matter what the money can buy, it’s still about the intent, the approach of the game.”


When Hans van Breukelen was appointed as the new technical director of the KNVB, he came to the conclusion that Dutch players have short comings in the mental and physical aspect of the game. Ten Cate: “Listen, it’s a good thing that this role was created and it’s great that an ex player with his experience was selected”. But, Ten Cate continues: “I don’t think it’s the mental and physical aspect at all. It is the technical side of things. Football is being played in tighter spaces and most players are physically much better already. The perfect pitches we have today also screams for better technique. You need to control the ball. If you can control the ball better in a small space than the other guy, you are likely to keep possession. It’s about skills and handling speed. Keep the ball close. Sure, Messi has a great mentality, like Iniesta and Zlatan and Eriksen but their biggest asset is their ball control. And that is trainable. Repeat repeat repeat. The youth academies in Holland are much to generic in their approach.” Still, Ten Cate thinks we are on the right track. “I don’t see it on a weekly basis but with the limited resources, people like Harry Decheiver and Bart Voortman are doing a tremendous job. But, the clubs need to invest more into the youth academies.”

“I also think it is silly to say that youth teams and youth players need to win. Why? What does it matter. The only thing you’ll see is that coaches will base their tactical plan on not losing. You want the focus to be on the players and how they play. Give him enough technical skills so he can move up in the academy and get time playing in the first team. There, he’ll learn what it takes. Not in the Under16s. Those teams exist purely to allow a player to become the best player he can be. You don’t want a 15 year old player repeatedly kicking the ball in the stands, because “we needed to keep the 1-0″. Stupid. Develop their confidence and skills so they try to outplay the winger. And let him do it wrong many times. He’ll learn.”


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  1. Good to hear from you again Jan.this has to be the best transfer so season for Dutch players in a long time.can’t wait for the season to start proper.I was wondering if it would be possible to edit after you have posted. Usually it is after posting that you proof read the mistakes.

  2. ^^ I suppose you’ll have to do like everyone else and proof read your comment before you post! 😉

    Thanks Jan, really great stuff from Ten Cate – I wholeheartedly agree! It’s our tactics and technique which require the most improvement.

    Interested to see who Blind picks..

    1. In my opinion, we are behind in both technique and mental strength. We are never strong in mental strength before but thanks to our excellent technique, we were on par with world class team. Before our stars could easily adapt to our leagues because the difference in skill between Eredivisie and other leagues are minimal.

      Now the gap is bigger, whenever the Dutch players go to foreign league, they need to work harder to adapt. Sadly, most of them are never trained to have the mental strength to do that. Drenthe, Babel and Depay are prime examples. Instead of focusing on training and getting better, they burn their professional career with party, fashion and rap.

      1. I dunno, some swagger is fine. I could care less what a player does in his off time, as long as he performs. If he cannot, he should be left out. Its fine, even if disappointing sometimes but it’s natural for a few players to fall by the wayside.
        I agree what you say about those 3 players but I don’t think they are examples of the problem with Oranje.

      2. Both Drenthe and Babel were bloody talented,they lacked focus and professionlism to succeed over there..But Depay case is different,he lacks extra pace,Accuracy in shots,he cannt keep the ball in his feet for long time,poor stamina etc.But Depay still works hard in gym to get msucles and power,unfortunatly thats is what he needs.he needs stamina,Clam mind and Speed..Had he was not crazy about body building and sixpacks,he could still be successful to an extend..Also he stills works hard but in a wrong way..on addition to this he got immense support from LVG,even now Jose didnt throw out of the squad…
        Babel and Drenthe blow it away ..Babel was lazy and rapper..Drenthe was party and rapper…Both sU@#34ked in big time..I mean big big loss for NT compared to Depay whom i think doesnt had the talents of Babel and Drenthe..

  3. Look at picture of Strootman, it’s giving me so many hopes on his return, i believe Strootman deserve as an official captain for Orange at this moment, his style almost same as our legend Bommel, a box-to-box & smart player, can stop & dare opponent, high work rate & good passer, can teamwork & score, can encourage others when needed, can also protect team-mate in battle with rivals also maybe wrong decision come from referee 🙂

  4. With me after era of Sneijder, Persie, Vaart, Robben. Our Orange has generated some players that have reached at top level who can dominate & compare with other countries.They are Strootman, de Vrij, Wijnaldum, van Dijk.

    – Depay, Bazoer, Willems, Fosu-Mesah, Riedewald, Kevin Diks, Nouri have potential and would be there if they choose right direction for their career path & developing well next time.

  5. Excellent article, Jan, as usual. Good way to get the season started. Agree on keeping an eye on Elia. I know you have to factor in the competition, but his finishing was very sharp, and there was one play where he controlled a longish pass so deftly, that it wasn’t hard to remember why people were so excited about him when he was younger.

  6. – From first round of PM we can see Fer, Van Dijk, Pieter, Aanholt, Blind, de Roon are believed by their coach.

    – Some chances for Memphis, Janssen.

    – Quite concern on Clasie, Ake, Fosu, Affelay, Lens, der Hoorn

    1. Valencia is doing really good in offense,defensivly not bad as Darmian.thats why Fosu is on bench…things will change Soon…Fosu must avoid injury..Bastein will be sold..So Fosu has a chance for CB,DM and RB….he has better chance than Depay.
      Daley Blind is clever player which can not be ignored,and Jose understood this..

  7. Feyenoord is looking like the most polished team in eredivisie.they have a good depth in the team to win the eredivisie this sesdon,especially with the signing of Berhguis.Lucas wounderberg has also broken into the first team squad.a promising talent to look out for. Another player whom I feel has been the most under rated player for feyenoord is Jens Toornstra.he is just a simple player,nothing specially but knows how to score goals.will be interesting to see these guys in europa

  8. Daley Sinkgraven also is improving with every game he is playing on the wing under Bosz compared to when he was warming bench under FDB. Again if Ajax qualify for CL,it will be a good exposure for some of these guys.

  9. Martial—Zlatan—Rashford
    ———-De gea—————-
    On bench

    They will win EPL and CL…such a strong team

  10. Mou like to play Blind alongside with Baily, don’t know what’s wrong with Smalling recently. He did very good job last season. Seems doesn’t have any chances for our black pearl Mensah

  11. Big loss to the national team after the departure of Dick Advocaat! I was convinced that with him next to Blind we were gonna make it to the World Cup, now i must admit i’m getting a little worried.

  12. Today
    Ajax Vs Rostov..lets see what happens..
    4-3-3: Cillessen – Tete, Veltman, Riedewald, Dijks – Bazoer, Klaassen, Gudelj – Sinkgraven, El Ghazi/Traoré, Dolberg…
    Not a bad team at all..I am not impressed with klassen and Elghazi..little soft defense too..
    by the by when will Danny Blind anounce his team for Greece and Sweden??

      1. Tiju did not post the correct lineup.. Sanchez is playing:

        Veltman – Sanchez – Riedewald – Dijks
        Gudelj – Bazoer – Klaassen
        El Ghazi – Traore – Younes

    1. While Klassen hasn’t made his mark on the NT, I think he’s played well for Ajax, the first two league games this year no exception. Rostov is a step up, so we’ll see. Traore replaced Dolberg last week and played through the middle. So I think the choice is between Traore and Dolberg—and based on how well Dolberg played last weekend, I don’t think it is a choice at all. Veltman back in the center will help the defense. Dijks, good going forward, but needs to be better with his defensive responsibilities.

  13. Watched 45 minutes Ajax vs one point they had possession of 83%…All i felt was Jasper Cillessen lacks confidence and courage to be our No 1 GK..At any cost he should not be our No1 Gk for God sake and to qualify for Russia 2018…
    it should be Zoet as he has confidence and not bad at penalty than Cillessen.Ideally we must go with krul and as he is leader in back…i hope Blind doesnt do stupidity…

  14. Yes, TIJU1234

    Actually i have realized this long time ago Cillessen can play decently but he’s not outstanding in any skill of goalkeeper, especially recent years he got so many mistake that unacceptable. Zoet have improved a lots and deserve number 1 for now i think.

  15. Thanks Jan, it’s good to get back into the swing of things from a football sense, and after the first round of the EPL the Dutchies did quite well.
    Blind had a solid game for Man U , Janssen looked sharp for Spurs ( he should have scored the winner, good old Steks to the rescue for Everton)
    And most impressive was Wynaldum for Liverpool, he really played box to box and was on the ball all the time. Liverpool might suit him and let him play to his full potential.
    I’m thinking Memphis should look for a transfer as I can’t see him getting a lot of game time , he will get stale unless he plays week in week out IMO.
    I missed the Ajax game but a draw is not ideal.

  16. Preliminary Netherlands squad

    Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Jeroen Zoet (PSV), Michel Vorm (Tottenham), Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton),

    Defenders: Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland), Daley Blind (Manchester United), Jeffrey Bruma (Wolfsburg), Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), Mitchell Dijks (Ajax), Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle United), Rick Karsdorp (Feyenoord), Timo Letschert (Sassuolo), Jairo Riedewald (Ajax), Kenny Tete (Ajax), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Ron Vlaar (AZ), Jetro Willems (PSV)

    Midfielders: Riechedly Bazoer (Ajax), Jordy Clasie(Southampton), Jorrit Hendrix (PSV), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Davy Propper (PSV), Bart Ramselaar (FC Utrecht), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Kevin Strootman (AS Roma), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (Manchester United)

    Forwards: Bas Dost (Wolfsburg), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Vincent Janssen (Tottenham Hotspur), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Jurgen Locadia (PSV), Luciano Narsingh (PSV), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moskow)
    Luciano narsingh,Depay,Hunter not required….thats a poor call..of late Sneijder is not doing good…
    Good calls Vilhena,hendrix,New sneijder bart ramseelar.

    1. Danny has a 36 man squad..
      he selected Depay for sitting in bench,
      Clasie for sitting bench and injured..
      Hunter when did he played last,what was he doing in last year?.
      Narsingh for exceptional brilliance,quickthinking and vision in the feild..
      With Depay–Hunter–Narsingh we have world class upfront which could beat any team in the planet.
      karsdorp over kevin diks?????on basis of what???
      Who is better defender as LCB Vlaar VS van dijk VS Blind Vs omitted kongolo..???okay just take Vlaar for RCB..but still…
      Notable omission kongolo,Mensah(injured or ghana?),kevin diks..

  17. For me its

  18. Well said.quote,Hmm…
    3 Feyenoord
    3 PSV (+ Ramselaar)
    7 Ajax.
    How is this fair. More importantly is this really helping Ajax, the national team and Dutch football progress.
    If some of the Ajax players have no real chance of starting national matches they are better off concentrating on qualifying and playing in the champions league and trying to win the title.
    Personally I believe Ajax will not really contend on the European stage until the likes of Van de Beek and Nouri are pulling the strings in the midfield and Tete, El Ghazi etc have fully matured. (and they’re going to have to spend the money to keep them there for a while for the good of Dutch football)
    Whatever happens the Ajax-biased Blind has to go.
    And what of his natural bias for Daley.
    Mourinho won’t play him as a CB so he shouldn’t be considered there. So does he get a run ahead of Wijnaldum, Strootman, Bazoer, Clasie etc.
    We need players in the CM, DM positions who can get on the ball, play in tight spaces, play quick, run quick and have vision under pressure. Daley get beaten for pace too easily and looks comfortable only when he’s got time, invariably passing to defenders or looking for the long pass forward. There is little urgency when he’s on the ball and he lacks intent. He doesn’t give the players ahead of him the confidence they need. This is the type of player the national team needs to move away from.
    I’m really hoping Strootman can find his form and stay fit and healthy. With Wijnaldum with him we just need a 8 and 10 in the mould of Inesta to compliment. Unfortunately Van de Beek and Nouri are still a way off yet.”

    Found this comment over the net.jus wanted to share.

    1. Jeron Zoet PSV
      Jorrit hendrix–PSV
      Luuk De jong -PSV
      Davy propper –PSV
      I dont know which idiot wrote this comment..its true Some players doesnt deserve call ups,,thats so so true..Van de beek and Nauri are very much ready to start in NT and AJax if we compare them to Narshit,promes,Depay…

    2. I don’t think coach Blind should concern himself by what someone else thinks is ‘fair’, football is not fair, and especially fair in regards to choosing evenly players from different clubs.
      Then he calls Blind Ajax-biased, but there are more PSV players selected! Hah
      Plus, this is still only a provisional squad…
      Also, his numbers are all wrong and he says things that are not true (FYI, at this moment Blind is in Mourinho’s starting lineup for the second game in a row!

      I think I only agree with one of his sentences:
      “I’m really hoping Strootman can find his form and stay fit and healthy”

      so Wilson, I’m interested, what parts were “well said”?

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