Oranje’s future: Arnaut Danjuma

The dark, barren days truly seems behind us now. Those days, when we couldn’t qualify for a big tournament, remember that? Now, we have some world class central defenders, exciting top notch full backs, a midfielder on the scouting list of many a big club and coming from nowhere (seemingly) some new attacking talent!

Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld suddenly appeared. From second tier club NEC to Belgium’s top club, Club Brugge. And yesterday, he joined the Dutch national team squad in Zeist. “My nerves are holding up well. I do wish to find new challenges all the time and this is a top example. And I don’t want to just be here today as a one-day-fly. I wanted to proof myself and come back regularly.

Asked what his secret is: “I don’t have one. It’s a matter of confidence with me. I work hard every day and this is the result. People tell me things go really fast for me, but I don’t see it that way. I work hard and this is where I am at now. And it’s almost normal, you know. Ever since I was a child, I wanted this.”

“I spoke with Ruud Vormer about it of course and with Stefano Denswil and Sofyan Amrabat (all Brugge players). It’s sad Ruud had to bail with his groin injury. This is a huge honour for me and I hope I’ll get the chance to show something. These two games, vs Germany and Belgium. Amazing of course. And there are two mates of Brugge called up for the Belgium team. That is extra cool.”

Danjuma has scored 5 goals and offered 4 assists in 14 official games. He’ll meet some old friends at Oranje. “That makes life a bit easier, I know Rosario and Bergwijn from my time at PSV. It’s special for sure.”

When the 21 year old was presented at Brugge, son of a Nigerian mother and a Dutch father, the experts could see what his thing was. “A mouthy Dutch lad, who cuts inside to shoot on goal with his right. The whole Belgium competition will know this within weeks.” But like with Arjen Robben, knowing that he’ll do it and stopping him from doing it are two different things.

Club coach Leko signed Groeneveld from NEC, now called Danjuma. And after a couple of training sessions he knows enough. He’ll start Danjuma in the super cup match vs Standard Luik. He breaks open that match with an assist in the first half. Leko is convinced. Aad de Mos, ex top coach and football fanatic, watches the first match this season in the competition of Brugge. And he knows after 45 minutes. He grabs his phone and tweets: “The Dutch top clubs have been sleeping again: Groeneveld is at Brugge and is a top player!”.

After three matches in the competition, Danjuma is the most discussed player / topic. Club wins and Danjuma has to face the media again and again. Ruud Vormer looks at with approval from a distance. The blue-black jersey tightly fitting the muscles on the upper body, legs like concrete pillars and a twinkle in the eyes.

Danjuma is not keen to discuss his past. He had a life of ups and downs and one day, he’ll tell his life story. Not now. “That is too personal”.  Because life in Lagos, Nigeria isn’t easy and neither is moving to Holland and being caught up in the social services system of child care. He did say something once… He was in three different host families until his dad finally got custody. He doesn’t want to say more. He used to confuse attention with affection and was hoping on positive re-affirmations. Like the 8 years at PSV, where he suffered from many injuries. Every coach could see he had talent but he needed to stay fit.

In Nijmegen, at NEC, he changed from an inconsistent talent to a man with a mission. Danjuma finds inspiration in athletes who had to fight to get to the top. Players like Zlatan or Neymar. Or Memphis. Or a boxer like Mike Tyson. “Setbacks make you stronger. Let’s just say I experienced more than most at my age. I think I built up more resistance.”

When Arnaut was Arnaut at NEC, he already told anyone who wanted to listen: I am good, I will become better, I will play for a top club and I will win trophies. Danjuma at Brugge seems to fulfil his promise. And he did play against Almere and Helmond Sport last season. This season he’ll play Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. The goal vs Atleti and more specifically Jan Oblak already went viral across the globe.

At NEC, they are looking forward to the day Brugge will sell Danjuma to a big spender, as NEC will receive a % from that future deal. They sold him for 1mio euros which enabled NEC to almost build a complete new team as a result. How was it possible that NEC got this gem?

The Dutch youth international made his way to NEC two years ago from the PSV youth to the NEC youth and in two seasons Danjuma got 14 goal and 17 assists in 46 matches. Not bad!

Danjuma: “It is not true that the Dutch top clubs were sleeping. There was interest. There was also interest from Germany, England and France, but I followed my instincts. I can’t explain what it was. Everything clicked for me here. They really wanted me, courted me. I love that. Manchester City was interested too, but I think this is the club where I can really develop and make my minutes.”

Groeneveld did have to adjust a bit. “In Holland, at NEC, it was rough at practice. We’d go in full throttle, rough tackles and very feisty. Here at Brugge, I started yelling at players at practice and Ruud Vormer had to talk to me and said “that is not how it is done here,” hahaha.”

Danjuma played for Young Oranje but was also entitled to select Nigeria. He always expressed his wish to play for Oranje and Koeman decided to not allow Nigeria a shot at the winger. “I would have considered an invite for Nigeria, I do feel the Nigerian roots. But my dream is to play for Oranje.”

NEC was able to present their 11th new player some weeks ago, thanks to the transfer sum that they banked for Arnaut Danjuma. General Manager Oversier: “I was just here, at NEC, when I saw him play and I thought “that kid will one day play for Oranje!”. He is really good eh? He’s not even that super fast, but on the ball he is explosive, threatening and able to go on the outside or inside of the opponent. And his kicking technique is out of this world. He has so much potential. You should analyse his goals, they’re all differnt. I have seen right full backs fall over, so dazed and confused from playing him, hahaha. He never made it at PSV due to his injuries, otherwise he would have played there now, for sure.”

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  1. To be honest Groeneveld scooped up by Club brugge is yet another example of how the dutch system works and for some players the future may ly out of eredivisie.especially those who are not playing in top 3.I dont think groeneveld would have made it if he still would have been at NEC and still scoring. This is why I have been adamant on individual qualities of players.you look at Tjaronn chery.he had it but didnt get to play and was not scouted by any potential top club and hence was overlooked.this is where the coaches and the back ground staff need to dig deep and look for those potential players.same goes for St Juste, he will end up nowhere. He is been deployed at CB at U21s and at feyenoord he is at cover up RB.both positions in NT have a long queue. What happens to him after the u21 adventure is anybodys guess.this is his second season at Feyenoord and I think he had 2-3 at heerenveen playing all over in the backline and DM.

    My point here is when it comes to NT, the coaches are too critical towards those who play in lesser known clubs.

    Being said this that time has gone when NT used to be dominated by PSV, Ajax and feyenoord players, with the current deficiencies they need to look out of the box

  2. who all will play today???
    Vilhena–Dejong–De beek—Wijnaldum

    1. Im would like to see Koeman give more minutes to those who have not played alot. Bournemouth have been in good form and I think Ake should start this game after impressing in that portgual game. Same goes with van annholt.he needs more game time and this two games should well test his character going forward. I hope koeman doesnt make the mistake of playing with two man midfield. I think the germans will most propably try to dictate the play from the middle with kroos and ozil and this is where the gates need to be shut.

      1. özil hasn’t been anywhere near die Mannschaft since the WC. Haven’t you read about this? Big hoohah in Germany, where Schweinsteiger and Neuer both publicly criticized özil’s racism allegations — and Joachim Löwe was all but shunned when he went personally to talk it over at Arsenal. Right now, he’s injured. But he’ll not play again for Germany.

        1. My bad, Forgot about that one.but still the germans are more than capable of surpressing from midfield especially with kross whom Low has been using in a withdrawn central role with klimmch.gundagon and draxler are not bad options either.being said this germans have quiet a injury list and have called in reinforcements to replace them but whom have not clocked much playing time with their respective clubs. Leno, Sane, Can and Gnabry, uth. The thing with germany is they easily neutilize the physical factor of of oponents with a direct and free style of play. This was very evident vs france where the midfielders were constantly giving the ball out launching the wingers and if not over the french defenders.

    2. Replace Vilhena by Rosario, then when we have Kluivert, Bazoer, Fosu good form & Malen/Steng/Chong/Boadu/Redan/Mallacia growing up right way

      We will have very strong & balance team next 10 years

  3. yes danjuma is good and wilson is right on the ned to look beyond top three and find players from other clubs too.koeman needs to do that koeman is right on pablo rosario i think he scored a goal during that CL match, i am sure he is improving. That he plays under Van bommel as a disciplined member is good and he is helping his defenders too. He is better qualified than some Ajax players who are not showing any discipline and this bodes well for bergwin also.(Discipline at Ajax seems to be at a minimum)

    1. Im not putting my money on Rosairo just yet, like wise Bergwijn. Rosario got the nod just because he is playing in that position. This is where I earlier said the dutch coaches simply dont wanna look outside of the box. St juste again could have easily competed for that spot given his outings this far. Look at how Low has switched joshua klimmich to the midfield. I watched u21 game in which Scotland defeated jong orange 2-1 and Rosairo didnt have good game at all and also gave away the winning penalty.

      Yes he did score vs Inter but you also need to look at other aspect of his game. All in all I think after this two games, alot can be determined as to where they their ceiling actually is.

  4. I don’t agree that the situation we are in now, with Danjuma signing for Club and not for a Dutch top club, is so much different.

    We always had players in the NT who came up through a more contrived path to the top. Some players go direct from Ajax / Feyenoord / PSV youth system into the NT.

    Others come from left field. Arthur Numan? Jaap Stam? Pierre van Hooijdonk? Peter van Vossen?

    Even Ronald de Boer, Michael Reiziger, Daley Blind came back to the top via a little side step (Twente, Groningen).

    Danjuma was part of PSV’s youth system but injuries came in the way. This happens everywhere on the planet. Feyenoord was keen to grab him but Feyenoord can’t afford too much. Salaries in Belgium are higher than in Holland, always were, and he decided to go for Club Brugge.

    No big deal.

    Rosario is another example of a player who took the long way. Eljero Elia was like that, Quincy Promes. It’s all part of life.

    1. I dont think so. All PSV, Ajax and feyenoord were more active in south American market rather than at home . Max Roomero, Mauro Junior, Gabriel Gutiérrez (PSV), Neres, Danilio,Orejuela García, Tagliafico,(Ajax), Luis Sinisterra (feyenoord).it is always the case with young talents coming up in the youth ranks at PSV, Ajax and feyenoord, when they are deemed surplus they are disposed.look at the jong ajax contingent that left for other teams just becuase they were others coming from behind and they couldnt move on. This is a fact. Some flourish late while others simply get lost with time.groeneveld was in the same boat. Anass Achbhar is another example whom feyemoord let go and he is starting from stretch at NEC.he is actually doing going there on loan. He also had a terrific last season where NEC narrowly lost out on the promotion to eredivisie. It is same case of taking two steps back in order to take one step forward.

      NEC has a good relations with Club brugge and thats how it happened.

      1. DOn’t agree. We had some many examples of young talents who simply have trouble making their way into the Dutch top. Ramselaar. Maher. SInkgraven. Sam Larson. Sofyan Amrabat. The list goes on and on. And there are exceptions always: Denzel Dumfries, St Juste, Frenkie de Jong.

        But Danjuma was on the hitlist for Feyenoord and Ajax but he decided to go to Brugge. That simple.

        Achabar is playing at second level in Holland. And that is where he probably belongs. I don’t get the comparison with Danjuma, to be honest.

  5. THERE IS always a neglignce look towards the players who plays other than big 3…ITS BITTER FACT,HARD to digest…To have a better team we must be humbled and realise that where we made mistake shoudl correct it..
    Eg Virjil vadijk at celtic
    Danjuma and many more…

  6. All in a sudden we have a handful of left wingers emerging

    Steven bergwijn, javairo dilrosun, Justin Kluivert , Memphis depay, arnaut Danjuma Etc

    Enough ! Do we have any new hopes for on the right ???!!!!

    Tahith chong maybe but he won’t get any chance under mourinho

    1. Berjwin will out class PRomes,Depay very soon..
      Kluivert is still young has huge personality disorder,little spoiled tooo,he might change i dont know..
      Danjuma seems a nice humble lad…
      Mentality matters…

        1. Also dont forget about vito van crooj.he will one day catch the eye of a good team. Like I said those players who are playing out of the top three will have to go through the long channel.

  7. Germany is not the Germany in 2014,We could easily walk away with a win if we start game with
    but you know
    Blind ,strootman and co will step in and our party will get spoiled..
    Can Rosario can play as RB????i dont like dumbfry..

  8. I like what Argentina is doing aftermath of WC.their coach is using a good 23 member squad and rotating them to build a new solid starting 11.again the coach has not been shy of giving opportunitirs to those who are flying in lessr known clubs Pezella ( fiorentina), De Paul (Udinese),Ascacíbar (Stuttgart),Pereyra (watford),funes Mori(villarreal) it will be very dissapointing if Nathan Ake and van annholt doesnt get the nod in the upcoming two games. It time to move on from strootman, Danny Blind and also make shift position which is not needed.koeman said in his press conference that he will field his strongest lineup whis is? in both the games. Im still thinking which lineup he was talking about.

    1. Also if wijnaldum doesnt step up in orange shirt he also should be the next one on the list to be disposed,regardless of him being a favorite of klopp at liverpool.to be honest in the last 4 games he has proved nothing even though he is playing at the highest level.

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