Our talents at Oranje: U18 and U19

I have to say, it’s not easy to keep track of all these teams. We have these two and the Prospect Team and Young Oranje too!

Kees Zwamborn used to be youth coach at the KNVB 5 years ago. The former Ajax and MSV Duisburg defender had an eclectic career in youth coaching, at many clubs and was even the national coach of Suriname’s Olympic Team. He is now back as teacher and coach for the KNVB. “At least I know that players that are invited will show up or cancel correctly if they are injured, hahaha.”

Zwamborn loves working with this age group. “When they’re 16 years old, they’re a bit undisciplined. Which has a good and a less good aspect to it. It’s playful and fresh and also naive. These lads, however, are maturing. And some if not all of them train with the first teams already.”

In some cases, these lads have already played official games for their clubs. “That is partly due to the financial situation at these clubs, but it’s all good news. These boys will turn into men quicker now. It’s good for the development.”

What is Zwamborn’s philosophy? “Simple, Dutch school football. I have an Ajax background, so I’m developed with positioning play, ball possession and attacking play. But I also need to see passion. And I need to see players doing things that they bring on intuition. You need to be willing to make the difference and to work for the team. I’m all about creativity but you can only be creative if the other 10, at that time, take care of business.”

THe current squad:

Stefano Denswil, Mitchell Dijks, Sven Nieuwpoort en Fabian Sporkslede (all Ajax), Kyle Ebecilio (Arsenal), Hobie Verhulst (AZ), Jordan Botaka (Club Brugge), Anass Achahbar, Mats van Huijgevoort, Elvis Manu en Matthew Steenvoorden (all Feyenoord Academy), Stefan van der Lei (RVO FC Groningen), Ouasim Bouy (Juventus), Karim Rekik (Manchester City), Ilan Boccara (Paris Saint German), Memphis Depay and Jurgen Locadia (both PSV) and Chris David (Voetbalacademie FC Twente). Robert Klaasen en Kevin Luckassen (both AZ), Lucas Bijker (Cambuur Leeuwarden), Moreno Rutten (Feyenoord Academy), Robin Pröpper (De Graafschap), Luciano Slagveer, Jens Jurn Streutker en Hakim Ziyech (all sc Heerenveen/Emmen), Wouter Dronkers en Joey Pelupessy (both Voetbalacademie FC Twente), Virgil Misdjan (WillemII/RKC) en Jesper Drost en Mustafa Saymak (both FC Zwolle).

Unfortunately, the under 19s did themselves a bad favour. They were on their way to qualify for the EC in Estonia this summer but a massive loss at home against France ( 0-6) ended that dream.

Coach Wim van Zwam was devastated. “We had a number of scenarios as potentials, but never this one… my my… We played a good tournament. We grew into it.”

Everything went wrong against France, though. “Our defender Bouy slipped and they got a huge chance: 0-1. The ref made a big mistake giving them a free kick not long after. He gave our defender a yellow but it was a perfect sliding on the ball. And they scored 0-2. Boccara got a second yellow minutes later for kicking the ball and we had to proceed with ten men. Something broke. Murphy’s law applied too, as Oranje did get a penalty kick but missed. A mistake by our goalie led to the 0-3 and that was it.”

Remy Reijnierse is the new coach for the Under18s and the Prospect Team, replacing Adrie Koster, who returns to Beerschot in Belgium. The former VVV playmaker will have Reinier Robbemond, the former Utrecht and AZ player as his assistant. Robbemond is currently also under19 coach at AZ and is seen by the KNVB as a highly talented trainer/coach.

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  1. I would like Robben to go to AC Milan they play attacking football and after what happened with Bayern’s fans I was disgusted at how they treated Robben.

  2. Excelent Jan

    What you know about Stefano Denswil and Mitchell Dijks?

    I know Denswil will figth beside Blind for be the new Ajax´s left central back.

    I hope see Viergiver or Nuytinck on that list too.

  3. Ok, this has little to do with anything other than my own personal groove-o-meter but I shared some HS classes with Remy. He was a huge talent and both technically and tactically gifted. Not too sure what happened with his career as a player but good on him to get this job because soccer was his major passion.

    1. Really??
      Cool… Share some more stories about him ok?

      I remember Remy as a tremendously gifted and headstrong playmaker. Great vision. Good passing. He could have gone up in his career but somehow never did…

      1. Well, even before sharing the classroom with him or even seeing him play soccer one could tell by the way others would say his name that he was very talented and respected. Then when I finally did see him play I knew what all the fuzz was about. This must have been a school tournament and it looked like there was only one player on the field. Ball possession must have been 60/40, Reinierse 60%, rest of the players (both teams) 40%.

        The class I shared with him that I can remember most was physics. Physically Remy was there but mentally he must have been working on some football scenarios. He was bleeding soccer. He still passed his exams though.

        After HS I moved to a different town and would once in a while catch his name on the radio when he must have still been playing for Eindhoven.

  4. My top 5 in the current U18/19 squad:

    – Denswil: left-footed central back, freak athlete and very physical (man marking, tackling, etc), decent build up. Needs to get first-team experience soon. The best scenario for him, in my opinion, is for Ajax to get Mathijsen. Joris would be an excellent mentor for him, and Denswil should be ready to take over by season end. If Ajax gets Viergiever, Nuytinck, or Moisander, my concern is Denswil will ride the bench for 3+ years, unless he leaps in development.

    – Rekik: another left-footed central defender. Less physical than Denswil, but is quicker and has better positioning (Sounds like Denswil and Rekik will make an excellent duo :)). I read that he has impressed in City’s training camp, and is in contention for a space in the first team despite his being only 19 y.o. City’s back up CD, Stefan Savic, was less than stellar last year, and Rekik has a great chance to overtake him. Another good news is that Rekik can play LB or DM.

    -Achahbar: perhaps the second coming of Robin Van Persie. Outstanding technique and very intelligent. Not very convincing in a central/out-and-out striker. He may play out wide or as an attacking midfielder in his early career. As his finishing improves, he can play further up as supporting striker. Low stamina, and okay mentality/work rate.

    – Ebecilio: Hardworking box-to-box midfielder, powerful, strong, dynamic, equally comfortable in both defense and attack. Many dubbed as the next Alex Song, because playing in the same position and having similar technique. Supposedly rated very highly by Arsenal staff, and he is being considered to be added to the first-team next year. In my opinion, he will get the most benefits going out for loan, rather than warming the bench.

    – Depay: Excellent dribbler, awesome speed, and has an eye on goal (already scored for PSV senior). Too lightweight for a striker, but he may thrive as a winger. Mertens, Lens and Narsingh are ahead of him at the moment, but he may break out when one of them transfers out.

      1. I like Dijks a lot! He’s tall, but very agile, and puts some very nice crosses when playing left back. Watching the young Ajax lads he was constantly one of the best! And played very well the first 45 minutes of the Celtic beating in A’dam.


    There is no doubt that Orange weakness is the defence.

    This days (or years, really after WC final) I am asking me who are going to be our full backs in 2012.


    We have plenty of players here. I am very optimistic.

    LVG can still count with the “veterans”:

    1. Heitinga
    2. Vlaar
    3. Maduro

    Or /and he can add to that list “new/young” players like:

    1. De Vrij
    2. Bruma
    3. Gouweleeuw
    4. Van Dijk
    5. Ricardo van Rhijn

    Who will be the two RCB in 2012? I think LVG should be asking this because if he rather one of the youngest, he should star to giving them playing time.


    For sure Bouma and Mathinsen will retire from Orange. And BvM didn´t try new players on that spot. So, the situation is delicate because there isn’t much left footers players.

    The main candidates are:

    1. Douglas
    2. Viergirver
    3. Nuytinck
    4. Martins Indi??

    Also, LVG can try with other left footer players that right now play in other positions:
    1. Pieters
    2. Strootman

    Other solution is use two right footer in the central back. Vlaar use to play LCB in Feyenoord being right footer, he plays beside De Vrij.

    Beside, LVG needs to find the best pair, the right players to accomplish themselves very well.


    What do you think? How do you solve this dilemma? Which will be your pairs of central back and their substitutes?

  6. Europa League Fixtures for the next round,

    Anzhi Mach whatever (hiddinks team) (russia) vs Vitesse

    Rapid Bucharest (romania) vs. Heerenveen

    FC Twente Vs Mlada Bolsev (czech Republic)

    And on sneijder note

    Inter milan vs Hajduk Split (croatia)

    the round after this is the playoff round, will include AZ alkmaar, PSV eindhoven, Sporting lisbon (van wolfswinkel, Boulahrouz and Schaars) and newcastle united (tim krul)

  7. Thanks Demi.

    we can the right and left full back in the analysis.

    1. Pieters
    2. Jetro Willems
    3. Buttner
    4. Anita
    5. Leerdam
    6. Van Aanholt

    1. Van der Wiel
    2. Ricardo van Rhijn
    3. Dirk Marcellis

    We also can use some Central Back as Full backs, for example, Bruma or De Vrij as right back or Viergiver as left back (better tahn use Marcellis)

    So, in my book if I have to choose 6 defenders they can be:

    Willems—–Viergiver——Gouweleeuw——De Vrij

    Also, Anita and Strootman can help in defense from. Anita will be my second choice in the left back (if Willems doesn´t improve more), and Strootman maybe my first choice in the LCB (if Viergiver doesn´t improve more). For example:

    Pieters/Anita–Strootman(from midfield)–Gouweleeuw– VdW

    But i think Viergiver and willems will improve a lot!

    Off course, that’s depending if I (LvG) use 3 defenders on classic LVG 3-4-3 or 4 defenders:

    Classic LVG 3-4-3


    Douglas/Viergiver–Gouweleeuw/Heitinga–Heitinga/De Vrij

    Which ones are will you pick up if you where LVG?

    1. I like Vlaar, he is a good player. Slow but he can improve.

      Pieters—Douglas——Vlaar———Someone else 🙂


      Buttner—Pieters——Vlaar———Someone else 🙂

      I think our biggest issue is the right back… Wiel needs to go and hopefully someone else will rise up.

      Let’s see. We will know soon what LVG thinks.

    2. Which ones are will you pick up if you where LVG?

      If I were LvG, I would do a complete make-over by getting rid of all the old guards: Mathijsen, Heitinga, Vlaar, Maduro, etc. I might be willing to keep Heitinga in the team if he accepts a back-up role, just because of his vast experience. In all honesty, Johnny has been pretty crappy in Oranje (in spite of great form at his club), so he needs to get reality check. The likes of Vlaar or Maduro are playing at their peak ability, and let’s face it, they are not the long-term solutions. So I would rather give the spots to other youngsters.

      My CD pairing would be Douglas and Bruma. Both are very comfortable with ball on their feet, which is important if we want to have a proper build up (Van Gaal’s style). I recognize neither Douglas or Bruma are not immune from criticism. They have gapping holes in their games that need fixes. Douglas, for example, is very prone to silly mistake (brain-fart) that could be costly. Bruma is sometimes awfully stiff and slow in react. Having said that, I think both have sufficient skills (and hopefully, willing power) to improve and make a difference.

      For a back-up, I would pick Viergiever and De Vrij. I don’t think they are that far behind from Bruma. Bruma has the advantage of playing in a more competitive league. Hopefully Viergiever and De Vrij can take the most benefits playing in European champions league or Europe league.

      For a RB, I would pick van Rhijn. Again, a typical LvG choice… skillful, fast and plenty of appetite to attack. More importantly, unlike Greg vd Wiel, van Rhijn can pass the ball and deliver crosses with precision. The thing is that van Rhijn needs to have first-team experience this season. Ironically, this will only happen if GvdW be sold by Ajax.

      LB, I think Willems will get better. Advocaat is pretty particular in his defense, so Willems’s defending will be much more improved. My guts tell me that Pieters over time will shift to a left central defense. He’s pretty decent in man marking and tackling, but he doesn’t have the quickness to push forward playing as left-back.

  8. Well on 6 JUL KNVB appointed Louis van Gaal as the head coach of Oranje. However the contract will be effective on 1 AUG. So the selection for the friendly against Belgium will not be released this month.

  9. Thanks for the article Jan, love hearing about the future Dutch talent coming through and it looks like there are quite a few..

    Just read this on espn soccernet transfer section… Not good for team morale at all..

    Not sure that Gregory van der Wiel will be joining Bayern Munich any time soon as he has criticised Netherlands team-mate Arjen Robben, saying the winger does not make sacrifices for the side by tracking back.

  10. Just read that Vlaar to Villa has finally been agreed on; he’ll sign on Monday. Some big losses for Feyenoord this offseason: Guidetti, Al Ahmadi (who was very important to the mf last year) and now Vlaar. Guess we’ll find out about Martins Indi, Kongolo and De Vrij now.

    1. >Just read that Vlaar to Villa has finally been agreed on

      that is awesome news. He is a 3-4 years late leaving but better late than never.

      Good luck Ron, hope you will do good and will solve one position 🙂

  11. anyone knows what’s happening with the RvP saga?

    Arsenal getting Nuri Sahin from RM and they already got Podolski. Do you think Arsenal can challenge for any title this year?

    Also, what is happening to Afellay?? Barcelona wanted to offload him this year but no one came to buy him.

    Robben is not going anywhere – apparently he reconciled with Robery and Bayern need him. I don’t see him joining Milan.

    Also speculation about NDJ joining Bayern were put to bed – he’s not joining Bayern.

    Knowing LvG I think he will definitely experiment. I do believe Willems will get the chance to make that LB position his. I think VdW will be a bench warmer and that LvG will experiment putting NDJ, Strootman and someone else on the backline. He will definitely experiment. I also do think he will switch things upfront – somehow I feel he will axe RvP and Sneijder.

  12. This just in on espn soccernet…

    10.52 BST: DONE DEAL Luc Castaignos has joined FC Twente from Inter Milan on a four-year deal.

    This is a sign to any young Dutch players who look at the lure of money from big European clubs your better of staying a couple of extra years in the eredivisie rather then waiting a year or two warming the benches.

    1. I am happy for both Castaignos and Twente. But the transfer fee makes me laugh. Inter paid Feyenoord 3M for him and he played 6 games last season, yet Inter can still sell him for 6M, amazing!

  13. What’s the qualification process for Olympic soccer? How come I’ve never seen Oranje compete? We have a great youth squad with lots of promising talents which is ideal for the U-23 age requirement of Olympic soccer. We need to make an effort and take the qualification seriously.

    Olympic soccer is often overlooked and is not as prestigious as other international tournaments but I do think winning it will be a great boost of confidence for our young players.

    1. @ SamDC:

      We competed in 2008 for the first time since 1952, and went to quarterfinals…before 1952 we won 3 bronze medals.

      The 2011 U-21 UEFA tournament results counts as the qualifier for European teams, top 3 go to olympics.

      Other federations have tournaments for the express purpose of olympic qualification.

      Very good that Luuc is headed to Twente, we all knew going to Inter was a poor choice, ala Drenthe.

  14. hope you guys are ready for tuesday, first leg of Feyenoord vs Dynamo kiev

    hopefully they get a good result and can chill for the second leg, more dutch teams in champions league the better

  15. LvG said he will pick his firs Oranje Squad on Wednesday for the friendly against Belgium. Expect a few surprise. I saw an interesting TV show on Barca TV on van Gaal and what the players/coaches/journalists thought of him: This was basically the consensus :
    1. To strict on non related issues ( straighten your tie)
    2. A liitle bit Mad (eccentric)
    3. Techically very astute
    4. Most players said a “Great Coach”
    5. Knew so much more about football than anyone else.
    6. he would practise and practise set moves till Every player got it right.
    7. Too much of a disciplinarian ( We had no Fun training)

    It all sounds similar to what Bayern said right ?
    perhaps he IS the right man for the ego Job !

  16. Maduro’s news are very sad I hope it’s not so serious and I wish the best for him. Let’s see if he can play football again, for what I have read it seems like he will.

    1. Hope Maduro is fine and his condition doesn’t affect his game. It’s actually a good thing that they diagnosed him early before something bad happened to him. After the recent deaths of players due to cardiac issues, players need more comprehensive testing. On the bright side, he’ll be able to take better care of himself.

      We need experienced defenders like him that play for top clubs in top domestic competitions. I really would like to see him picked for our new qualification campaign.

    1. not much news, most transfers are done and just waiting to see the rosters. Can’t wait till wednesday for roster to be released.

      although can’t wait to see feyenoord vs dynamo kiev on tuesday

  17. Italian newspaper Tuttosport claim Wesley Sneijder has advised Inter to invest in Everton defender, and Holland team-mate, Johnny Heitinga. I think that would be a great move…

    Also Ajax are set to sign Swedish midfielder Tobias Sana from IFK Goteborg. The 23-year-old’s agent, Anders Karlsson, told Fotbolldirekt: “There is a verbal agreement, then he will pass a medical.” quite odd signing he hasn’t played any international’s for Sweden even at youth level and was loaned out last year to a 3rd division Swedish side… Frank de Boer must know something we don’t.

    1. Don’t really care about Heitinga at this point. He had ample opportunities to step up and he was never a world class defender. Especially, after his performance debacle last month, it’s better for us to focus on giving the chance to new defenders.

      BVM ultimately failed because he was unable to fix the defense as he stuck with Heitinga and Mathijsen. Inconsistent performance and lack of defensive stability forced him to play with two holding midfielders which sacrificed creativity for safety.

  18. @Paul,
    thanks for the clarification of the Olympic soccer qualification process.

    It would be nice to see the pool expanded a bit more. 24 nations would be appropriate IMO. I know neither FIFA nor UEFA want Olympic soccer to be popular or more prestigious as it is very close to the European championships.

  19. I read that Mourinho wanted to bring Sneijder back to Real. Perhaps it is just a trick to get Spurs to lower asking price for Modric, but if this is true, Wesley should consider to play for Real. Inter is not the same.
    It’d be interesting to see who Van Gaal calls up. If Douglas is not eligible I doubt Van Gaal will call him. Is Douglas eligible by September 01 a FIFA thing?

  20. For Van Persie, if it is between United and City, I think United is better for him, although he wants to get paid same as Rooney. Sneijder asked that and was told no.

  21. Jan any comments about Feyenoord? team analysis? game preview?

    Do Feyenoord still have several financial issues? last yesrs they sell Wijnaldum Fer Castaignos and Vlaar very cheap in order to paid their debts, don’t they?

    They solved their financial crisis with these sellings or still are broke?

  22. two days more to know the LVG team.

    He said he won’t do many changes on the current team. For me just to see Viergiver instead of Mathinsen and Strootman or Clasie instead Van Bommel will be enough.

    I am very exited!

  23. @Stijnis, i rather Heitinga stay in Everton – a more attack minded club versus a defence oriented in Inter. its closer to Oranje game.

    1. Very true Jalepinho… An advantage with a move to Italy is that it’s not as demanding as the premier league and for me the more Dutch players playing together the better.

  24. But maybe if Heitinga moves to Inter he can gain more mentality and experience. And of course he’ll learn a thing or two about defending as they are the masters of catenaccio.

  25. —————–Stekelenburg—————





    1. Huntelaar? 4-2-3-1? These things just don’t work. We need some new ideas (or maybe some old ones). The team was too predictable with this formation and swapping experienced players with less experienced players will not solve the problem. There has to be a more balanced system.

  26. so the game dynamo kiev vs feyenoord is gonna happen in 15 minutes, important to see how we do. important for feyenoord to win this, and get that champions league money, more exposure for players like clasie so bigger teams can pick them up.

  27. oh man, first half 0-0, i had a slow stream, dynamo kiev dominated possession, but i must say, de vrij looks to be the next central defender, he’s good, comfortable on the ball, can push up,

    Clasie, i’m disappointed, what happened to the dude who shut down ajax? Although it’s not completely fair, since dynamo is attacking the sides, avoiding him. and playing clasie tight

    martins indi is pretty good, better than willems, i would rather have him as left back then willems.

    although left back has other options

  28. I wasn’t able to watch the game. Looking at the final score, Feyenoord got the away goal even though they lost.

    How did the team perform overall? Do they have a chance in the next game? Favorites or underdogs? Predictions?

    1. they didn’t do too bad. Either team could have win. They do have a chance. But their game is not mature yet. They conceded a dumb equalizer.

      Not bad but let me tell you, none of these guys could play at the Oranje level. Not ready yet.

      1. “Not bad but let me tell you, none of these guys could play at the Oranje level. Not ready yet.”

        No, because Oranje NEVER loses 2-1 with immature defense…

  29. Feye was in control about 30% of the time I’d say, mainly at the beginning. After the Feye goal Dynamo became more dominant and created more chances.

  30. Martins Indi instead of Willems…. Come on lets give Willems a break he is very young, playing for the first time in a dutch side that was in disarray in a major tournament against teams such as The Germans and Portugal… what can you expect and i still thought he showed something. and obviously a few scouts as Sir Alex was interested in bringing him to Man U… Im not denying it i think Indi is a great tallent and a future oranje but it was only Dynamo Kiev.

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