Dreaming of an Orange Xmas…

All the most wonderful season’s greetings to all of you, loyal fans and followers of Oranje and this blog!! Whether you celebrate Christmas, or Hannukah, or the winter/summer solstice… I wish you a great time.

But I wish Memphis Depay, Donyell Malen and Daley Blind even more good wishes! In case you forgot who Memphis is, I put a top video with his skills below at the end of the post. Goosebumps. Boy, that kid can play!

Memphis Depay has been operated on, and at first glance, successfully in Rome. The optimistic noises are that he might be ready for action in 5 months. But that is when everything goes well. And that is not always the case with these knee ligament operations. Some players can easily be out for a year… Also, even if Memphis makes it in 5 months, he’ll have to work his ass off to be ready for a top match. And then I’m not even talking about the risk he will run for the rest of his career. He wouldn’t be the first to risk it all for one tournament. 25 year old Memphis might be best off to stay on the sideline for the Euros and come back with a real vengeance to win us the World Cup in 2022.

Memphis in hospital, in Rome

Doneyll Malen’s injury is not 100% clear, at least not the severity of it. First indications are that he might be out for 3 months, but again, it can easily make a turn for the worse… For him, the same consideration works… Working really hard to get back into fitness might derail his career further down the track.

And Daley’s injury (inflamed heart muscle) is the most vague one. He says he’s feeling really good. But he’s not training and playing. Some doctors became talking heads on tv and a number claims it’s really nothing, while another sub group of experts claim he might never play football ever again. Stressful days for the Blind family, as the uncertainty must be hard. At least Memphis and Donyell’s trajectory to fitness are clear. Tough, but clear.

Malen off the pitch with a bad knee injury

In the days of joy, gay times and Christmas cheer, most news sources will give you nice insights and stories about the past year or even decade (as we’re moving out of the ’10s).

This post will not do this. We’ll look forward, to the upcoming 2020 summer, the Euros. Holland did ever so well to qualify, and also in a way inwhich we get to play 3 home games in Amsterdam! How good is that.

The fact we might miss our attacking leader, our young talented mercurial goal scorer and our brains and visionary at the back puts a big cold, wet blanket over it all.

How will we replace these three (if we indeed need a replacement for Blind)…?

Start with Memphis. His contribution? Brilliance. Power. Leadership. Assists. Goals. His movement, his unpredictability means opponents need two players to guard him. For me, Bergwijn or Promes are the only players that could take that role. They both have experience, are strong physically and can do all Memphis can do, except maybe for the leadership part. For this, others will need to step up (Wijnaldum?).

This is leadership: taking the initiative to remove a negative banner from a Lyon (!) fan

As we now have Stengs making an impression for the right wing, we could well use Promes as central striker (as Spartak did for many a game) and move Bergwijn to the left.

Donyell Malen’s qualities? Goals. Assists. Speed. Runs. And lots and lots of runs. In behind. Dummy runs. Dirty yards, on and on.

I think Malen might not have been a starter in Koeman’s ideal XI, so for Malen we can pick an alternative that – like him – is still considered a youngster. A player with speed and the willingness to leave it all on the pitch. Dilrosun comes to mind. Danjuma comes to mind (even though he is struggling with injuries himself now, too), and as Willem van Hanegem commented: Joshua Zirkzee comes to mind too! Why not.

(Zirkzee is only 18 years old, but you know what you could expect, when Bayern Munich uses him as the super sub with 5 mins to go, to force something. And twice he did already. When you’re old and good enough to play for Bayern, surely you are good enough for Oranje…)

Young Zirkzee at Bayern

Myron Boadu would be a sure fire option of course. Yes, he’s a central striker but he can also play from the left. He’s good speed and good work ethics. His conversion stats need to go up, though.

Some outsiders for the position are Cody Gakpo and Noa Lang. Gakpo is a PSV gem. A player with the right foot of David Beckham, work ethics and speed too. He can score a goal, and assist a goal. Used as a left winger in PSV, he can also play from midfield. Noa Lang is a player Ajax has tremendous faith in. He’s also unpredictable, fast and can score and assist a goal but recently his strongheadedness came to the fore, and Erik ten Hag had a right and loud go at him during a national cup game. Also, Lang doesn’t make the runs he should be making, but instead wants ball to feet a lot.

Our hope for a good world class striker: Myron Boadu

Lastly, Daley Blind. Probably the hardest player to replace. Top passing. Vision. Build up skills. Leadership. Positioning. We simply do not have any other player like him. So replacing him at left back will result in Koeman having to rethink his shape. We do have some exciting options for the left back spot. I personally rate Owen Wijndal high, but I think Van Aanholt would be the first option to replace Blind. Feyenoord’s Haps could be an option too as is Robin Gosens of Atalanta.

Whichever player gets the spot, none will do what Daley does, so we’ll have to find another solution for his role in the build up. We will probably play with two typical full backs, players with lungs and legs more than brains and passing. So another Dumfries type on the other flank, meaning a midfielder (Frenkie) will have to drop back a tad more often, to allow for “3 at the back” and to allow the backs to push up. Which would work well with a player like Bergwijn on the left flank, as he can then move into the half space.

Daley on the turf, vs Valencia in CL. Really strange that Ten Hag didn’t take him of…

This might result in a role for a “playing” holding mid, like Davy Propper or Donny van de Beek next to Frenkie, as opposed to a more defensive blocker such as Marten de Roon or Kevin Strootman.

In the meantime, fingers and toe crossed for De Ligt and his position in Juventus. For Rick Karsdorp coming back to full fitness and form fast.

My squad, based on the knowledge of today and without Blind, Malen and Memphis…

Goalies: Jasper Cillesen, Tim Krul, Marco Bizot

RB: Karsdorp, Dumfries

CB: De Ligt, Ake, Van Dijk, De Vrij

LB: Van Aanholt, Wijndal

Midfield: Frenkie, Wijnaldum, Propper, Van de Beek, Ihattaren, De Roon

Forwards: Stengs, Promes, Bergwijn, Danjuma, Weghorst, Boadu

Obviously, all three players (Blind, Malen and Memphis) will be welcome in my squad when fit. I would take out Van Aanholt, Boadu and De Roon if these three end up being fit.

Robin Gosens of Atalanta… dark horse for LB?

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  1. @Jan i think u might have forgotten Jetro williams who is regular starter at Newcastle and fan favorite..He has matured defensivly and astonishing while going forward..
    Even at age of 17 ki jana hoover looks better than dumfries…

  2. Depay has good footwork and technique. He plays on intuition and that explains his unpredictability.
    I’m optimistic he can still make it for the euros. A had fit and unpredictable him can still be an asset.. 😊

  3. It’s a tough ask. Nobody has recovered from an ACL injury and gone on straight back to their very best. ACL Rehabilitation can not be fast track. It has to be slow and in phases and takes time.im sure strootman will advise him on this one.

  4. Leave depay I’d say

    Turn this opportunity for other youngsters to shine
    Be realistic to get depay fit to his highest level takes at least a year or more

    We will reach our peak at the World Cup or … euro 2022

    1. Why 2022????We can remove that mentality..we can do it with right players who scarifice for team…no need of Naymer ,Messi or Depay ..We need Kroos,muller,Villa,xavi type…
      Fortunalty we have kroos in van de beek,klose in Babel..xavi in Frenkie …common thats looser mentality to drop after Depay loss..

        1. When u play De roon at DM,Veltman as RB,Blind stays back as LB with Berghuis waht u expect???i think we were on back foot whenwe feiled veltman as RB..i can be still optimistic if we miss Roben or Depay but i will be very pessimistic when i see Veltman,Berghuis,De roon on same 11 when we play against strong defense team…
          Full backs should over lap and dictate the tempo…
          Dest would have reduced this burden,
          Williams will do it on LB…
          i hope karsdorp comes back..

  5. Leave depay I’d say

    Turn this opportunity for other youngsters to shine
    Be realistic to get depay fit to his highest level takes at least a year or more

    We will reach our peak at the World Cup or … euro 2024

    1. At this point in time it looks very blink given now the time will be koemans biggest nemesis. I remember debating on this and some of the counter arguments that came up was qualifications was the biggest priority and not getting the depth in the team. Unfortunately this is where it has come and hit the rocks and like I said it a hundred times, its back to square 1.

      On a positive note, NT has always benefited from injuries as the incoming players have proven to make a big difference and let’s hope this injuries will also be a blessing from the skies.

      Merry Christmas to everyone on this blog,Jan and all the orange fans out there.

      1. @Wilson, Happy Holidays to you as well, always appreciate your comments, and bouncing things back and forth.

        So…(lol)…while I get what you say about depth, I’m of the belief that a National Team’s depth is never any better than its pool of players. During qualifying, when the coach only has the players a few days at a time, the NT is not going to “develop” players. There were always going to be a few players on this NT who were not going to be replaceable: Depay, Van Dijk, De Jong. Ake is a likely replacement for Van Dijk, but realistically, I can’t think of anyone who can bring contributions of De Jong and Memphis. Thus, to my mind, whether Koeman had played Stengs, or Boadu or Danjuma (assuming he was healthy) or Dilrosun or Kluivert, or (fill in the blank) in some of the qualifying games versus NI or Estonia, the NT would still be in the same position as they are now without Depay.

        That said, I agree, now is the opportunity for these young guys. Hopefully one of them will take a major step in the next several months. Door is open.

        I do think that this team can do very well even without Memphis (and Malen). Any team with the talents of Van Dijk, De ligt, Wijnaldum, DeJong, Van De Beek, can beat anyone on the day.

        Of the younger players, the ones I see most likely to have an impact at the Euros would be Keupmeiner (each time I see him, I think he could be an excellent partner for Frenkie), Stengs (so skilled and creative), and Danjuma/Dilrosun (both of their club coaches have demanded they be defensively responsible—Koeman will have liked that.)

        In terms of who actually replaces Memphis. My first thought was Malen, but he is hurt. Second, I thought of Babel. Huntelaar bears watching. But I also think that Koeman will consider playing Wijnadum in that position, with Van De Beek playing in Wijnaldum”s spot. Wijnaldum has shown that he can put the ball in the net when given the chance, and it allows Koeman to continue play a mobile, interchanging front line, and it allows Van De Beek to play where he has been his most effective at Ajax.

        My 2 cents. Hope you all have a safe New Year’s.

        1. @ Andrew

          I find in contrary to what you have said ” I’m of the belief that a National Team’s depth is never any better than its pool of players. During qualifying, when the coach only has the players a few days at a time, the NT is not going to “develop” players”. I’m tired of hearing this and even Jan has been in the fore front of this. when looking at other big teams, they have achieved and built a considerable depth through rotation and within the same phase as the qualifications and again within the same time frame as other international coaches get. A very good example is Spain. In the last three qualifiers they used 23 different players including subs.23 and this was from all different leagues. Even croatian league.

          Unlike what you said about van dijk,frenkie,memphis being irreplaceable, spain had everybody rotated even Ramos.this is what defines ” moulding a winning team”

          To put things in to more perspective if Ramos has to get injured,Moreno already has different combs already proven through rotation .In contrast if van dijk has to get injured, koeman has players but are not proven in his position and at that level.if you are thinking about Ake then no he is not,once again if he would have rotated with either van Dijk or De ligt regularly then it would have been proven. There is a EXPECTATION he will. He is good but at CB he has not been tested vs big teams.once again this is where rotation would have added a more proven depth in the backline. I hope you see where I’m coming from.

          Then comes the Nations league final vs portgual. Again we have dicussed this in depth and alot but I think it applies to my argument on how you must keep track of other teams because they will also be keeping a track of you. That’s what happened. Santos turned the table around on koeman in the final when the same team beat them 3-0 previously and comfortably.

          Even with Memphis,NT would not have been contenders for Euros. They would have fall short looking from the trajectory of other big teams.

          I’m in the same boat as seeing young players get the nod which will eventually lay a solid platform for 2022.

          1. @Wilson,

            lol, I was expecting that we wouldn’t agree on this, and probably never will. its okay; its actually good.

            But allow me to respond:

            Re: Ake. I do see where you are coming from, but its a difference of opinion. To me, he has proven himself in the EPL for a several years now. I have little doubt that he can play at a high level against other NT’s. He is playing against talent there that is much better than than anything that Estonia, Belarus or NI will throw at him. I sure don’t agree that in a qualifier against Germany or France he should start ahead of Van Dijk for the sake of experience.

            Re: Comparisons with the other big teams (Italy, Spain, Germany) The populations of those countries, dwarf the Netherlands. Many, many more players to choose from, so it is a different circumstance. When a top player from those countries get injured, they are replaced by players who are playing for top club teams. That is not what Koeman has at his disposal. Maybe he (or someone else) will, if some of the young players we have been talking about, and some of the U17’s of the last couple of years, take the next step.

            Re: Portugal “turning the tables from the 3-0 loss.” To me, you can’t really compare the games. That was a friendly played on a neutral field in midweek. The Nations Cup final was played in Lisbon, the Netherlands were playing on short rest after having gone into OT. Also, in the 3-0 win, the Netherlands played a different system, 3-5-2. Ake, Vilenha, Propper, Tete and Van De Beek all started. A very different game.

            Re: Spain and Ramos. I can’t agree that the drop off from Spain in losing Ramos is the same as that of the Netherlands without Frenkie De Jong or Memphis.

            And, yes, I did think that the NT would have been a contender with Memphis. (Over the last year or so, they have been 2-1-1 against Germany, split two with France, and defeated England. That means something.) In fact, and you can laugh, but I still think they’ll make an impression at the Euro’s.

            Anyway, heading out of town in the morning. Have a safe New Year. Cheers.

          2. I won’t drag this one but save it for another day but my friend looks likes whats unfolding is exactly what was predicted in the case of injures. And again this is not something new. Van gaal,Danny both ended up the same except for van gaal who managed to pull in the strings with a bit of luck. I have come to the conclusion if this approach doesnt change, the drought will continue.

  6. I think malen will back in 3 months and can play for us. No hope still about memphis but im sure we will start euro with
    Babel promes bergeijn
    In front.
    Im not fan of babel but i think with memphis out. Koeman use hid experience.

  7. This is what I have for 2022



    Van Dijk
    De Ligt
    Ki jana

    There will be no shortage this time around. They just need a good open minded modern day coach.

    1. No we will feild Strootman,Stekelnburg,Dumfries,De roon and VETMAN AND tall static non moving striker…We Wlll Fu@@#k this up with sturbonness….Having said this i must agree that koeman is least stuborn coach in dutch history..

  8. Good news for Timothy fesu Mensah as Ole Gunnar Solskjae wants his contract extended as he continues to overhaul the squad. I think this could be his chance to salvage his career especially with Ole Gunnar Solskjae giving young players the opportunity to prove themselves.

    Chong on the other hand seems to have missed the boat.

  9. @Wilson..You are wrog about LVG at NT on second time…He inherited squad who almost past the prime..With heitinga nd Mathijenson got old….He introduced lenz,Devrij,Depay,Wijnaldum, also plenty of chances to BMI,De guzman etc..De guzman did had great contribution…Ron Vlaar came back afetr injury.First time in NT kuyt played where he belonged to…
    Door was shut under fart van arwijk when Fab4 at their prime..Fart under achived with fab4..lossing to a team spain who scored only 7 goals in WC2010..Got schooled by Denamrk,Portugal and Germany at euro…
    Blind selected so many players,his coaching was idiotic and he was biased,he did nt play Virgil untill his son got injury..Worst part of blind was thet even after good performance by a player he dropped him for next match…Blind and Hiddink was disaster for NT..

  10. I still think players like Guus Til should have been recognized by koeman for the technical abilities he brings to the team even though spartak Moscow are struggling at the moment.this guy has got an immense lungs which propels his work rate.this are the type of players you wanna gamble with and in his case in the midfield but in more deeper role. Well thats where he is playing under new and ex schalke coach Domenico Tedesco. I have always have a soft heart for strootman after the injury but when you have a player like til who is young and can run a marathon. Why not him. He surely knows how to score goals also.

  11. After arrival of Dick Advocate Feynoord is progressing in terms of victories…we could see the difference..Feel like Advocate is oay compared to Bert van,Blind and hiddinski..

    1. Guilt will pull a surprise,my gut feeling,he is the most ridiculed one as coach like Trump..Advocate is all about discipline will he go behind experience or hunt for new ones??i dont know..

  12. Weghorst. I just don’t see how Koeman can’t be looking very closely at using him. He’s very good at pressing; called a “fox in the box,” though, for good reason — and that doesn’t compensate for Memphis. Still, we have some true quality in young wingers… and though that’s not really Koeman’s plan…. you have to wonder if he’s not reimagining a lot of things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dhbYfVu4yA

    1. I know, I know… a poacher isn’t what’s needed. But it’s what we have.

      Bas Dost? I know he’s not popular here, and never was with Oranje. But he’s the 12th most prolific goal scorer of the last decade.

      So maybe it’s not a slam dunk that we shouldn’t play with that kind of talent.

      1. Yep, Weghosrt should be a great option. I would also include into this list Vincent Janssen. He gets better and better. I consider both of them as better options than Boadu.

        1. I agree. Janssen made a risky move going to Monterrey, but they won their league championship and 3rd in FIFA Club WC. It’s a brass knuckles league, and Janssen seems to be thriving.

        2. Will it be Boadu instead? I know you watch him often, AZ. Would you continue Koeman’s system with Boadu as the new Memphis, or go with the depth of DeJong/Weghorst/Janssen/Babel…(Huntelaar/BasDost even)?

          And if Koeman relies on Boadu, as he has on Memphis, What happens if Boadu gets injured?

          1. Boadu can not be a new Memphis. Even in Eredivisie, in tough games he gets lost. He is just too young. I know there is a lot of hype around young players such as Malen, Gakpo, Boadu, Zirkzee etc but thing is that most of those guys are not experienced playing at National level and their physical condition is not there either. Yes, they are very talented and can spark in 2-3 games but perhaps 2020 euro is too early for them. I deliberately did not mention Stengs as he is a bit different story and I believe he is the best right winger in the NT at this moment.

            With respect to central strikers, I think Weghorst and Janssen are the best options to replace Memphis. Taking into account the form and consistency, Weghorst is the best option and Koeman has to start integrating Wout as soon as possible. In my view, Weghorst-Stengs could be very good attacking duet. I know I will have a lot of push backs here but that is what I believe the best options are.

        3. If Koeman chooses Weghorst, maybe there are many tactical plans that must be adjusted. That is what I call as a plan B.

          Weghorst plays differently from Memphis.

          1. “Weghorst plays differently from Memphis.”

            Yes, that’s the point: Memphis’ injury has brought the team to a new place, because there’s no one who plays like Memphis.

  13. It is always dangerous when one builds entire game strategy around one player. Players need to fit the team playing style not the other way around.

    1. Exactly as it is

      But then again what I’m thinking is if… we all know this , koeman should be smart enough Knowing this also

      The only reason I can think of is even though koeman knows This , there was not much room
      For him
      For experimental games .

      Every game he had to play he had
      To use the strongest XI.

      Perhaps there was
      Simply not much minutes for him to gamble

      1. I think the Holland NT will play two friendly matches before Euro 2020. It can be used by Koeman to try a new striker.

        Definitely, Koeman will use a new striker. Because Memphis is not possible to play when the Euro starts.

      2. I know koeman is very good footballing coach on ground..But i dont know how smart he is if he was smart He WOULD NOT HAVE PLAYED SAME 11 WHICH HE PLAYED AGAINST ENGLAND AT SEMI FOR 120 MINUTES…thats naive and crazy…

        Koeman should look back to start attack from wing backs ….A collection of effort from talented players is required to full fill Memphis absence..
        I would use players who can burry half chance upfront like stengs-Propper-Danjuma etc…Davy propper is lethal finisher of balls..
        Something like that………With williams and Promes playe highre up as false wingers.

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