Our talents at Oranje: U16

We all got smacked in the head by reality this summer. Was our team really this bad? Are our players over the hill? What are we to do, without Kuyt, Mathijsen and Van Persie? Ok, not Van Persie…but still… Is there more talent on its way?

I am starting this new series, and I’m asking Alex and others to keep an eye out for more talent.

This series starts with the Under 16s.

Ruud Dokter has been a youth coach and coordinator at the KNVB for years. All very respectable and decent. Since a year, Dokter is being assisted by a real football lad. Kees van Wonderen. Former international and one of the last European cup winners ( 2002, with Van Marwijk and Feyenoord). And Kees, was also one of the youngsters handpicked by legend Wiel Coerver when he was little (Kees) and coached according to the Coerver principles.

The former Feyenoord libero was also youth coach at FC Twente, but will soon resume his career elsewhere. Who knows, Louis van Gaal might pick him as one of the assistants.

“I will also support the Under18s. I’m really keen to do this. Working with the best prospects of the nation is a privileged job.”

Last year Autumn, the under16s played the fournations tournament in France. The youngster won their first game against Peru. Dokter: “These guys can all play. They are all developed at bigger clubs and they work with good coaches and with good material. Their inconsistency is their biggest weakness.”

Kees van Wonderen

Holland dominated the game but lacked the bite in the final third. “This is typical. We play really well, but in the final pass we make the wrong choice. But, I am not dissatisfied. We are working hard on our organisation and defensive foundations and we did really well at that level.”

Vitesse player Issa Kalon scored Hollands only goals.

The next game was against the USA and Holland lost that game surprisingly. “Some weird decisions by the referee. We got 1-0 up but when a USA forward made a foul against our defender, the ref saw it differently and awarded them a penalty.”

Team USA scored the 1-2 after the break and Holland couldn’t fight itself back into the game. “This is a disappointment. We didn’t have the physical strength to fight back and force something.”

Holland lost the third game against France as well. But Dokter was not too sad about it all. “These are great experiences for the lads. We needed to see where we stand. Well, we know. We gave away far too many chances. We need to defend as a team. In the offensive play, we did ok but we weren’t killers enough in converting our chances. We need to work as a team. Against France and the USA, we were immediately beaten when we lost that team feeling. Great lessons.”

This year, the Under16s played the fournations tournament in Portugal and started strong with a 2-0 win over Portgual. Holland dominated the game, played attractive football and deserved the win. Stokkers and Idrissi scored for Holland. Ruud Dokter: “We had two goals when we traveled to Portugal. We wanted to perform. The lads want to win this one. And the second goal is to play like a team. We practices a lot of tactics and in particular our turnarounds. We worked very hard.”

The practice made perfect indeed. Compared to last year, the Under16s played forward pressure and chased the opponent all over the pitch. Still, Holland gave opportunities away too.

Ruud Dokter, team manager….

Captain Tristan Berghuis (PSV) and right winger Idrissi got more opportunities to score but they lacked the killer instinct.

In the second game, against Israel, Holland couldn’t score. Israel played highly negative and defensively and Holland wasn’t able to break that down. Oranje was too predictable. Dokter: “This is a disappointment, but a good lesson for the boys. Israel didn’t come to play. And the lads will have to face opponents like this more in their careers. So it’s good to have this disappointment.”

That disappointment was carried into the last game against Italy. Holland needed a draw to win the tournament but despite having heaps of opportunities, Holland lost 2-1. As Cruyff said: Italy can’t win against you, but you can lose against Italy. Italy got two chances ( a corner and a counter) and scored twice. Holland dominated again, but couldn’t convert.

Ruud Dokter: “We are making great progress. In last year’s tournament we were too naive. Now, we could have won it. We were unlucky but we worked like horses. I’m proud of the guys.”

At the Under16s, Feyenoord/Excelsior’s joint development system is the main supplier, with Oussama Idrissi, Ali Ulusoy, Robbert de Vos, Caner Yalamoglu and goalie Tim van der Linden.

The squad:
Hector Hevel (ADO Den Haag), Daimy Rijnsburger (Almere City), Joël Donald and Dabney dos Santos (AZ), Randy Ababio en Sofyan Amrabat (FC Utrecht), Cihat Celik and Koen Muller (NEC / FC Oss), Chima Bosman, Bob Groenendijk and Stijn Lamers (all PSV), Oussama Idrissi, Ali Ulusoy, Robbert de Vos, Caner Yalamoglu en Tim van der Linden (all RJO Feyenoord/Excelsior), Rewan Amin, Max de Boom and Rannick Schoop (all RJO Heerenveen/Emmen), Philippe van Arnhem, Justin Mathieu, Michiel Rusch en Ralph Vos (all RJO Willem II/RKC), Roland Baas (foto) en Willem Gootjes (RVO FC Groningen/Cambuur), Suently Alberto and Finn Stokkers (Stichting Sparta Rotterdam), Tristan Berghuis (then Vitesse/AGOVV, now PSV), Vincent Schmidt (Voetbalacademie FC Twente), Jeroen Houwen (VVV-Venlo/Helmond Sport).

Jordy Bruijn, James Efmorfides, Indy Groothuizen, Terry Lartey Sanniez (all Ajax), Thomas Ouwejan (AZ), Bart Ramselaar (FC Utrecht), Ryan Hiwat (PSV), Bart Nieuwkoop (RJO Feyenoord/Excelsior).

Kees van Wonderen: “The football academies all across are doing really well. All players are able to play the game we Dutch love to play. We have wingers, like Iddrissi, we have strikers, good smart midfielders and I’m also impressed with our defenders. Both in terms of their capabilities to actually defend and with their abilities to build up and play football. I won’t name names now, it’s too early to put all those expectations on their shoulders but there is no reason why Holland shouldn’t play a big part in international football in the next 10 to 15 years….”

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  1. Thanks Jan, great to hear about the young up and coming youth players, was surprised at the lack of Ajax youth players in the squad.

    Also Luuk de Jong to Monchengladbach is a done deal.

  2. One of the things that always gives us hope is that we have youth coming through the ranks. That’s what separates Holland from other countries that have once in a generation team to be competitive.

    We should always nurture talents and create an environment where these players develop and flourish.

    A Benelux league will help improve the level of domestic competition. Lower ranked clubs in the Eredivise might have to drop to lower divisions but it will give our up and coming talents a more rigorous proving ground.

    Another suggestion would be some sort of age transfer cap or minimum time requirement with clubs that invested in these players.
    A lot of time, players are plucked early to go abroad and they either crash and burn or fizzle out. The clubs that invested in them lose their investment for pocket change. It’s a lose-lose situation for our clubs as well as potential emerging talents. We need some sort of rule to address this issue in a fair and pragmatic way.

    1. Having studied economics long enough, I’ve learned it’s hard to evade the natural laws of economics by imposing arbitrary rules. You will always spring a leak. The Benelux league is the best idea to solve this issue. The small countries just can’t compete with the bigger markets. More money in the league will encourage players to stay longer.

  3. All about incentives and competition to push themselves further.

    I think the only real big issue is guys leaving very early. It ruins talents. But you can’t mess with free will, and because of englands 6 plus 5 rule they want to sign foreign talent younger and younger

    all i can think of is KNVB to Make Player Guidelines for managing money, when to leave for a foreign team. and Look at the prospects of will they be able to start. with Just in case loan options back to holland or other leagues.

    There is no real punishment for a dutch team to lose a extremely talented 16 year old, and there is no real incentive to keep them at the team till they are say 22.

    it’s like the eurozone was formed and they said every country could have negative 3% deficits that meant certain countries thought they could spend and others would help them out. then they pushed past 3% and there was no real punishments. It caused all countries to do the same.

    Now we have dutch clubs who have no incentive to keep a player for longer, and no punishment for leaving them sooner.

    I wish they could say lower taxes to a very low amount on transfers when a player reaches 21 or 19, and 18 and younger taxes will be at a higher amount. Then dutch teams will be forced to get the best value and fully develop players.

    but fifa says no government interference, so i wish there was way to make the rules such that teams would get fined for it, and given cash based incentives or tax write-offs.

    1. Contractually the best way to keep some investment in a player who otherwise would be lost to a foreign team is to agree to futures contracts with foreign clubs. For example Tottenham could pay Ajax $X for the option to buy a player in the next 3 years for $5M. That way the player can stay home and develop. If he develops fast and is worth more than $5M, great, he goes to Tottenham and Ajax gets the transfer fee and the option fee. This would end the need for speculative transfers that in practice serve to secure a player to sit on the bench because he’s not ready yet.

      1. i’ve thought about it, but it’s the same thing as a loan. The thing is that the current bigwigs in football don’t really like to change much.

        I’ve run the idea in my head that if in the first half of a season, a player doesn’t get more than 50% of the games, he should be loaned out to play more than that (50%) amount of games. to at least properly develop.

        and on your above comment, the dutch league can succeed on it’s own without being a benelux league. The problem isn’t stadium attendance, it’s tv viewership. It’s a question of where would the capital come from? I would suppose foreign investment with a tv deal.

        So it’s just an issue of exposure in emerging markets. I mean even if Holland had a benelux league, it could fail even worse, if there is no one to watch outside those countries. Belgium 11 mil population, Holland 17 million,

        thats 28 million, the league would only jump up one place in population and we’d go from 10th to 9th,

        Population doesn’t always mean higher tv ratings, poland has 38 million, Ukraine has 44 million, and russia is first with 142 million people, That doesn’t mean that people watch those leagues.

        I literally only watch a ukraine team in the champions league, along with russia, and i Saw legia warsaw against psv. thats it.

        although I would like to see any reports and numbers on expected tv ratings and if a deal could be made that would make money, if so, who knows what might happen. but just joining with belgium doesn’t see any mass appeal that australia, USA, China, and others would be willing to spend money on a deal to broadcast games.

        1. The point is not to increase international viewership, it is to concentrate capital. If you combine the top BE/NL league into one top league and drop the weaker teams the quality of the product increases, the competition is stronger and there are more quality matchups to generate interest. Belgians start watching some Dutch teams and vice-versa. So the league gets the combined viewership of both markets, whatever that is, which means more revenue for ONE league. Rather than distributing that TV revenue to the lower tier teams that don’t pull their weight only the top tier teams share in revenue. This makes them financially stronger and able to pay higher salaries.

          Your arguments re russia etc are not relevant. It’s about the business model within these two markets. You are being naive if you think the size of the market and the number of top competitors participating does not matter. Whether outsiders watch a marginal Russian league does not matter.

          The EPL has 20 teams in a nation of 62M.
          The Bundesliga has 18 teams in a nation of 80M.
          La Liga has 20 teams for 46M.

          the Eredivisie has 18 teams for 16M
          the Jupiler has 18 teams for 11M

          Most people don’t really care about De Graafschap v Excelsior. This business model has too many weak players for the size of the market. I would suggest going even a step further to incorporate the top teams from the smaller market countries into one league: NL, BE, NO, SE, DK. The flight times are no more than an hour or so. Totally doable. Have some kind of relegation back to the domestic league. Sort of a hybrid between Champions League and domestic.

          1. if the size of a country did matter than why is it that ukraine, poland and russia are not dominating european football? Shouldn’t they be winning more europa leagues and champions league?

            Why do russians teams who have amazing capital from oil money and other businesses are still not able to pull some of the best players with the money.
            People don’t wanna play in russia, or ukraine, or poland.

            I do like the idea of a benelux league, but it’s hard to support this notion that just because a league will have combined more revenue will automatically bring about better players, and other players will stay and everyone will make more money. A benelux league still won’t have the population as other countries.

            Tv revenue is where it’s at, and you still have two seperate countries, who would have to sell the rights to games how? or do we make it like spain and give rights to the teams to sell their games and make revenues that way? What tv stations and companies would buy? How much do they pay now for the eredivisie? How much for the jupiler league?

  4. “Holland dominated again, but couldn’t convert.”

    So, the same cyclic drama which afflicts the National
    Team seems to have also affected the U-16’s? No! Say it isn’t so! What is it with us and football? Can’t we ever combine attractive and attacking football and convert that to trophies?

    Good God! Are we to be cursed in this fashion forever?

  5. Don´t think so Mohamed. In my books he is out of the National team.

    I´d like to see a 4-3-3 formation, don´t know if Van Gaal will use this right in the first games but something like this will be cool.

    1- GK = Stekelenburg / Krul and Vorm pushing hard for a place
    2- RB = Van der Wiel / Stefan de Vrij as a back up
    3- CB= Douglas / Heitinga as his sub
    4- CB= Maduro / Viergever and Nuytinck as options: Bye to Mathijsen
    5- LB = Pieters / Willems, Buttner as replacements
    6- CM = Clasie / Leroy Fer as another Holding mid position
    7- RW = Narsingh / Afellay as right wing option if he rediscovers his best form and leaves Barcelona. Another option is Wijnaldum.
    8- CM = Strootman / De Jong and Schaars and replacements…De Jong will start at the beginning of Van Gaal´s era but will likely lose his spot because LVG likes creative players in central mid
    9- ST = Huntelaar / Van Persie can be benched for a while…other options are Luuk de Jong, Van Wolswinkel and Castaignos
    10- OF = Sneijder / Adam Maher to learn the trade
    11- LW = Robben / If Robben is not in top form bring back Eljero Elia or try Ola John

    With this team we can be dominant again. Will take time but I think Van Gaal will qualify us for Brazil 2014. Won´t be an easy ride and expect the team to lose or tie some important games but at the end we will qualify and in the road new players will claim for a starting role. I am looking forward to see this new campaign. Eredivisie will be fun too. Many young guns ready to prove themselves.

      1. my friend, boula’s boat should have been until the euros but he wasn’t given a chance… unfortunate… now his time is up .. we need to look ahead

  6. How good is Strootman? I have seen him play a bunch of times and he looks decent. I still feel that he needs to develop more. He’s still young and I would like to see him move to England, Spain or Germany.
    I feel like he has the right qualities but I don’t see him as something special just yet.

  7. Overmars: Boulah is out because he is an average player and is getting old. Van der Wiel has talent, had a poor Euro 2012 just like the rest of the team but can still develop his career and with a coach like Frank de Boer at Ajax and Louis Van Gaal in Oranje he can still improve a lot. If he doesn´t there are other options like Stefan de Vrij.

    Sam DC: I have seen many games of Strootman and he is top quality. He is special and will prove it everywhere he goes. The last part of the Eredivisie he dropped a bit his level but there is no doubt he has more skill than Van Bommel or De Jong and he covers a lot of room in central midfielder. He is like a Philip Cocu when Cocu was young. He will be a key player for Oranje from now on. He should have played in Euro 2012 at least as a sub but Van Marwijk never tried Luuk de Jong, Narsingh, Strootman…Kevin is wanted by Milan and Manchester United and is not because they think he can be a prospect but because they know he is a bargain: great quality at a lower price.

    1. @Mario,
      I hope what you say about Strootman is true. I haven’t followed him regularly so that’s why I asked the question. It would be nice to see him move to Milan or Man Utd. Either team would need him and he’ll get playing time.

      Milan lost Pirlo first and now both Seedorf and Van Bommel are gone. There’ll be room for him in that midfield. Man Utd also need a good midfielder. They had to bring out a retired Paul Scholes last season.

      PSV is also in great shape this season. Lot of quality players and good recruits coming in. If they do well in the Europa league, his transfer opportunities will be much better next year.

      Either way, he’s in a good situation. He’s young with lots of potential. The future is bright for him. Wish him all the best!

  8. Of the aforementioned u16 the ones I think will definitely become top guns are Oussama Idrissi and Jordy Bruijn!!! The little Ajax fellow is very very very talented. I happened to catch him playing at the Aegon Future Cup. Very cool on the ball, Pirlo like possession and great Sneijder like pass. I don’t know much of the others, but if he’s benched in the u16 means there’s a lot of talent..

  9. A lot of interesting transfers so far this summer!
    Luuk to Gladbach! The Bundesliga will have a lot more teams to keep an eye out for with all the Oranje talent spread throughout the league. I think that is a great natural progression for Dutch talent. Spend a good amount of time in the Eredivisie and then move to Germany or Spain.

    Any news on Van Gaal’s team?

    1. I am Thai people and Holland football supporter for long time and below is the team that I want to see for LVG.

      GK = Stek/Krul
      RB = VDV/Van Rhijn
      LB = Pieter/Willems
      CB = Douglas/Gouweleeuw/Donk/Bruma.
      MF = Sneijder,Strootman and Clasie ( Maher,De Jong and Fer for sub)
      RW = Robben/Narshingh
      LW = Afellay/ Babel
      FW = Luuk De Jong ( RVP or Hunter)

      1. I like, but I prfer:

        GK = Stek/Krul
        RB = VDV/Van Rhijn
        LB = Pieter/Anita (he can play in the middle)
        CB = Douglas/Gouweleeuw/Heitinga/Viergiver.
        MF = Sneijder,Strootman and Clasie ( Maher,De Jong and Afellay for sub)
        RW = RVP/Narshingh
        LW = Robben/ Elia
        FW = Huntelaar/Luuk De Jong

  10. We all know what our veterans can do and how they play. We know Sneijder, VdV, Robben are in the squad unless they are injured. I want to see some of our younger players play together to see how they do for the upcoming friendly.

    Janmaat – Bruma – Viergever – Willems
    Maher – Fer – Strootman(c)
    Narsingh – De Jong – Ola John

    Let’s see what they can do together. Who stands out and who isn’t ready yet.

  11. @ Gerry: The players you mentioned will certainly deserve a shot, specially Bruma.

    @ Oranje Bloom: Lovely line up. But in order to start blending a new team Van Gaal will need to introduce the new lads along with the experienced players to determine who can cope with the level and who can´t. It is very unlikely he will field a youth side against Belgium because he needs results from day one even in friendly games because the pressure for him will be inmense. Anyway, you can expect that most of the players you mention will have a chance to prove themselves at training and will need to prove their worth to gain a starting position.

    1. Good point Mario. Being that LvG was just a manager in the Eredivisie I’m sure he has an idea of which youth players he wants to try out. Viergever & Maher may benefit from being apart of the AZ team LvG managed.

  12. I have a feeling we will loose the friendly against Belgium…
    But that is not so bad.Belgium is a young team on the rise,and our new defence that Van Gaal will maybe try will be exposed to very fast and dribble strong Hazard and Mertens. Still,he should try new players,we need to reconstruct some parts of the team,and he knows that. That is why Belgium,a team that had a reconstruction a few years ago,could be very dangerous.
    But after that Van Gaal will have the time,and should be able to get the team ready for World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and others.

  13. I am hoping to see Viergever,De Vrij,Douglas,Maher,Clasie,Ola John and maybe Fer or Anita and Nuytinck as new players in the selection for Belgium.

  14. I have the feeling that Clasie, Strootman, Maher and Anita will build and amazind middle.

    You have to add them the veterans Sneijder, De Jong and Affelay!

    They are 7 excelent middle, so that´s why I prefer to use the spot for the left back sub,in Anita.

    GK = Stek/Krul
    RB = VDV/Van Rhijn or Bruma
    LB = Pieter/Anita (he can play in the middle)
    CB = Douglas/Gouweleeuw/Heitinga/Viergiver.
    MF = Sneijder,Strootman and Clasie ( Maher,De Jong and Afellay for sub)
    RW = RVP/Narshingh
    LW = Robben/ Elia
    FW = Huntelaar/Luuk De Jong

  15. —————Stekelenburg——————-




  16. Prior to the Euros, there was a lot of discussion here about playing both RVP and Hunter. BVM chose to go with Afellay. As we all found out, Afellay wasn’t really effective. He probably was a bit rushed from his recovery. Seemed like he could run and dribble but his finishing and passing was off.

    I don’t think RVP should be left out. He would be an automatic starter on any national team. Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, England, Spain, Italy or any other team for that matter. He should still be given a chance under Van Gaal. Yes, he wasted a lot of chances he usually scores. Things would have been different if he scored against Denmark. Look at Ronaldo and Balotelli. They had some of the biggest blunders in front of goal.

    I see a lot of posts here about so and so going to this club and that club. Here we have one of the best strikers in the world who has already proved himself and somehow we have written him off already? RVP still has a good two years where he can contribute to our team.

    I absolutely don’t blame him for not extending his contract with Arsenal. Unless the UEFA Financial Fair Play rule comes into effect, teams like Arsenal will find it very difficult to hold on to talent.

    It started with Ashley Cole and Viera. Henry, Adebayor, Toure, Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas, Nasri and now RVP. Even Theo Walcott is getting the point. He’s stalling on his contract extension.

    RVP wanted to test the market after having a stellar season with Arsenal. He hasn’t won any major trophy. At age 29, his window is really closing soon. Yes, Arsenal was there for him when he was injured but it seems like the club has chosen a path that ultimately puts them at a disadvantage.

    1. @SamDC;

      Listen, I hear you loud and clear on van Persie. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted him to shine on the international stage as much as we did. But this was the 2nd consecutive tournament in which he just didn’t get it done. And being that these tournaments come every 4 years, how many more can we allow him in hopes that he finds his stride? I mean, are we having this conversation in 2014? I can just see it now. “Oh, that van Persie! Led another league in scoring, but only converted 1 of 27 shooting in the World Cup”
      See some players, in various sports, just do not produce on the “big stage”. They compile great career stats, but when you look at their postseason or playoff stats, they become quite ordinary. While others are quite average until they hit the big game. And really, when it comes to the World Cup of the European Championships, who do you want starting for your team? I want a Gerd Muller, not a Robin van Persie. Robin’s job in that forward role is to just friggin’ score goals. Period. They don’t have to be pretty, they don’t have to be highlight reel moments, but he has to put them away.
      I think we will continue to see van Persie start for Oranje, but I think van Gaal puts him on a very short leash in the big games. And listen, I “like” van Persie. I think he is a tremendous player. I just do not think he is a tremendous player when you have to have that goal in the elimination game.

      1. I would try benching either Robben or Van Persie, they just don’t blend playing together.
        Robben’s game is very peculiar, go back to the 09-10 Bayern season, Robben was Bayern’s top scorer MEANING the central striker role was useless because Robben was scoring easily from his classic cutting ins. But fast forward to the last two season, ’10-11 Gomez 28 goals (Robben not even close)’11-12 Robben came in second, but Gomez scored 26 out of Robben’s 12 (more than double). Last season Ribery gave 26 assists to Robben’s 9 (oke, he played less games) but you get my point.
        Now go to Arsenal, VP scored 30 goals in the premiership with Walcott’s 11 assists (oke, maybe not all of them were for VP) and Gervinho gave 6 assists.
        I’m not voting for any of them to be benched, but I think one of them has to go or give them both a very hard beating (even torture) and ask them to play as a team.
        Final point, Huntelaar had a very good season with Raul alongside him. Is it just me or Raul and Van Persie share similar characteristics of play…

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